Monday, July 13, 2009

The name of the game is............


The blame game is something we've been playing since the day we found out Everett was sick, I'm still playing it when no one's looking.

When we first found out Everett had a heart defect the game commenced, first up to take the blame, ultrasound techs who missed his defect over and over and over. What's that? Not their fault you say? Well then the Dr's who didn't stop my premature labor are surely to blame! If he wasn't premature then he would have fared better in surgery and would still be with us today! Not necessarily you say? Well then the surgeons at Sick Kids who came up with such an aggressive surgery! It was too much! They are to blame, right? No? They couldn't have predicted? Of course not, they were just trying to help! Then who? Who do we blame? God? Been there, done that, he's willing to admit we're suffering, he's willing to comfort and console, but it wasn't his fault. Someone has to take the blame!

Lately, I think it has to be me. Did I cause his defect? Maybe, most likely not. Did I cause his premature delivery? I don't think so. Did I do what I thought was best in getting him treated and trying to make him well, I absolutely did! But, did I choose the right treatments? I don't know. I've been struggling with this since he died. I think I chose wrong! Given the two choices for surgery, I chose what I thought would be immediately gratifying, immediately curing!

The Dr's gave us two choices, the first was a mild surgery designed to keep his ductus arteriosis open, to buy him time to grow and stabilize, he'd need to stay at Sick Kids and would face future surgeries when he was older. The second was a more aggressive surgery, to go in and fix as much of his defects as they could. They'd patch holes and make valves where there weren't any, and then get him on the road to recovery! He'd face future surgeries as he aged, but that would be much later down the line. The second choice seemed to be the choice the staff was pushing for, they thought it was best, they thought they could do it. Who was I to argue? And if I'm being honest, it never crossed my mind to argue. But now, with the luxury of hindsight, I can see we were wrong.

We should have chosen the first option, the mild surgery to keep his ductus open, to buy him time to grow and get stronger. We should have let him rest and heal, we should have been patient and accepted the longer road ahead of us. If we had have given him the time to get bigger and stonger, then he would have been better able to withstand the stress of the bigger surgery. His lungs wouldn't have given out, maybe he woudln't have bled so badly. He wouldn't have needed a respriator, and more so, he wouldn't have needed the ECMO. If he never needed the ECMO he would never have gotten the brain bleed, and he wouldn't have died. We chose wrong.

The blame game is torture for already tormented hearts. The completely logical part of me already knows there's no sense in laying blame based on hindsight. We can't possibly be angry at ourselves for not knowing what we had no way of knowing. Sensible, logical me tells bereft and distraught me not to blame myself, I know I did the best I could given what I knew and what I was being told. But its hard not to wonder "what if".

At least I knew I never had to blame genetics, thats a big consolation. Given that Everett and Landon were 100% identical, but Landon has a perfectly healthy heart, I know that Everett's defect was not inherited. I can have another baby one day without entering my pregnancy panic stricken that we're up against the odds genetically. Phew! But, I don't know that I'll ever be truly at ease again during any future pregnancies. I think at my first ultrasound when the tech scans over the heart beat and reassuringly tells me "See, a nice four chamber view" I may laugh out loud in a spiteful tone and hiss "So what! That means absolutely nothing to me!". I think I'll be more shrewed, less innocent, and more demanding. I'll push for things, like fetal echocardiograms (and cardiologists at Sick Kids who recommended this will back me up!), I won't feel totally at ease until every vein, artery, ventricle, atria and valve has been interrogated and come back clean. I'll do everything I can possibly do to never have to start up another round of the blame game, too bad I don't think I'll ever quit playing the round I started when we lost Everett.


1 comment:

  1. It absolutely breaks my heart to read this post. I know the "what ifs" are impossible to avoid, I find myself questioning things as well. But to think that you may be at fault because of your decisions, is crazy.
    You guys were faced with extremely stressful situations and had to make your decisions without time to research or even really fully consider them. You most certainly did everything you could and made the best decisions you could for your little boy. The doctors made their recommendations, and you followed - just as any parent in your situation would have. I can understand how you will always wonder what the outcome might have been had things played out differently, but you must always know that you did all that you could. <3 <3 <3