ALL ABOUT little HEARTs

ALL ABOUT little HEARTS

There is so much to learn about hearts. More so little hearts. I just attended a world conference showcasing a variety (and multitude!) of topics about diseases affecting the heart of children. From the fetus to the “almost” adult. From genes that can lead to sudden cardiac death to innovative interventions that can prolong and improve quality of life.

Having little hearts, children are harder to treat (that’s my opinion I guess). There is consideration of instruments that will fit, equipment volumes that may be too much, a long future that is ahead, inadequate experience behind compared to adult interventions. Not to mention dealing with surges of parents’ (and grandparents’) emotions. Think about considering to abort a fetus diagnosed with complex heart disease.. Think about a physician divulging a serious, if not incurable, condition of a baby still in the mother’s womb. What emotions (!) though suppressed by the doctor herself. What heartaches do we inflict?!? (Whew! Wait.. can’t get over that yet..).

I can’t deny that everytime a child or pregnant woman comes for a symptom or a procedure, I’m praying the diagnosis will be “Essentially Normal Heart” – a musculoskeletal pain, an innocent (physiologic) murmur, a variant but otherwise normal heart rhythm, a normal fetal echocardiogram (!), a normal pediatric echocardiogram. Normal! Normal! Normal! Yes! But the truth is, whether I like it or not, I will have to deal with children with abnormal hearts (di ba yun ang specialty mo Ninang? “Huh? Oh yes!”). And it doesn’t get easy with time or age (that’s ok Ninang.. Hug!).

The truth is, many if not all of us, will have to handle people with “little” heart. Stubborn kids who won’t follow the rules, and stubborn adults who rigidly, inflexibly hold on to rules. Not that they are wrong, particularly adults; but there is certainly room for a “bigger” heart. And kids! Have a heart and stop breaking Mommy’s. Obey.

Coming from a developing country I can’t help but feel “little” listening to the roster of faculty from different countries and topics in keeping with the technology and progress of a developed world. Where do we fit? Where do we stand? For our country and our patients? Some experts are talking about dealing with consequences of procedures not yet available in the country. When will heart transplant be available anyway? Will we ever have the resources, the will, the guts, the opportunity in my lifetime? I felt “little”.

But then I remembered talking with a fetal cardiologist from a “first world” country years ago. I said “you’re so fortunate you can do all those procedures in your country”. And this was the unexpected response from this learned, mature, blonde doctor “Well, that’s just the problem! We don’t know when to stop!” I guess where we begin is as important as where we end. Until a life is saved? But when do we really save a life? Does breathing constitute life? Yes, from the doctor’s point of view, or the relatives’. But for the patient’s? The patient alone knows.  I didn’t feel so little anymore.

And So I think, for these little hearts, and those with “little” heart, and this “feeling little” heart of mine- for now (or maybe forever Ninang! “Maybe!”)- what happens today and every personal encounter is what matters most. A Vision of cure, healing, progress and technology, change in behavior, character, and disposition (no matter how remote) may give us HOPE. (And we will continually strive to give the best that anyone can offer- here or abroad. And we will continue to understand where people’s attitudes are coming from.) But what we decide to feel, do, listen to, and speak (how about smell Ninang? “Smell the roses!”), and how we make our patients or others feel each moment we are with them, is what can GIVE all of us Life.. and hopefully LIFE as it should be.

-Ninang little big thoughts

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”- Jesus, our Lord and Savior, in John 10:10

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37)

 

“All About Your Heart”
(Mindy Gledhill)

I don’t mind your odd behavior
It’s the very thing I love
If you were an ice cream flavor
You would be my favorite one

My imagination sees you
Like a painting by Van Gogh
Starry nights and bright sunflowers
Follow you where you may go

Oh, I’ve loved you from the start
In every single way
And more each passing day
You are brighter than the stars
Believe me when I say
It’s not about your scars
It’s all about your heart

You’re a butterfly held captive
Small and safe in your cocoon
Go on you can take your time
Time is said to heal all wounds

Oh, I’ve loved you from the start
In every single way
And more each passing day
You are brighter than the stars
Believe me when I say
It’s not about your scars
It’s all about your heart

Like a lock without a key
Like a mystery without a clue
There is no me if I cannot have you

Oh, I’ve loved you from the start
In every single way
And more each passing day
You are brighter than the stars
Believe me when I say
It’s not about your scars
It’s all about your heart

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