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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The REAL Memorial Day Weekend Box Office Hit: Daniel and the Bubbles!

Here is a little snippet of my return to Shalva last week. I was so overwhelmed with the bubbles I didn't know what to do with myself. 

I love bubbles! Bubbles are my favorite!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friends and Five Shekels

Nice to meet you, Lori

In a continuation of my recounting of our busy week, I must mention that I met a new friend, who is an old friend of mommy and abba. Abba tells me there are two sides to every story. Mommy who is a journalist says there are hundreds. But if you want to hear Lori's side of meeting me, here is her account.

Later, we dined al fresco with our friends, Lori, Rob and Alisha, at The Colony, a great restaurant because there is always mashed potatoes on someone's plate, a side dish ordered specifically for me. After dining, the adults sat enjoying conversation and the outdoors while I had a private moment which soon began to permeate the lovely outdoor air in a foul manner.

Oh where to change a diaper in an Israeli restaurant? Most public places here are neither baby nor handicapped accessible and few have a changing table in the bathroom. My stroller is also not a flat enough location for what mommy calls a "regime change" and promises only more mess. The situation was looking grim. Mommy kept eyeing the table, wondering if that would be acceptable and knowing it would be the most convenient. 

Finally, as if reading her thoughts, Alisha piped in, "I'll give you 5 shekels if you change him on the table."

Well, that was all they needed. Immediately they cleared empty plates, glasses and silverware and whipped out a cushioned mat for me. I was laid on the table like the third course of the evening and I instantly started dancing for joy, rolling side to side and instilling fear of imminent destruction. 

Changing a diaper on a restaurant table would probably never have even been a thought in most countries. But this is Israel, after all, and many many things beyond the norm are acceptable. Including a diaper change on a restaurant table. In fact, an Israeli woman who walked by while the deed was being performed, actually laughed and smiled at me. The change was successful.

Step 1: Clear plates and lay baby on the table

Step 2: Have third party hold baby's arms down
while two other adults attempt fast diaper change

Step 3: Snap up onesie and pretend this never happened

Later, while sitting with Lori and admiring her nice dangly necklace. So fascinated was I with the jewelry that I couldn't contain myself and my arms jerked wildly in sheer joy. And then, like magic, there it was in my hand - the whole necklace. Another new lesson learned in the life of a baby: If you want something badly enough, just pull hard.

And yes, Alisha did pay up.

There goes that nice necklace of Lori's!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Call Child Services!

In the end, it was a sudden and debilitating heat wave that brought me down. Not that I am sleeping perfectly, but I have eliminated my 3 a.m. wake up call, meaning I only wake up twice, I sleep in wider swaths and I have graciously allowed my parents to sleep past 7 a.m. My parents thank you for all your prayers.

All of a sudden we are in the throes of summer over here. A searing and unrelenting heat settled upon us the past few days. I am sporting my Jersey shore undershirt today due to said weather. There is a lot to catch up on this week. I had a few new life lessons since Sunday. Not hard to do when one is only 9 months old and doesn't yet have much life experience. I will share some of these exciting times in the following few posts, beginning with:

The Doctor's Office
What I failed to mention about Sunday was a big faux pas on my part. At the doctor's office I created a scene. Yes, that is what baby's do. We create scenes in the most inappropriate locations. So in accordance with the Secret Code of Babies, I waited till mommy had a thermometer in her mouth, then I popped my eyes open from an alleged angelic sleep and I screamed. I wailed. I protested at the top of my voluminous lungs with my new heart to back me up. 

Mommy quickly scooped me up in an effort to shush me. She rocked, jostled, bounced, all to no avail. Finally she loaded the secret weapon. But even the latte did not silence me. I continued to scream. 

The staid South African doctor sort of pretended this wasn't happening. But picture the scene: Mommy has a very hoarse voice. She is sleep deprived, her eyes are bloodshot, her demeanor simply ragged and weary, and now she is balancing a very fragile baby who is screaming. Mommy, in an effort to defend herself to the doctor, explained that I just had an operation and that I still hadn't returned fully to myself, thus unknowingly incriminating herself for being stressed and perhaps psychologically imbalanced.

At that point, to emphasize the point, I took an intake of oxygen for about five silent and palpable seconds. We all knew what was coming. Then WHOOSH! I let it all out in an even greater wail than before as mommy quickly gathered her things and tried to push the stroller, unsuccessfully with one hand, me in the other, her nursing cape still strapped around her neck, a pathetic symbol of Superwoman. The doctor, still avoiding eye contact with mommy, followed her to the door.

