Journey to China

This blog documents the Spitlers' progress towards the adoption of Xia Ping He (Noah Spitler) from the PR China. It also documents Noah's medical process in pursuit of a total repair to his CHD (congenital heart defect).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Photos from California

Sorry it took awhile, folks.  Here are the pictures from California.  Noah continues to feel good.  He should have a lung profusion scan soon and then we'll know more.

Thanks for your prayers and friendship,

Adam (& Robin)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

One Tough Day, One Great Day

Hi Everyone,

We had a successful trip to Northern California this week.  One really cool surprise was discovering that Dave "Picker" Cotton (a friend I flew F16s with) was the pilot of our B767 flight to San Francisco!  When we took off, I told Noah, "You know, Mr. Dave is flying us all the way to California, so you'll have to judge the flight and his landing and tell him how he did when we get off the plane!"  Half-way to San Francisco, Noah fell asleep and stayed that way all the way to the gate.  When it was time to get off the plane, I woke him - he immediately said, "Dad, how was Mr. Dave's landing?!?" And I said, "Well, what do YOU think?" Noah hesitated for a minute then replied, "Well, I didn't even wake it must have been a good one!"  It was, indeed, a great flight.  Thanks, Picker!

Wednesday was consumed by a quick "Ride the Ducks" tour of San Francisco, visiting with the Lietzau's, and getting some much-needed rest.  If you get a chance someday to take a "Ride the Ducks" tour - we highly recommend it! (I'll try to post pictures later).

Thursday was a bit of a tough day; our first day at LCPH (Lucille Packard Childrens Hospital).   Noah's vitals were checked and he had another ECG (echocardiogram).  During the "pre-brief" for Friday's heart cath, we learned that the ECG revealed narrowing in some of Noah's pulmonary arteries and that his right ventricle was enlarged.  We also learned (for the first time - or did we miss this earlier?) that the conduit installed last year normally lasts only 3-5 years and then must be replaced (by surgery).  So as we were digesting all of this new information, the doctor then told Noah he'd have to go by the lab for a blood draw.  Unfortunately, his veins and the phlebotomist didn't get along too well, so it took 3 or 4 tries before success was achieved.  Noah was very, very brave through it all; Olivia and Dad...well, we had to excuse ourselves for most of it.  But, soon enough, it was over and Noah had a couple "manly" bandages to show for it all. (Again, I'll try to show some pictures later).  By that time it was well past noon, so we sought out some "comfort food" at a local favorite: "Lu Lu's" - home of the Super Burrito.  "Miss Elizabeth" Wise met us there and we shared lots of laughs.

Friday morning started off by Noah's consumption of apple juice and jello - the last things he could eat before 9am.  We signed into the Ford Surgery Center, Noah was wiped down with special cleaning pads, then he put on his "hospital pajamas".  Soon his "sleepy juice" arrived and he gulped it right down.  Only one parent was allowed to accompany Noah into the "cath lab," and after much agonizing, Noah picked Robin.  ("Good decision, son!")  That meant Robin got to wear the "bunny suit," booties, and cap; I got to play photographer.  (Again, I promise pictures!)  Promptly at noon, Robin left Noah in surgery - he was literally holding his eyelids open with his fingers; exclaiming, "See, I'm still not sleepy!"  We were told to expect a 2-4 hour procedure, depending on whether they dilated any arteries (ballooning) or simply took pressures and observations.

Just a bit past 2 hours, Dr. Perry (the cardiologist and heart cath expert) sought us out with good news: Noah's procedure was complete and they were able to stretch 2 portions of his right "pulmonary artery" from a very small 2mm up to 6mm in diameter.  Noah's RV (Right Ventricle) pressure (previously 36), then reduced to 30 - a much better number.  Dr. Perry said that the conduit looked "very good" and looked to be big enough to sustain Noah for quite awhile (another 2-3 years??).  We were led down to the recovery room where we found a very sedated Noah, sleeping on his back, stiff as a board.  "You'd better get a video of that!", Robin said with a laugh; "I've never seen him that still."  After an hour, we wheeled him upstairs to the notorious "3 West" - the "low-threat" recovery area of LPCH.  He had a few stomach issues - did even want a Popsicle for awhile; but later took a nap and felt better afterwards.

It's now the end of our day. Noah is staying the night in LPCH (for observation after his artery dilations) and I'm his co-pilot.  He's now had 2 Popsicles, a bowl of broth, a bag of pretzels, and a cup of chicken noodle soup!  With a little pressure from her husband, Robin headed for the Marriott, and since the girls are at the Lietzau's, she just might get a much-needed night alone in a hotel room!  Go, Robin!

Thanks for all your prayers today, friends.  It's been a difficult week for us, but today was good.  Once again, God's grace helped Noah remain calm and helped me overcome my normal hospital anxieties.  We thank God for the amazing collection of talent and compassion He's assembled at LPCH.  It's a long trip out here, but for our Noah, it's worth every mile!

If possible, I'll get the correct cord we need to transfer pictures to the web, and post those for you this weekend.

Your friends in Christ,
Adam & Robin