Pre-Op Visit for a Cath Lab Baby, Only My Baby is Now Eight

We headed into Children’s Hospital for Kalvin’s pre op appointment.  We still have not met with nor spoken to the Interventionalist Radiologist who will be performing his surgery.  Our first conversation with the Good Doctor began by the doctor introducing himself as, "The doctor that didn't call you back." 

Hmm, don't know quite how to take this comment/statement.  I guess, just "smile and wave."  Don't want to aggravate the man who's performing the surgery on your son's femoral artery.  Especially a few days before the procedure.  Best just to take a deep, deep breath and think of all the amazing things Children's Hospital has done for our family thus far.

It was a long day at Children's.  Finn came along for the excitement (plans were switched at the last minute).  Finn seemed to think we were at an amusement park.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself.  The musical staircase being one attraction.  The lights hanging from the ceiling another. The coloring pages, white boards and all the friendly people we met along the way were more than enough to keep Finn completely entertained.  After all, this was one of Finn's first trips to Children's Hospital.  And since Finn wasn't looking at any needle pokes,  it only makes sense that this day would seem grand from his eyes.

Kalvin spent the morning worrying about one thing, and one thing only.  The needle that would draw his blood.  He insisted on having a numbing cream patch to help take away some of the sting from the needle prick.  He was a trooper.  He only cried before the stick.  The anxiety leading up t o the needle is always much worse than the actual poke.   He watched the needle go into his arm this time and then, declared it was easy!  He felt much better watching the needle than just blindly waiting for the prick.  Who knew!

Kalvin proudly displaying his numbing cream patch. 
Kalvin after the blood draw, proudly displaying his little band aid.
What we learned at this particular pre-op visit was what I was most fearful of. The doctors don’t know if they are going to be able to increase the flow to his left leg using angioplasty.  At all.  They may not be able to do anything during this procedure or they may be able to make dramatic improvements .  They won't know until they are in the artery poking around.  Not really so comforting. T he artery may have been completely severed at three months old and therefore, not allow a wire to fit through it at all.  But we won't know if we don’t try.  Why we switched "plans" is in this past post here.

An interesting theory we heard from the doctor is that every baby who undergoes a catheterization procedure most likely has some artery damage.  But in almost all the cases, there will not be any damage to the leg itself or even any symptoms.  Ever.  So Kalvin's case is very rare.  The case where the symptoms showed up right away.  We knew the left leg was much skinnier than the other at one year old.  And then shortly thereafter, we knew one leg was shorter than the other. More about Kalvin's initial leg damage is in this post here.

We go in tomorrow, Monday, July 29th to try and widen the left femoral artery in a complex angioplasty procedure.  We pray the Good Doctor is able to make improvements that will help restore Kalvin's leg back to what it once was.
If you look closely, you will see Finn's little feet behind Kalvin. 
Kalvin thought he was being so funny trying to stand in front of Finn for the picture.

If not, well then we will have to come up with a new plan.  Fingers crossed.  Kalvin is so aware of all that is happening.  He is so ready for his leg to be "normal" and I am not sure how he will handle the news if this procedure is not successful.  I am not sure how open he will be to future surgeries to address this same issue.  He seems ready to move on from here.  Positive thoughts people, positive thoughts please.  You can read more about Kalvin's femoral artery damage here.

The boys are always captivated by the ball drop display in the lobby.
I have mentioned the chiming noise it makes in past posts here.


  1. You have so much to grapple with, depending on the outcome of the surgery. My heart just goes out to you! And Kalvin! Best wishes!

  2. Thanks Erica for your support. Kalvin's surgery was pretty successful! We are very pleased and hope that the increase in blood flow will work some magic in the muscles in his leg. I will provide more details in the next post. Thank you for checking on us and letting us know! xoxo Kristen