Friday, July 26, 2013

Being Brave Despite Being Scared…

Although they tend to get overlooked, Jacob wasn't the only one with recent medical appointments. I took Gavin to our family doctor a few weeks ago for constant throat clearing. It had been going on for months, I had forgotten to ask about it at his four-year well visit and the throat clearing was happening more often.  Gavin kept telling me he couldn't help doing it and he couldn't stop.  I tried offering incentives, but became worried that it could be something else, especially since it was worse during meals.

Dr. Kelch did an exam and looked G over. She said he has very large tonsils, which didn't surprise me because that seems to run in the family.  TD had to have his tonsils out because they were uncharacteristically enormous.  Gavin’s throat and lungs were both clear of infection.  Dr. Kelch had G do a breathing strength test with a little plastic contraption much like what they give patients post-op, except this one you blow out as hard as you can instead of sucking in.  Gavin passed with flying colors. He was well over the requirements for a six year old, the age that the scale started. She still wrote a script for G to have a lung x- ray. We went on to talk about neurological ticks and if they run in our family. Being adopted I have very little family history and with my observation of TD’s family over the last nine years I couldn't think of any at the time. She does think it’s most likely a tick and he should outgrow it. She even went as far to say that most ticks resolve during teenage years. Oh my!

When we were done discussing the throat clearing, Dr. Kelch told me she heard a heart murmur during the exam.  Yeah, awesome.  I, naturally, start imagining the worst possible afflictions, but after talking a little more and doing some research, apparently murmurs are common, especially in children.  According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute,

A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. Murmurs range from very faint to very loud. Sometimes they sound like a whooshing or swishing noise.  This is the sound of the heart valves closing as blood moves through the heart. Doctors can hear these sounds and heart murmurs using a stethoscope.  The two types of heart murmurs are innocent (harmless) and abnormal.  Innocent heart murmurs aren't caused by heart problems. These murmurs are common in healthy children. Many children will have heart murmurs heard by their doctors at some point in their lives.

I’m not even going to go into abnormal murmurs because… Well, because I don’t have to.  Dr. Kelch went on to say she wasn't too concerned because G is SO active and developing on-point, but wanted him to have a heart echo for a baseline and to confirm his heart is healthy. 

Gavin has been exposed to so much more than any child his age should have to see and he does amazing processing and understanding it all.  It's the normal for him.  He has this quiet concern that I can see in his eyes, but he's too brave to break down.  I've seen it many times, like during shots, or when he had his concussion and CT, watching other little kids getting chemo, seeing his big brother hooked up to 6 lines, eye exams  and during this heart echo.  We had to go to Cardiology at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, which G is very familiar with because we take Jacob there every two weeks, but it's still the big hospital and is scary. Gavin and I were taken in to a private room and he took his shirt off and climbed into a big bed. His tech was super cool with a hip short hair cut and funky glasses.  She started right off kidding with G and making him smile.  She explained everything to him and got busy setting everything up.  A few leads were attached, but the echo only consisted of an ultrasound of the heart.  G thought the jelly was yucky, but the leads being removed ended up being the worse part.  It was really neat to see his heart beat and watch his blood pumping through.  The tech told us about her own little guy, adopted from Russia, who has a congenital heart defect.  She even showed G a video from her phone of her son dancing and singing.  He's six years old and had G cracking up.  The appointment went as best it could.  No results were given, but she did show me a very small leak and told me if there was a great concern we would not be free to go home.  We went home.

The results were back a few days later and we were informed that Gavin only has a "trace of tricuspid," which is less than a mild case.  He's going to be ok!  He may have to do a follow up in a few years, but for now we will be thankful that our little guy’s heart is healthy. That makes my heart happy!  Since the appointment, G had an x-ray that was clear.  He was a brave boy and sat tall up against the metal, with me holding his hands above his head.  She took four pictures and G and I got to see them afterwards.  We talked about him conquering his fears by recognizing that he’s scared, but following through and doing whatever it is he has to do despite being scared.  He made us proud!
PS - I wrote this almost a month ago and the throat clearing has stopped!!! Yay!!



  1. Oh boy -- not sure what to say except -- never a dull moment (cliche' I know but....). God bless a cardiac tech who worked well with a young kid! And god bless you!

  2. Wow, what a brave kiddo. That is a lot of testing & I am so happy he cleared everything. Connor has what they call an 'innocent heart murmur' His heart is healthy but I was sure glad we knew about it before we knew about NF2 because it always comes up at surgery time. Anyway, I can only imagine your fears & I am so glad G came through it all with a healthy report! Now, something else I found out in your post is that you, like me are an adopted child. Funny huh?!?!