"Perhaps you need to get some help taking care of the baby," he said, half a question, half a suggestion.

Gasp! Shock! Utter mortification!

"He's normally not like this," mommy tried bleakly, stumbling over her words, imagining how this appeared to the doctor - a worn out mother on the verge of a breakdown with a baby in the midst of a meltdown. 

"Hm. Yea," he said, unconvinced.

And so mommy and I finished off the latte in the waiting room and I instantly returned to the happy baby that I am. Then we proceeded to wait there for the doctor to emerge again so mommy could show him that she had things under control. He never came back out and mommy took me home, defeated.

Later my parents explained some facts of modern life to me. Making them look bad in front of the wrong people could have serious implications. Abba said that when things like that happen, sometimes the concerned doctor would call child services so they come and inspect us and decide if I can stay at home, if my parents are "fit." Gulp! I didn't realize! So I'll try to be more discerning the next time I throw an inevitable tantrum. 

Apparently supermarkets are safer.

The portrait of innocence

Beware of baby

Monday, May 23, 2011


Sharing lap space with Lucie again

With my brand new heart, I seem only to need a mere seven to 10 hours of sleep per 24-hour cycle. I just may be on a quest to completely eradicate sleep from my life altogether, thereby proving its futility and wastefulness. Amazing, right?

Well, not everyone is as thrilled as I am. While surging ahead victorious on the battlefield of sleep, I turned around to see that many have not kept pace with me. The sleep war has claimed mommy! Today, after my own therapy appointment, we trudged to mommy's doctor (turning the tables for once) to see if she could get treated for the debilitating sinus infection that is keeping her down. Unfortunately it is a virus, treatable by nothing except rest. Oops, that is where I come in. If, perchance, I slept more, then mommy could rest and regain her strength. She just doesn't have the stamina for the six interrupted hours of sleep. Poor mommy.

But enough about her. I'm sure many were wondering how I fared as I returned to the world of spa day and my trips to the gym. On Sunday I returned to Shalva, where my entrance was heralded by all the happy and loving staff members. It was a warm and endearing reunion. As they saw me, all spiffy in my Polo one-piece, many of the women remarked, "You left a baby, but you returned a man!" (Pictures tomorrow)

Yes indeed. 

My sessions were not as welcoming, however. Working on a scattered six hours of sleep isn't easy! As I began to deteriorate into tears of resistance against certain exercises, mommy would start singing "Happy Days." That was calming, since GongGong sings that to me and it reminded me truly of happy days. As long as mommy sang I could work! It was like magic. I continued on and successfully made it through physio. 

Then on to the "White Room" where lights and soothing sounds awaken my senses. I reacquainted myself with the bubbles. I absolutely adore the lighted bubbles and this time I had trouble tearing myself away. Work is snuck into this session as well and we made it to the end of the session with just a few hiccups. (Video tomorrow) (My blogging assistants are really lagging behind these days)

Lastly, we have speech, which is comparable to Coffee Talk. Although mommy was drinking tea that day. I lasted through about half the session before the sleep enemies launched a sneak attack on me! Not even "Happy Days" could revive me. Complete meltdown, quick latte and a hard-core nap such that I hadn't taken in days.

When that was over, my sleep-deprived mommy realized she had forgotten some very crucial items amid her congested stupor during the morning. While she remembered my food, her food, a spoon, a bib, a change of clothes for me, diapers, toys, her keys, phone and her wallet, she forgot my bathing suit! There would be no pool on my first day back. Oh well.

Once abba came home, mommy mysteriously disappeared into the bedroom - not to be seen again until my midnight wake-up call. She seemingly was collaborating with my sleep opposition. I'll have to look into that. 

Today, I was reunited with Ayala, my other personal trainer. She was happy to see me, and as long as mommy with her desperately hoarse voice, eked out the lyrics of "Happy Days," I was happy to see her as well. I started to add some new moves to my repertoire and am ready to surge ahead. But again, it is hard to work when I'm tired, so we cut the session a couple of minutes short for my cranky sake. However, Ayala gave me good news: There had been no regression during my convalescence. 

So I continue to move forward into the normal and undramatic. Oh I'm just kidding, there is always drama in the life of a baby. How can there not be? Everything is still new and exciting!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Only Have Eyes for You

Staring right past the toys into your eyes
Well, now that all sorts of marathons, surgeries and their inherent drama are behind us it seems like we are ready to progress with "real life" yet again. I can go back to perfecting the art of being a baby and mommy can continue not running unless she's doing laps around me.

