It’s been a few days since I last wrote…Bee decided to spend St. Patrick’s Day in her own way…watching the doctors run to her room and having the ventilator re-inserted and a chest tube added to drain the fluid in her lungs. This wasn’t what the rest of us had in mind…perhaps she was getting me back because I didn’t have a green bow for her hair!
Bee remained on the ventilator for the next 3 days and it was removed yesterday at noon. She enjoyed the afternoon by getting out of her crib and being held and played with. Little by little, IV’s are being removed…although still enough wires to get tangled in and try to pull out! Yesterday she was back to a popsicle and today she’s advanced to scrambled eggs and jello.
They continue to do chest xrays and actually culturing her now to see if she has some sort of infection. Hopefully, it’s simply a cold. On my way down to the gift shop to get her a balloon…she loved playing with the one for her birthday! Astrid has made a beautiful get well card and it is hanging in her room. Hopefully, we will continue on the up swing!
Baby Bee is breathing on her own. The team removed her from the ventilator about an hour ago. Actually nice to see her fiestiness reappear, and she was back to kicking and shaking a rattle. Her voice is still quite raspy, and her distinctive voice (a.k.a. high-pitched shriek) hasn’t shown itself, but it will come. Right now, she is resting comfortably and the docs are happy with her continued progress. She’s sporting one of her signature bows and has a doll by her side. Thanks to all the wonderful staff at Tufts and to friends and family for all your support.
Am thrilled to report that Berenice’s surgery was successful and she’s moved to the P.I.C.U.! Dr. Warner was able to remove/patch her pulmonary valve and that seemed to stop the tricuspid valve from leaking. Her enlarged heart has already shown signs that it is decreasing in size, and it will continue to get smaller. They plan to keep her heavily sedated, and she will remain on a ventilator over night while her lungs become accustomed to the increased blood flow. There is much rejoicing being done both here and in Honduras! Thanks to each and every one of you for all your love and support…it is so very appreciated.
Last Wednesday (March 14th) baby Berenice spent 7 hours in the cath lab. Unfortunately, the doctors were unable to complete the catheterization. Yesterday, Berenice was re-admitted to the hospital and this morning she is undergoing open heart surgery to repair her pulmonary and tricuspid valves. It has been nearly two hours since she entered the OR, and we have many more hours to wait. Thankfully, Berenice’s aunt Digna and her cousin Gabriel have arrived from Pennsylvania and are waiting with me. We just spoke with Berenice’s mother, who is back home in La Lima waiting for news. We are comforted knowing there are people from many faiths and cultures, praying here and in Honduras…Baby B is surrounded by much love!
It’s been six months since we first heard about Berenice Elizabeth and her need for cardiac surgery. I have worked with Lori Cordova, RN on other medical cases, and she wrote asking for help for this infant she had met during one of her cardiac brigades in San Pedro Sula. A week from today, Lori will arrive with nine month old Berenice. We are anxiously awaiting their arrival and finally meeting each other in person.
We are thankful to Lori who will be flying from her home in Virginia to Honduras on Thursday and helping Berenice’s family through the tearful goodbye; reassuring them that she will be well cared for and return in two months, with a repaired heart. It’s impossible to comprehend what her parents will be going through emotionally, and we’re grateful for their faith in us…strangers, living in another country. Once again, we realize how fortunate we are to be living in Boston, a medical mecca, and the generosity we receive from Ken Warner, MD and the folks at Tufts Medical Center, as well as the financial support from the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation. Without their help, this wouldn’t be possible.
It certainly does “take a village to raise a child”, and in this situation, to save a child’s life. Lori Cordova, RN and coordinator of the Friends of Barnabas Foundation’s cardiac medial brigades in Honduras, met Berenice Elizabeth last September. At that time, the cardiologists realized she had pulmonary stenosis and would need open heart surgery. Although they were able to operate on many other children, it was determined she would need to travel to the states for this operation.
Lori was introduced to me by Peggy Kipps, executive director of the Ruth Paz Foundation in San Pedro Sula. Peggy and I have known each other for several years and have worked together with many patients in Honduras, and also many who have traveled to Boston for medical treatment.
Esperanza has brought two other cardiac patients to Boston for treatment, so once again I turned to our trusted friends at Tufts Medical Center and The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation. Working with Deb Bunk,P.A. and Ken Warner, MD at Tufts, they reviewed Berenice’s medical reports and determined this was a child they could help. Dr. Warner has generously offered to donate his services free of charge.
The application for RTMAF was completed, which includes information regarding the patient and a cost estimate from Tufts. Terri Carlson informed us that Vernice’s case has been accepted! We are now in the process of obtaining Berenice’s medical visa which requires letters from Tufts, RTMAF, Tom and Emily Collins (temporary legal guardians/host family), as well as a letter from a Honduran doctor stating the operation couldn’t be done within country, a letter from the Ruth Paz Foundation (well known with the U.S. Embassy), legal authorization from Berenice’s parents allowing Lori Cordova to transport the baby and for the Collins’ to have (temorary) custody. The family will also need a notorized letter giving the Collins’ the ability to authorize medical treatment.
We are anxiously awaiting 8 month old Berenice’s arrival at the end of February. Our gratitude to each and everyone who is offering this child the gift of life.