Some of the most hectic times in my life have been when my family has been in the middle of a move. Packing everything up, getting ready to start somewhere new: it’s a busy time. Add in a child(or 2 or 3…) and it makes for an even crazier time.
But what if that wasn’t all you were dealing with in the middle of such a move?
What if you took your 9 month old to a well-check appointment amid all the packing and the pediatrician told you he “heard something” and that you needed to take your baby to the hospital to be checked out?
That is what happened to the Tuttle family with their son, Heath, back in November 2008.
Heath was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy. Sounds like a big scary word, doesn’t it? And it was: they learned that there was no cure for this and that Heath would need a heart transplant. His little heart was in such bad shape that it would not last 2 years: he needed on the heart transplant list immediately.
After some research, the Tuttles knew they needed to be at Duke Children’s Hospital.
Just 3 weeks after his diagnosis, Heath had a low blood pressure seizure and crashed in the Duke ED. His mom, Carrie, shares: “They were unable to stabilize him and had to put him on ECMO, the heart/lung bypass machine. He was bumped to the top of the transplant list, but things were pretty tough–they were unable to take him off the ECMO and we were told that he would have to have that transplant immediately to have a chance to survive.”
As far as the hospital goes, the Tuttles share that Heath was treated as if he were their own child. The staff laughed and cried with the family and were there to hold them up during that rough time.
“Heath received a heart on the 10th day that he was on ECMO, December 14, 2008–it was amazing. He did beautifully through surgery and initial recovery. By Dec. 26, we were out of the PICU and we went home on January 17, 2009, the day before his 1st birthday. That is what I love about the people at Duke Children’s–they knew it was his birthday and they were determined to get him home!”
Since that time, Heath has done well, but is immune suppressed and always will be because of the many meds he has to take post-transplant. He’s had to return to the hospital for short stays. The Tuttles have developed wonderful relationships with all the specialists they see on a regular basis. But, if you didn’t know his story, you would think Heath was just your average, happy 4 year-old! You’d never know what he and his family had gone through.
Mom Carrie thanks the hospital: “Duke Children’s gave us, our son and our whole family(and continues to give us) another chance at life. We are grateful for the care and the incredible world-class medical minds that are right there in our backyard.”
Duke Children’s Hospital is part of the Children’s Miracle Network. The Children’s Miracle Network touches “.. the lives of more children and their families than any other children’s charity. Whether they suffer from common childhood afflictions like asthma and broken bones, or fight bigger challenges like birth defects or cancer, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals provide comfort, treatment and hope to millions of sick kids each year. These kids aren’t in faraway countries or from opposite sides of the nations—they’re in your community. They may be your own children.”
I’m honored to be a part of the #MiracleMoms team of bloggers. We are a group of loving, passionate, and motivated women eager to tell the stories of families who use, or have used the services of the Children’s Miracle Network/ Children’s Miracle Hospitals. Thank you to the Tuttles for allowing me to share their story.
How you can help
Over the next month, all of the #MiracleMoms are helping to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. My personal goal is to raise $1,000. You can contribute by visiting my donation page.
Why you should donate
Heath’s mom reminds us: “Your life can change in an instant—one moment in a pediatrician’s office when he ‘hears a little gallop in the heart.’ Your donations help make the wonderful care at Duke possible. Wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you if the situation were reversed?”
It’s so true, isn’t it? Any of us can have our lives turned upside down at any moment. The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals help to make families to get through these tough times.
If you donate $25 or more, I will display your blog button on my homepage through the end of July. In addition, I will randomly select 5 of you who donate to be the featured blogger for Things They Can’t Say throughout this summer. After you donate, to get your ad on this site or to be considered for guest posting, please fill out this form.
But, any little bit helps and makes a difference in the life of a child! So any amount you can contribute is appreciated! Click to be directed to my #MiracleMoms Donation Page. Tweets and facebook shares to help spread the word are greatly appreciated!
#MiracleMoms is a sponsored campaign. All opinions expressed are my own and all donations go to Children’s Miracle Network/Duke Children’s Hospital.