As part of the effort to return to normalcy I will yet again attend my physical, speech, sensory and pool therapy sessions beginning tomorrow, just three weeks after my operation. I also have a physio session booked on Monday. A busy week for a busy baby. No rest for the weary! Oh, I'm not weary, I'm doing super and have recovered with aplomb. I was referring to mommy and abba who are still struggling to keep up with my post-hospital schedule, which entails awaking several times a night to make sure I'm not still in the hospital. Only a latte will convince me otherwise. 

One of the issues we previously encountered in my physio and other sessions has been my complete obsession with human beings. I have never been a baby attracted to toys. There are very few toys that can distract me from direct eye contact with a person. And this can be a source of frustration to a therapist who is trying to dazzle me with a shiny, noisy object as she tries to get me to do something beneficial at the same time. But, honestly, I'd much rather be staring at you than at some inanimate object. 

A face is much more fun than a dangling object

Especially a pretty face. I've been accused of being a flirt!
I always seek out a familiar face while I am on the work mat. It sort of throws off my symmetry and the intended result of what the therapist wants. One of my therapists has decided to work with me and this foible of mine. She sets me in front of a mirror where I have plenty of people to stare at, such as myself, her and even mommy in the background as she looks on. 

Ayala caught on - she placed me in a position
where I could look at her AND work simultaneously

Sometimes I can be distracted and actually look at the toy

So tomorrow it remains to be seen if I will get any work done or just bask in the "welcome backs" of all my friends at Shalva. I will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plagued by "Hospital Lag"

It was this bad at one point: As soon as they acknowledged consciousness one morning, abba and mommy stumbled into the kitchen to, first, consult the coffee pot, and then Dr. Google. "Baby screaming inconsolably at night following surgery." The search went something like that, perhaps less coherent.

It turns out, I am not alone in my crusade against nighttime sleeping. 

As you all know I am an accomplished warrior in fighting naps, but I had a peace treaty with the night. Until the hospital. Apparently what happens to babies and young children who have been hospitalized is that they return home with some sort of mysterious trauma and they cannot sleep at night. Maybe even some night terrors thrown into the mix. It seemed that way anyway as I wailed inconsolably. One night, we almost went back to the hospital.

Before we left the hospital, the doctors assured mommy and abba that I wasn’t in any pain. Of course, the doctors did not ask me, they just purported that I was fine. Meanwhile, I had a still-healing 5-inch scar, which spans most of my small chest, bruises from the IV lines and wires threaded into my heart, and I was and still am constipated, badly, which is an inevitable result of surgery, so they say. But regardless of the medical inconsideration to my plight, pain really wasn't the source of my restless night.

"Hospital lag" is the reason. After spending all my time under fluorescent lighting, I don't know night from day. I am accustomed to being jarred from my sleep by a probing nurse who absolutely must take my temperature while I am sleeping. I still hear in my mind the cacophony of all the other babies crying in the ward. All these little things have added up to one very large loss of sleep in the last several nights.

Meanwhile, so much has transpired in my world. Let me take you back to Sunday, a very sad day.

Mimi & GongGong
My grandparents who were here spoiling me with love, coffee slushies and TV have departed. That was a very sad moment. Although the reality didn't hit me until the next morning when they didn't show up to rescue me from my crabby parents. (I don't understand why I am surviving on 6 to 7 hours of sleep a day but my parents cannot.)

Mimi & GongGong smothering me with bye-bye kisses

I miss them already. Breakfast with Mimi. TV time with GongGong. We had many good times until they had to crawl back into the computer and appear only at varying intervals during the day.

Don't let my face fool you - I loved my last Tal Bagels meal with M&G

Feed me too!

Thanks :)

Proof that GG didn't ONLY watch TV with me

Is that Mimi watching TV with me?

Clean Bill of Health
On Monday we visited the surgeon for one last time. I will miss Dr. Erez but I hope not to meet him again under the same circumstances. He checked me out and declared that I am fit and ready to return to my full regimen of activities, especially spa day! I will do so next week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Catching Up

Taking a nap on my way out of the hospital

It's been awhile since my last blog. I'd chalk it up to my ongoing recovery, but as you know I have convalesced like a superstar and all is quickly becoming a distant memory! It is mommy who is still recuperating and thus went on strike from posting my musings for a few days as she stumbled around the apartment like a zombie. I've heard her wonder things like, "Why does he need only six hours a sleep (a day!!!) while I need at least six in a row?"

