Dr. Harake handed us a prescription at our appointment last Friday for two new meds and wrote on the bottom of it in big, block letters “PULMONARY HYPERTENSION!”. Never before has he written SO CLEARLY the diagnosis for which a drug is being prescribed but apparently this time there is need for clarification as one of Rudy’s new meds is Viagra. Yep, you heard me right and many of you heart moms out there can relate to the awkward interaction one can have with the pharmacist when trying to fill an order of Viagra for a baby. Here’s a little trivia for you…the drug was originally developed for it’s vessel dialating function and when some lucky guinea pig discovered it’s positive side effect, it quickly began being marketed for, well, you know…. Poor Viagra is a bit type-cast because it actually serves a very important medical purpose in many heart and lung patients. So, it’s off to the pharmacy we go with two new meds on our list bringing our grand total back up to 13 daily meds. Bummer! I guess Rudy’s list of meds will always be somewhat fluid but adding meds always feels a bit like taking steps backward instead of forward.
After talking with Dr. Harake (SB) at our appointment and then with Dr. Dan (UCLA) over the weekend, the plan for now is to wait a couple of months for these new meds to address some blood flow resistance issues in the lungs. The high pulmonary resistance makes the Glenn a very risky operation for Rudy as not enough blood would make it through his lungs to sustain him. This is actually a seperate issue from Rudy’s low oxygenation (which is due to damage or disease the lungs are trying to recover from); but the physiology of it all would suggest that if the blood flow is allowed to freely flow then the oxygen sats could be influenced. I don’t quite understand it all yet but the main point is we are going to wait…and the fact that we can wait is a blessing we don’t want to overlook. The timing of the Glenn in HLHS patients is often determined by heart failure and doctors are forced to do the surgery despite any critical concerns about the lungs. As most Glenns typically happen around 4 to 6 months, we are amazed that Rudy’s trusty single ventricle keeps beating without any signs of failure even after 16 months. Since we’ve been going month-to-month since June, even knowing we have a 2 month timeline is more definition than we’ve ever been given so we’ll work with it.
Speaking of working, Rudy continues to try hard in his therapy sessions and we’re working with objects that are a bit heavier to increase his strength. Wooden spoons are the “barbell” of choice these days:
Thank you for standing alongside us in this and for standing by as we wait this thing out…we will most certainly keep you posted!