The Fifth Hour.

Continued from The Stent Is In

So there we were,  settled into our second movie of the afternoon in the cath-lab recovery room.  Kalvin had finally let up a bit with his pleading to sit up and to get out of bed.  We were in the home stretch…the fifth hour of Kal lying flat on his back.  Just one more hour to go.  I had just come back from getting something to eat and all seemed to be going well.  I put my coat on - the room was freezing cold because Kalvin kept saying that he was hot, really hot,  hence the cold towel on his head in the picture.  Lars finally decided to take a break himself and went to get a cup of coffee.  I settled in next to Kalvin on the chair- nice and cozy and warm with my coat on.  I layed my head down next to Kalvin's on the bed.   Ahhh, all was calm.  I think I may have even had one eye closed for half a second when Kalvin yelled out, “Mom, mom. I have to get up RIGHT now!”

I jumped up, “ No, no Kalvin just one more hour.  We are in the fifth hour and we only have to lie down for one more hour.  We are almost there."

"No mom, I HAVE to get up.  RIGHT NOW, mom."  he blurted out.

"What is it Kalvin? What is the matter?”  I pleaded.

"My stomach hurts.  I have to get up!”  he shouted.

I thought maybe he had to go to the bathroom.  So I asked,  but that didn't seem to be the case.  And then it began.  The vomiting.  I grabbed the barf bag left by his head and rang the nurse's call button.  I was all alone.  Kalvin completely missed the bag.  Throw up was now all over my coat and my hair.  Nice.   It seemed like too much time had passed and I feared the nurse would think we just wanted to fix the DVD player again.  “HELP!”  I screamed.

It worked.  They came running.  A nurse was instantly at his bedside.  “You help him with the vomiting,” she stated.  “ I have to look at his leg.”  She mumbled something about the stomach muscles used in throwing up causing the wound to open up while simultaneously lifting the bed sheets.  Blood was everywhere.  Everywhere. The blood looked like it was pouring out of the wound.  I looked away.  I tried reassuring Kal that all was going to be ok.  Surprisingly, he didn't seem that concerned about the blood.  I am not even sure how much of it he could see from the angle he was at.

The nurse called for assistance.  In an instant,  the room was filled with doctors and nurses.  Kalvin was screaming.  The doctor was applying pressure to the wound to try and get it to stop bleeding and it hurt.  Kalvin let us know just how much it hurt.  He began begging me to make the doctor move her hand away from his leg.   He tried pulling his leg away.  He attempted to swat the doctor's hand off his leg.  His hand was then completely covered in blood. He then wiped the blood all over his face.   I was trying to hold him steady,  but it was hard.  There was blood everywhere.  He was thrashing all over.  He was in serious pain.  This boy never complains about pain.  It must really hurt.  The anesthesiologist was called in.

I spotted my cell phone across the room.  Lars, I need to call Lars.  I thought of Lars' last words as he stepped out for the coffee,  “Call me if something comes up.”

Somewhere in the fog I flashed back to the last time I could remember Lars asking if he could go get a cup of coffee.  I was laying on the ultra sound table 20 weeks pregnant with Kalvin.  The ultra sound technician  told us she was trying to get a good picture of the baby's heart.  I think I then asked her some question about another body part and she barked back at me, “The heart is a pretty important organ.”

To which the sarcastic side of me responded, “You think?”

“Well yes,” she said. “You need one to live.”

Hmm, yes, I realize that I thought to myself.

I was clueless,  of course,  that anything would be wrong with my baby’s heart.  I had never heard of a congenital heart defect which, I guess is why, I wasn’t really nervous.  She left and said she might need to take more pictures,  she was going to check with the doctor.  That is when Lars said he was going to go and get a coffee.  I didn’t think anything was wrong,  but something in me told me not to let him leave...just in case there was a problem.  Those were our last few moments of being in the dark about congenital heart defects.

I knew when Lars came back and saw the room swarming with doctors and nurses he was going to panic,  but I couldn’t leave Kalvin’s side for a second to grab my phone.  The anesthesiologist came up behind Kalvin’s head and said she thought we needed to get him something right away.  He was still crying out in pain;  tossing and turning trying to get his leg away from the doctor applying the pressure.  There was talk about what sedative to give him,  but it was all going over my head even when she said she was going to give him “propofol.”

I couldn’t figure out why they were looking at me like something was really wrong so I innocently asked if that was going to require a needle.  "Oh no," they said.  " We will administer it through one of his IV’s."