I'm suffering from an ICU-induced form of jet lag where my nights and days are confused. As a valiant warrior in the realm of sleep, I have managed to stay alert most of the day and most of the night. But now, a couple of days back into reality, I am slowly adapting to natural lighting once again.

Also, due to my tune-up and my new super-duper functioning heart, my appetite now has the makings of a good Italian mama's boy as I consume copious amounts of baby food and then top it off with whatever is on my parents' plates that I find edible. If my parents thought I was a hungry boy before, they are now worried about keeping up with me. It is a whole new world when mommy has to remember to bring additional food with us as we head out for the day.

And, most importantly in my recovery, I am spending lots of quality time with Mimi and GongGong. Mimi comes running over to our apartment first thing in the morning to get in some time with me before the "Daniel hog" arrives. Because once GongGong shows up, I am "gone gone." Mommy is getting a little concerned over all the holding of me that is happening. She mentioned a word - "spoiled." We'll see what that means next week after the grandparents have returned to New York!

The "Daniel Hog," the "Lap Hog" and me!

Meanwhile, I'm still working to remove all the tape residue from every square inch of my body. While I was in the hospital, all the wires were strategically held in place by tape in order to challenge my resistance against pulling them out. Apparently they needed a lot of tape. Mimi suggested using "goo gone" while GongGong thought gasoline would be more effective. I think they were joking. Thus far, neither has been implemented and we are waiting on the soap and water to take effect.

All the grandparents  in the hospital garden
waiting for me to awake from my nap

I fall asleep in random places, like on
Dee's shoulder totally out of the blue!

I have reacquainted myself with my stroller and have
even traveled to Mordor already

And I am reacquainting myself with my toys

Our "welcome home" shot on Sunday

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

In my hospital bed, surrounded by my fans from
around the world, on TWO Skype calls!
Happy Mother's Day, mommy! For your gift for your very first Mother's Day, how about we go home from the hospital today?? Okay, great - you deserve it.

And with flying colors on my ultrasound, xray and EKG, I was released from the hospital and home we went. I immediately reacquainted myself with my familiar crib and all my long-lost toys. It is good to be home! Here is a video of my welcome home to myself in my luxury crib after one week of plastic hospital beds:

Compare that to my cage-like accommodations at the hospital, but at least the bed was large enough that I could do multiple Skype calls. At least at that point there were more computer wires than any attached to my body!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reunited and it Feels so Good

Now we know I'm feeling much, much better: I found my thumb again! This is an exciting milestone in my recovery.

And another sure sign that I'm recovering nicely: All of the sedation is out my little system and I'm back to my sleepless, party animal ways. I am making up for being down under two and a half days, anesthetized and sedated. So far, I've only slept one hour in the last 14. Last night I really returned to myself, waking up every few hours and awaking the other babies in the ward with my whimpers. Actually, that was out of revenge. Earlier in the night, many of them wailed and prevented mommy from sleeping (she needs way more hours than I do) so I thought I'd get them back at 2 a.m. and then again from 4:30 a.m. until 6 a.m. 

I sure know how to ruin a good night's sleep, so don't mess with me. Hopefully those babies learned their lessons and will sleep better tonight.

Also my appetite has returned with full force. I have upped my latte intake from grande to vente to trente! And I'm supplementing with jarred baby food and, to be really gastronomically adventurous, hospital food! 

I took the opportunity to break out my first smile for mommy at 4:30 a.m. I thought I'd sugarcoat the situation since she didn't look too happy about the earliness of the hour. 

Abba helped to transfer me out of ICU yesterday

I was transferred into that cage in the background. Help!

I still had a few remaining tubes attached to me

This was for O2. I allowed it to stay for a little while.

After a nice nap I yanked it out

Dee came to visit me! Ben and Elan too, but Elan was too busy
flirting with Zia Em on Skype to talk to me.

Another milestone is when I reached out for Abba's hand. Awww...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moving Day

While my voice is working on regaining full capacity, at least my writing is still prolific. Today it won't be as voluminous as usual, however, since we are all sleepy. But I just wanted to report that today, at about 11:15 a.m. I was transferred to the regular ward at the hospital. Bye, ICU! I had fun while I was there, but it was time to move on.

