Saturday, August 8, 2015

August 8 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Amanda Dean)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

Tristan, my second son, was born a beautiful 3,15 kg baby on 8 May 2001. He seemed healthy, but the unexpected happened. When Tristan was about two weeks old, a blocked nose left us no other option than to pad his cot with pillows in order for him to sit and sleep, which I believe saved his life. Later, terrible cramps made this four-week-old infant's life more difficult than expected, and after many clinic visits, little sleep, and change of formula, my husband and I realised something else had to be wrong.

On 29 June, our seven-week-old Tristan cried non-stop from 4:00 am on, and at 10:00 am we were sitting in the paediatrician's consulting room. Her opinion was that pneumonia could be the reason for Tristan's discomfort, but x-rays and a second opinion left all of us in awe. When another doctor introduced himself, it was no secret that something terrible was wrong. My son's intestines were lying on his lungs. When you forget your husband's phone number, you realize you are in shock, and after the paediatrician explained the situation to me, actions were taken that no one had anticipated. "Diaphragmatic Hernia" (CDH) was after all the reason for Tristan's tears and sleepless nights.

After Tristan was admitted into Medforums's Paediatric ICU, I appreciated the personal attention and paperwork (which was my last priority) that was handled while my son was taken away from me. I understood his screaming and crying when the sister told me they were preparing him for surgery. Oxygen, drips and pipes were not easy to cope with concerning his small body.

Because of Tristan's age and weight, this critical operation had a very good chance of being successful. Everyone was astonished that this baby lived with CDH for seven weeks and survived. Usually CDH is identified by sonar while the baby is still in the mother's womb and an operation is then done immediately after birth. Tristan had a hole, approximately the size of a one-cent piece, in the rear portion of his diaphragm, near his ribs. Doctors suspected that this was the situation with birth and that his intestines gradually went through the hole.

Tristan went into surgery at 17:00 and finally returned at 18:45. It was an unpleasant sight. His sedated body was covered with drips, an attached ventilator and many machines. Gradually, everything started to get less and better, and finally on Thursday, 5 July, he was moved to High-care. This time pneumonia attacked his body, and he was moved back to ICU. Nine long days went by and on 14 July, we were all back home and slept sound in our own beds.

This brave young man goes for regular check-ups and his smiling face confirms his well-being. Tristan really is a healthy baby now and his chubby body tells you that.

Tristan's mom, Amanda Dean (South Africa)

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