 “Ok,” I said. “ We better do it.”

Lars walked in, calmer than I expected.  The anesthesiologist was administering the propofol.  It stung his hand as it entered through the IV.  He screamed out and pleaded for the doctor to stop putting the medicine in.  It was awful.   It seemed to take forever to take effect.  As he was drifting in and out occasionally still trying to sit up,  I realized where I had heard of the drug propofol…Michael Jackson-of course.  And I, not thinking, blurted it out to the anesthesiologist, “Is this the drug Michael Jackson took?”

“Yes,” she responded. “That is why I am here with Kalvin and will be the entire time he is on it - unlike Michael Jackson’s doctor.”

Ok, I get it now. The looks at the mention of the drug in the beginning.  For a minute I panicked Kalvin had heard what I blurted out about the  Michael Jackson drug.  He is a huge Michael Jackson fan. (Take a look at the pictures of his Halloween costume from 2010). He didn’t know Michael Jackson had passed away for quite awhile - I  tried to shelter him from that news for as long as possible. One day his babysitter let it slip that Michael Jackson had passed away.  Shortly after that, he learned from the media that Michael Jackson had passed away as a result of taking too much medicine.  Of course, this brought on months of questions about what exactly happened to Michael Jackson.

I quickly realized what I had blurted out and glanced down at Kal to see if he had heard me.  I hoped he had not heard that he was now receiving the drug that killed Michael Jackson  (Kal does not miss a beat-pun intended).  Luckily,  the propofol had kicked in and he was not hearing or feeling much- just very relaxed…finally.

Kalvin liked to wear his Michael Jackson costume to the grocery store on occasion.
When the customers waved to him, he was convinced they thought he was the real
Michael Jackson and that they were going to think Michael was mad at them
because he didn't stop and talk to them.  It was adorable.

 Then the nurse broke it to us…Kalvin now faced another six hours of lying flat on his back.  Ughh.  I just prayed the propofol would keep him still and happy for a while.  It did.  Once he woke up, he was in much better spirits.  Our wonderful nurse, Jen,  found us a great movie to watch  The Wizard of Oz.   He was content and we were finally getting ready to make the move upstairs to our hospital room for the remainder of the night. 

Once Kal could sit up, he was a new man.  He met his new nurse and immediately started chatting away.  He was really feeling so much better now that he could sit up.  The great advantage to having a congenital defect is that hospitals are not something you fear.  Kalvin doesn't mind going to the doctor's - ever.  He never complains about it.  He only fears shots.  Once he knows shots are not involved he is very you can see from the photos below.

Our nurse informed us that we would need to head down to X-ray at 10 pm.  The doctors wanted to get a look at the stent and make sure it was still in place.  This is when Kal decided he was going to stay up all night!  He was very excited to take his first wheel chair ride!

He did a great job with the X-ray.  Everything was right where it was suppose to be!! And, best of all, our little boy was in a great mood!

He finally passed out again around midnight.  I slept in his room on the cot and Lars slept down the hall in the playroom.  We were all settled in. 

The next morning Kal could not wait to order his breakfast all by himself on the phone.  He was so excited. He felt so grown up - it was adorable.

His first meal was toast and juice.  Daddy ate the chocolate chip pancakes!

Notice the mound of butter on his toast.
Kal loves butter.
We waited patiently for the doctors to do their rounds.  Kal loved being the center of attention and was flirting away with the doctors...

while taking in every word they said.  I knew we were going to have a lot of explaining to do because they talked alot about his leg.

You can see Kal here staring as they examine the wound.
We met with Dr. Brown, Kal's cardiologist and Dr. Kasser, Kal's orthopedic,  about a surgical procedure being pioneered at Boston Children's Hospital in which a child's blood vessels are stretched,  providing new material to make repairs elsewhere in the body.  The newly grown arteries can replace sections that are damaged or missing,  resulting in fixes that may grow with the child and last a lifetime.  We are very excited to learn more about the procedure this Wednesday when we meet with Dr. Heung Bae Kim at Children's.  We are over joyed that there may be a solution to repair his leg that will last a lifetime,  yet very scared about how Kal will handle all of this.  The details of the procedure described in this Boston Globe article dated January 2, 2013.  Very new stuff, very new.

We were sent home on a daily dose of baby aspirin! 

There are six entries in total relating to Kalvin's cath lab.  You can read them here 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in order.  Thanks for stopping by.  We love to hear your thoughts and comments!


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Rayne,
      Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a note. Email me at and we can talk. Take care, Kristen

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