Now my parents have to be parents again. Someone has to be by my side 24/7 to watch me, feed me, change my diaper and entertain me. The nurses' contact with me is very minimal. 

And I am returning more and more to myself as each moment passes. I still fiercely battle sleep, but once I get there I sleep for long swaths of time. I haven't really smiled yet, although Mimi claims I smiled at her. Mommy insists she gets the first smile and since don't want to get in the middle of this so I won't say whether that was a true smile or not. I have expressed some other emotions, like anger when not fed on time, and a pout or two. Plus I blew raspberries at Dee, who with Elan and Ben visited me today.

I also made a few Skype appearances today - my first since Saturday. Zia Emilia, Aunt Beanie, Frannie May and Uncle and Aunt M&M got to see me in my new room already. 

I'm still wearing a small oxygen tube but it actually is nowhere near my nose since I pulled it away and according to the obnoxious beeping monitor, I'm fine. We haven't had that confirmed by a doctor yet, but it seems I am well on my way to recovery!

Photos and more info tomorrow. Lila tov!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Making up for Lost Time and Lattes!

Day 4 = Fewer wires

A big step forward today. I am groggy, my voice is hoarse, I've undergone surgical trauma and have seen wires and tubes pulled out of various parts of my body. But one thing remains the same: I still refuse to take a bottle. 

The doctors and nurses discovered this last night, when my parents were sleeping. The experts finally deduced that my incessant screaming was translated thus: I AM HUNGRY! And so they scrambled to get me some of mommy's milk from the refrigerator and warmed it in a bottle. Silly them. Medical degrees aside, they didn't learn of my particular habits in med school. I refused the bottle and continued to cry. Finally someone resorted to using an eye dropper and fed me like a kitten. That I could handle.

All of this has transpired because the doctors decided against giving me a zondaZonda - now that's fun to say! I just love this word, zonda. It is Hebrew for feeding tube, but it sounds like a Latin dance. The zonda was inserted through my nose into my stomach. Because of my delicateness and all the bleeding from my nose and mouth, they opted to not reinsert the zonda (how many times can I use this word?) after extubation. So now I am fed manually. 

Mommy rushed to my side this morning to get the update and then the moment I awoke she was the one to feed me. She broke out the eye dropper and dipped into the milk. I was okay with that for awhile, but I couldn't comprehend why mommy of all people would be feeding me her milk in an alternative format. 

Unacceptable. I started to hint to mommy in various ways that I was ready to resume taking my lattes again. She didn't get the hint, so I cried a little, then a lot. Finally, Sherlock Mommy got the hint. And so I've resumed nursing, which is a fantastic sign of my recovery and prowess.

Now I am more often awake than not. I hear the incessant bells and whistles in the ICU. The lights bother my sleeping. All these foreign objects protruding from my body are becoming bothersome. And I am crying a lot more and that is helping to open up my lungs. My lungs are still full of fluid and other objects that appear cloudy in the xray. So that needs to come out so I can breathe better on my own. For now I am still in the ICU despite getting my hopes up of moving to the regular department today. I must stay on a little bit of O2 to keep my blood saturation in the correct range. Maybe tomorrow?

In some ways we will miss the action and tension of the ICU. One girl, a 3-year-old, has been here for two whole months. She woke up from a coma for a few moments after I arrived. Yesterday a 10-day-old girl moved in after an 8-hour heart surgery by my same surgeon! It was touch and go through the night, but she is stable today, thank God.

And thank you all for all your prayers, emails and comments. I wish I could respond to each one personally, but know that I am feeling the love over here in my little hospital bed!

See GongGong keeping bedside vigil?
And don't worry, that is iodine, not blood on the gauze.

My trademark swirl has also survived open heart surgery.
See? Everything is returning to normal!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

And on the Third Day...

...There were a lot fewer tubes. 

And, on the third day, I awoke for real. And when I finally really, really woke up, I decided to announce my presence by crying. I geared up for the big one. I did the wind up, the coiling up of my entire body and screwing up of my jaw and eyes to prepare for my first major outburst in days. And ... nothing came out! That was worse than my bout with laryngitis (scroll down to the video). And this was not going to work.

And there were my parents staring back at me. But they didn't do anything to ease my suffering. Thanks, guys!

