Though the mood in the room was palpably grim, I was heartened by the fact that, first and foremost, Ari was still apparently alive, and also that her condition had been identified. We immediately asked what the treatment options were. Dr. Garcia explained they needed to get oxygen into her blood immediately. They would try a catheterization procedure (meaning that they utilize a vein in the groin that feeds directly into the heart and thus obviating the need for open-heart surgery), called a Rashkind.
Once Ari stabilized, they would perform an open-heart surgery known as an “arterial switch”.
We asked when the Rashkind would be performed, and Dr. Garcia looked up from his drawings, surprised. “We started a few minutes ago,” he explained. “There wasn’t enough time to tell you.” His somber expression conveyed to me that his hopes that it would be successful and that Ari would make it were not high.
The doctors then left the room, giving Sergio and me time to absorb everything we had learned. My husband, an eternal optimist, maintained that Ari would pull through. I, however, am a realist, and I told him that we needed to be prepared for Dr. Garcia to come back into the room and tell us that our daughter had died. That was the first time Sergio cried.
Ch. 1: The First 6 Weeks
Ch. 2: To the ER
Ch. 3: The Transfer
Ch. 4: The Diagnosis
Ch. 5: The Rashkind Procedure (this page)
Ch. 6: 8 Weeks in PICU
Ch. 7: Ari’s Arterial Switch
Ch. 8: The End . . . and the Beginning