Saturday, June 23, 2012


The moment a child calls her mother "Queen of Annoyance" because she said weird things again (this time in front of Dr. del Nido) and beats her 4 to 2 in Connect4, I believe the worst is over. 

We did draw in a game of Checkers but that's a small comfort when one considers that the opponent is a 12-year old patient in the cardiac unit. It's like our friend Kim who played chess with her son while he did his homework and practiced his trumpet during the time it took her to make the next move.

Sophia had a very productive day today. First we were visited by Marc Anthony who is neither Roman nor Puerto Rican. I believe his real name is Dr. Mark Alexander but it's hard to keep them all straight. He specializes in cardiac electrophysiology and talked to us about the different types of pacemakers. 

Paul and I used to work at Physio-Control that's now owned by Medtronic and we are partial to that brand. Another option is a device by Boston Scientific that used to be Guidant and before that CPI (during the Eli Lilly days). We know these guys really well, too. In the end we will go with what's best for Sophia's particular needs.

Dr. Alexander performed a number of tests on our daughter, one of which consisted of disconnecting her from her friend 5388 (AKA the external pacemaker) and she paced at 70. Her heart is strong, her ventricle is pumping away better than ever but the atrium and ventricle still don't want to talk to each other. 

How does this even work? So many questions and who can remember the answers? We should tape-record these guys.

The second visitor was Dr. del Nido (which I adore and Paul is okay with that). He marked the spots on her pillow where he operated, explained what he did to make her heart better and then wrote a little note and signed it. Sophia was happy.

Dr. Alexander wants to make a decision on Monday regarding the pacemaker, Dr. del Nido would like to wait a bit longer. They usually give the patient 7-10 days post-op to see if the conduction system recovers but Dr. Alexander is pretty certain that Sophia will need a pacemaker. 

And even Dr. del Nido cautioned us to not get too excited even if her conduction were to come back because they would need to make sure it is genuine and robust (i.e. can follow an increased demand).

Apparently, there are cells around the AV node that can conduct electric impulses and make the heart beat. Isn't Mother Nature amazing? Our engine has a built-in back-up system! It's not as reliable as the AV node but it keeps the patient alive if the pacemaker fails. 

My husband will sleep much better tonight as he has been obsessing over how easy it would be to drop her portable pacer or to disconnect these very thin wires from the patient cable.

Next up, the physical therapist. She worked with Sophia on exercises to straighten her back and to stretch her chest muscles. She also suggested some breathing exercises and will be back on Monday to check on the progress.

After her walk around the unit, Sophia settled into her chair with her Kindle and the parents decided to give her some alone time. Aren't we considerate?

We used the opportunity to leave the hospital and grab some lunch. During our well-deserved espresso break, we received a call from Krissy. She contacted us all the way from Guatemala to see how her friend Sophia is doing. How sweet of her.

Right now Sophia is listening to CD 9 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (courtesy of Stan and Alida). She will have to break soon to go for another walk past all these little babies that are swaddled like little burritos.

Have I mentioned that all pregnant nurses who work in our Cardiac ICU get an echo done on their unborn fetus? It comes with the territory.

Vampire Bite?

Sophia refused to be photographed for the blog today (another sign of her speedy recovery) but I was able to snap a picture of a puncture wound on her neck that looks frighteningly familiar.

Could it be that Robert Pattinson paid our daughter a visit??? I guess I will find out...

As Granny O'Grimm would say: "You sleep well, and I'll see you in the morning. With the help of God!"

(One of Sophia's favorite shorts. Check it out at

That's me for tonight,


  1. Whew! OK- I'm all caught up on the adventures of Sophia. (And her parents.). Hang in there everyone! Sophia, you are so much stronger than I and your classmates knew. You inspire me.
    You're not missing summer in Seattle, since it continues to rain. I was at U Village today where Violet and I defied the clouds and sat outside at the Ram to eat- alone. No one else was crazy enough to risk eating between rain showers. Ha! I'm raising a Seattlite after all.

    Get some rest everyone! Prayers and virtual hugs: sent.
    The Teacher

  2. Sounds like sweet little Miss Sophia is starting to behave more like a 13 year old teenager with her this new lippy nickname for her Mama. But then again, maybe its just the vampire bite that has made her this way.

    I love and share Dr del Nido's optimism. Thinking of you and enjoying a little Sunday morning Seattle Sunshine.