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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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How Do You Want Her To Die? (Part Two): Heather Lindsay's Story, Continued
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Hilary Rene'a McCabe, little Heather Lindsay's mother, continues to write about her infant daughter's struggle with a serious heart defect that threatens to take her life. This story has been purposely flash-forwarded to a few days later since the first part was written.

Dr. Emmons continues to be very cautious and guarded about my infant daughter, Heather Lindsay. She is still a very sick little girl, and her condition really hasn't improved all that much. If anything, it appears to have gotten somewhat worse.

He called me into his office so he could discuss in private with me about Heather's medical problems, and he told me about what was wrong with her heart and why she was still so very sick, even though it had been nearly two months later.

Apparently, the problem Heather has is congenital. That means it may have been apparent at the time of her birth; but at birth she looked so vibrant, so healthy (and was even apparently breathing on her OWN) that this problem was accidentally overlooked; and the problem didn't seem to manifest itself until a few days after her birth! Now, at the age of three months, Heather Lindsay still continues to struggle for her very life, and things, at best, do NOT look at ALL good.

Heather, according to Dr. Emmons, had a very rare, but very serious, heart defect called "Epstein's Anomaly". In a nutshell, it's a malformation of the tricuspid valve in the heart, which pumps blood through the haert's upper right chamber (atrium) to the lower right chamber. When this valve doesn't pump blood flow through the heart, the right atrium fills up with blood, which then flows backward, as though there is a blockage, through the valve opening. This, in turn, causes an eventual abnormal "enlargement" of the heart, sometimes as much as seven TIMES its normal size! This in turn causes pressure on the chest cavity and on the lungs; and this causes severe breathing difficulties and lowered oxygen levels in the blood, which can, ultimately, cause death if it is NOT resolved quickly or as soon as possible.

Treatment of this rare defect is based on two premises: surgery, to help correct the defect (IF feasible), or medications to help the blood flow through the heart. If the pulmonary muscular resistance drops, patients will then, most assuredly, improve; but Dr. Emmons stressed that not ALL patients with Epstein's Anomaly do well, even WITH treatment; and infants then can die. According to a recent international collaborative study between medical doctors and specialists, 29 of 35 infants diagnosed with Epstein's Anomaly died.

The news certainly did not sound very encouraging. The news, if anything, only upset me; and it made me want to spend as much time as I possibly could with my infant daughter back in the NICU.


In the NICU ward, Heather lay on her back, hooked up to a whole myriad of tubes. Tubes snaked from her nose, her mouth, and her belly button; and she was swollen from fluid build up. She was the biggest baby in the NICU, and she certainly was among the very sickest. She, at now 10 pounds, was a giant among impossibly tiny, frail-looking babies, some seemingly only as big as peanuts or soda cans. She was still a pale shade of greyish-blue-purple in color, and she lay there, naked, and not moving until they came to stick her with more needles for more tests; and due to the respirator tube in her mouth, she couldn't cry but silently. To see her face screw up in pain as they worked on her tore at the inner core of my soul; and tears filled my own eyes at the sight of my still-suffering daughter.

Now, I am NOT a very religious person, but I said a quick prayer to God, asking Him to heal my baby girl, to make her well. She was my only source of joy in my otherwise miserable life; and I didn't want anything to happen to her; but according to the doctor, things were still looking pretty stormy for Heather, and I was getting more scared by the minute.

~To be continued.~

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Reviewed by Mary Coe 8/19/2007
This is truly a heartfelt and touching story. Excellent work.
Reviewed by Sarah Tagert 2/21/2004
awesome, and heartfelt write
Reviewed by Floria Kelderhouse 2/20/2004
Karent this is so heartfelt...and sad...and gosh you certainly
did your research on the condition...I love how you made the
chapters short...I dont read many stories because by the time
I spend time reviewing poetry and writing my own among all the
chores that must be done...I just dont have time...but gosh...
how you did it is so easy to read and continue to
follow...GREAT work here...sad....and touching...thanks for your
nice note to me...bless you...floria
Reviewed by Mitzi Jackson 2/19/2004
i have to agree with everyone hear, when i get the chance i will go back and read the first part i second your sister please contiue
thanks for sharing
Reviewed by Trish - The Trickster 2/19/2004
A well written, heart breaking write.
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 2/19/2004
Well written heartbreaking story!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Rebekah Rosie Lang 2/19/2004
You know so much about the human body!
Amazing! First person I know that is not
a Doctor and actually KNOWS more than ME!
LOL! Love you much! Becca
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 2/18/2004

This is a wonderful story, so heartbreaking but very well written...
God Bless
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 2/18/2004

an excellent continuation to heather's story. you are so knowledgeable about different conditions. please continue to educate and inspire with your well written pieces.

(((HUGS))) and love,

karla. :)

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