Here is how all of this transpired. And allow me to start by saying that the previous post should've been posted yesterday, but my parents have not been reliable scribes, citing things like exhaustion. So anyway, now onto day 3 where much has occurred and a lot of progress has been made. The day began with the good news that I passed the evening in peace and stability. That meant that they would remove my breathing tube today. We were all ready, the sedation was stopped and I started to stir. And then - blood bubbled up from my mouth! What was it and from whence did it come? Sedation went back on. Waiting commenced yet again. An Ears/Nose/Throat specialist came to check me out. Naturally, when he arrived, there was no bleeding. The whole process was delayed by a couple of hours. Nevertheless, the tube was extubated, as they say, a couple of hours later and my cute face revealed yet again to the world. 

Gone was the white tape covering half my face to hold in the breathing and feeding tubes. Gone were the tubes. Gone also was the strip across my forehead, and we never had any idea what that was for. Replacing this for awhile was a mask that also helped me breathe. And now, I have a small and unassuming translucent O2 tube in both nostrils. I am almost myself again. 

Some liquid is still in my lungs, which are a bit weak, thus hampering my crying. But as I quickly realized this, I coughed up some phlegm and regained a bit of my voice back. 

Later today, in order to help my lungs open up a bit, my surgeon decided to remove the tube stuck up my side that was allowing excess blood from the surgery to drain out. He also took out a few wires that were somehow woven into my heart and sticking out from my tummy. So now I am very much less weighted down by tubes and wires. 

I still smell a bit like rubber and plastic from all the tape and tubes attached to me. Mommy said if I were a woman I'd appreciate the free waxing that came from getting all this tape extracted from my body. But in the meantime, pray for my continued stability and rapid improvement!

More Daniel Updates

A lot can happen in 24 hours in an ICU. We had a few harrowing moments that were probably only harrowing to my parents, not to medical professionals. But all of those things cleared up, for example: lots of blood filtered out of me after the surgery, twice that of any other baby in the ICU(after an infusion of platelets, clotting commenced and the bleed stopped); a fever crept up slowly to 38.3 but then just as slowly slunk back down to 37.7; then random bleeding from my nose and mouth gave us a scarefrom a small cut they later found on my palette.

Much is going on around me as I sleep. I heard the doctors conspiring against me when, from a deep sedation, my hand went straight for the tubes stuck up my nose and mouth and I yanked hard. The doctors were impressed with my handiwork but upped my sedation levels to counteract my prowess to keep me still and prevent me from damaging anything, including myself. If they had read my blogs, they would’ve had the intel on me: I am a warrior who battles sleep, even medically induced sleep.

Another thing I hear all day long is mommy and GongGong blasting the doctors with questions: “How does this machine work?” “What is this number supposed to be?” “What are these wires connected to?” (I do have a lot of wires and tubes draped all over me.) Mommy had explained that she was a reporter and that GongGong was an engineer and so we were naturally curious about how things worked. Finally, after one brutal interrogation, the surgeon scolded them. “Your job is to be the mom and yours to be the grandfather.” He explained to them that medicine is an art, that 2+2 equals 5, not 4 like in engineering. 

After the surgeon left, GongGong looked around at all the equipment surrounding me, the seven IV lines dripping into me controlled by computers, the breathing machines and multi-function heart monitors, and whispered to mommy, “All of this is a result of engineering.” So take that surgeon!

Well, I take that back. The surgeon apparently is an artist. He did some artwork on my heart. When the cardiologist came to do an ultrasound yesterday to check up on the “heartwork” all the doctors and nurses gathered around. And then there was a collective gasp. “If this isn’t one of the best AV Canal repair jobs then it is THE (best),” one of the doctors said, a take off on an Israeli expression about a girl who was one of the prettiest if not “the.” 

I would like to add that even under sedation, I was able to help the doctor do the ultrasound. My hand involuntarily reached for the probe and I guided the doctor along. Of course I’m experienced in this, having assisted in previous ultrasounds. But now I can do it with my eyes closed!

So it appears we are out of the woods now and on the right path to recovery. Pretty soon now my eyes will open and I will be posing for the paparazzi yet again. I bet you can’t wait! For now, here are some photos from my pre-op photo shoot:

Mommy is trying to evade my gaze as I had to fast
and, well, mommy reminds me of food!

Me throwing a pout mommy's way. That's what she gets for not feeding me.

Halfway into my hospital garb.

Now in the OR waiting room. 

See you later, Abba.

Despite the threat of my screams for lattes, mommy bravely
escorted me into the OR where she held my hand until I fell asleep.

My last pre-scar photo. We would reunite 6 hours later.