the look on his face...

17 June 2014

When Hayden went into his second surgery, the Glenn, we sat down with Dr Spray and spoke about what he was going to be doing. We already did our research so we pretty much knew what he was going to say - but thats the protocol at CHOP- you meet with the surgeon just minutes after they wheel your baby away with the anesthesiologist and discuss the plans for the next couple of hours. I knew what I would be doing- sitting in waiting room with our family and a few friends hoping Jackson would once again be the distraction I so needed. Watching the clock waiting for another hour to pass when our nurse would come give us an update on what was happening.
But before all of that- we met with Dr. Spray- the chief of cardiac surgery at CHOP. I had such a doctor crush on him and got shy and speechless whenever I was around him. I never got a photo of Hayden with Dr Spray- pretty much because I could barely talk when he was around, let alone ask him to pose in a picture. I always joked with the other doctors and nurses about what to get him as a thank you for what he had done for us both after the Norwood and then after the Glenn. I felt  indebted to him and had no idea what to do to repay that, and I know thousands of other families feel the exact same way.  Nothing could ever be good enough to say thank you for giving me the 5 months and 4 days we did have with Hayden. But, I will say I think we did give him a tiny gift that day we met with him to discuss what was about to happen in that operating room.
Dr Spray began with telling us he would be removing the stent that was placed in Hayden's heart during his cath procedure back in May- he then continued to tell us all about what would happen next, how long everything would take, when we could see him, what to expect during recovery etc. All of this we pretty much knew either because we researched it or had friends who already went through the Glenn. So, when Dr Spray looked at us and asked if we had any questions, Rob and I looked at each other and started half smiling a bit. Then we turned to Dr Spray and said that we understood what would happen during surgery but we did have one question- what does he do with the stent once he removes it from Hayden's heart? He told us he would dispose of it. We then asked if he would mind saving it for us- if we could keep it. Honestly going into this we didn't think that was odd at all- we figured lots of parents asked him these kind of questions and just assumed he'd say ok or no and that would be it. But thats not all that happened- for a few seconds it was silent and Dr Spray smirked, smiled, and said 'Well, I've never been asked that before!'. Which kind of shocked me and I remember thinking oh jeez-he must think we are so weird..oh no...And then I remember the look on his face- a half smile, slight chuckle- and he said, half laughing- 'Sure you can have it!'
And so the next few hours we waited for hourly updates and then finally got word from our nurse that the surgery went perfect and that we would be meeting with Dr Spray soon and then we could see Hayden. And thats all we wanted was to see Hayden- but first we met with Spray- and the first thing he did when he walked into the room was hand us this clear plastic container with a blue lid labeled with Hayden's medical ID number and name- and said 'Here you go'- again with that same half smile/smirk/laugh that he gave us when we first asked. I think about that moment all the time- anyone who knows Dr Spray knows that he is top notch when it comes to surgeons but personality wise- well, his strengths aren't really in that department. And we were ok with that when we chose him as Haydens surgeon- because we wanted the best of the best- but honestly he really doesn't have great bedside manner. And I often wonder if thats because he's seen and been through too much. Too many hearts have stopped and not restarted on his table, too many couldn't make it through the recovery, too many deaths-period. And not because it is his fault, but because this is what happens in the heart world. So maybe he used to connect better to his families and get attached- and then maybe that got too hard for him. I don't know the reason- although that certainly would make sense to me. Regardless of why Dr Spray is the way he is, he's the chief of surgery on that floor- and thats all the title he needs.  But seeing him smile/smirk/laugh at us when we asked him what I thought at the time was a normal question, well- it makes me smile right now just thinking back on that moment. Almost like we cracked him. We got him to smile. Not that anyone could ever forget Hayden- but I bet he'll never forget that babies parents who asked to keep the stent that was removed from their child's heart- and it sure was the topic of discussion going around the cardiac floor for the remainder of the day- countless nurses came in to check out Hayden's stent and agreed with us at how amazing that little spring looking piece of metal was- and that it was what helped Hayden survive his interstage.

(the pic of Hayden is during his recovery from the Glenn)

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