… the past few days. Tuesdays are always the busiest of my days, what with our weekly staff meeting, plus the usual agendas. I also have my weekly five-hour gig at a nearby children’s center, working with the teens and younger kids through the chaplaincy provided there.
Today was Brittany’s six-month cardiology check-up. Her doc was full of optimism. He’s up-to-date and very excited about news like this, in which bone marrow may be used to regrow not just heart valves, but entire hearts for kids like our daughter, who was born with only three-quarters of that organ. No embryonic stem-cells, no ethical anguish. He was saying that twenty years was more likely for growing and installing new organs. (That link suggests ten.)
By 2030, he said, we can keep an infant alive for a month or two after harvesting a few bone marrow cells, then implant a fully healthy, home-grown heart, avoiding the need for the complex medications that dampen the rejection reaction of the body’s immune system.
It was a light feeling I had leaving the hospital today, compared with the concern we had going in with our daughter’s recent chest pains. We were reassured (as we also heard from our PCP last month) that sharp pains in the chest are indicative more of the active nerve endings in the sternum (opened three times for infant heart surgery) or the pleural membranes in the chest cavity. Simply put, the heart has no nerve endings that generate sharp pain. Something to watch, but not something of concern.
Brittany didn’t need Dad to tag along for the EKG today. While I was alone, I was trying to keep my mind off the horrendous worst-case fantasies the mind dredges up. I left the hospital knowing that I’ll likely see those advances helping my own daughter before I die.