With the day-to-day dealings of Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, and a Nonverbal Learning Disorder I often forget that Matthew deals with another challenge, as well.
When Matt was 5 years old he spent five days in hospital with pneumonia. During his stay, the pediatrician that was on duty that weekend came in to check on him and upon sounding his chest asked us how long he had a heart murmur. To say we were shocked was a bit of an understatement. We weren’t aware that he had one. Once we had a chance to talk with our family Dr we were assured that it was nothing to worry about; that it was more of a galloping rhythm and that he was continuously watching it.
A few years later (September of 2003), during a routine physical, our Dr. sounded Matthew as usual, but this time he heard something “different”. A few weeks later we had a check-in with our pediatrician so we mentioned this to him. After he sounded Matthew for what seemed to be hours instead of minutes he determined that indeed our family doctor did hear something different. Within two hours Matthew had an EKG and an echo cardiogram done. The echo was being read, in real time, by the children’s hospital cardiac unit 5 hours away. It was determined that we were dealing with a little bit more than a murmur or galloping rhythm. Matthew was diagnosed as having a bicuspid aortic valve. Instead of having 3 leaflets (flaps) his aortic valve had 2.
At the end of the day, normally this isn’t a big deal. Matthew didn’t complain of being tired after limited activity, or have any other symptoms that could be associated with this. For the following few years he had to take antibiotics prior to having any dental work done but that was more as a precaution against infection than anything. He would be monitored annually by the cardiac clinic of the children’s hospital and unless there were any complications, all was well with the world.
The last time he had a checkup he received a good report and was given the “all clear” from annual visits. They would see us in two years. Now is the two year mark.
We’ll go tomorrow while he has an EKG done followed by the echo and appointment next week. All routine but still a little rattling none-the-less when you kind of put it all on the back burner of your mind.
Hopefully, all will continue as is. Many times the valve will have to replaced when the person is upwards of 40 years old but everyone is different so until we’re given cause for concern we just keep trudging along.
It’s funny though how something like that can slip your mind on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that it can and that it’s not anything that has to take top priority, health wise. I guess I just get a little jolt every time we get close to an appointment and the echo cardiogram is done. I get a little anxious, especially now as Matthew is 16, has been growing like a weed and seems to be on the go so much more.
Here’s hoping after the appointment next week all will still be in order and I won’t have to think about it for another two years.
Until next time…