So after the appointment that Dr. Rao fixed on my behalf with Dr. Ratnaparkhi, we went to his clinic at 5:30 for a 6:00 pm appointment.
Mom and I went with Aadu and my Papa was to join us there directly from his office in Navi Mumbai. My aunt and her son stayed home.
Once we were at the clinic, they asked me for Aadu's particulars, then weighed him and noted his height. As we sat down, a nurse/attendant came and asked me to bring Aadu to a nearby cabin, I went in and there she gave me 4 ml. of a medicine that would make Aadu sleepy, so that we could do the 2-D echo without any disturbance. I gave him the medication, only after making sure with her of any side-effects. There were none.
We waited for almost an hour and still Aadu was not sleepy, infact he had grown restless and wanted to go out and play. It was also raining a lot that evening.
As our turn came, the nurse asked me if we wanted to wait for some more time for the medication to take effect....I said 'no' and assured her that as long as I was with Aadu while the test was being done he would not cause any disturbance.
So...we walked in to the diagnostic cabin, there was a tread-mill there and a bed and the 2-d Echo cardiogram machine stood besides it.
Then entered Dr. Ratnaparkhi, from his adjacent cabin, to me he appeared to be calm and confident (just what I wanted), and after pleasantries he asked me to sit cross-legged on the bed with Aadu on my lap. We did as told, removed Aadu's shirt...and then the doctor smeared some jelly on Aadu's chest...it was cold and Aadu made a face...I comforted him..then he was OK.
Aadu leaned over my knee to watch the proceedings on the monitor...to his little innocent mind it was a computer which showed some pictures !!
The test began...it is just like our routine sonographies that we do during pregnancies...I mean the jelly smearing and the apparatus that they move across our tummy...what is it called....hmmm..well never mind..lets call it a probe.
So basically the doctor smeared jelly on Aadu's chest and moved the probe over it and then the images appeared on his screen....I could make out the outline of his heart, and then the four chambers etc...
Then he switched the view so that we could see red and blue...red for the pure blood and blue for the impure blood being sent to the heart.
During this viewing I noticed that in the upper chamber of the heart the blue and the red were mixing...I knew that was not how it should be...right...we learnt in our school biology that the pure and impure blood stays in separate chambers of the heart...and here in front of me I could see that they were mixing...so I knew something was not correct...what exactly was wrong I did not know...and of course the doctor was going to tell me.
Dr. Ratnaparkhi or his assistant did not say anything at that point and he just asked us to follow him to his cabin.
We followed...and sat down ...his face same...calm and confident...I did not know what to expect.
Then came the moment of his talking....he said there was definitely a problem with Aadu's heart. The wall (septal) separating the upper chambers (atrium) of his heart was not fully formed and thus there was a 14-15 mm hole. This was causing the pure blood from the left to mix with the impure blood in the right side chamber...thus putting a lot of strain on the heart, and the result was weak lungs which had to re-purify some already pure blood which was mixing with the impure blood due to the hole. The technical diagnosis was: Large Atrial Septal Defect. 14-15mm in size. Shunt = left to right.
'Shunt' refers to the movement/flow of the blood in the upper to chambers due to this defect.
By the time this bit of news fell on my ears I crumbled and tears that were confined were let out...I just could not help it...normally I do not cry in front of strangers, but this time I just could not care ...
Thankfully my mother was much more stable than me and discussed the options with the doctor. He said considering that Aadu is not even 3 years we could wait for him to turn 4 and then think of surgery. But surgery was the only option and that the chances of the septal defect rectifying itself naturally was very small.
We left the doctors office with heavy hearts and me crying but trying to look strong coz I was carrying Aadu. Once we stepped out of the doctor's clinic, I stood and cried with Aadu in my arms.....my baby then lifted my face with is hands and said 'mumma....it's OK....me aahey na....me strong boy ahe na...' (which translates to...mumma it's OK...I am there with you...I am a strong boy'....
In that moment, I said to Aadu 'tu theek kar...karshaal na?' (you make it alright....you will won't you?) and he said 'yes mumma....me theek karto na...' (yes mumma I will make it alright)
As we were going down the stairs, my Papa walked up with an umbrella in hand (it had been raining very heavily and he thought we should not get wet while reaching the car). As soon as I saw Papa I cried again, fell in his arms and told him what had happened....he said 'don't worry beta...everything will be alright..'
We rushed in the rain to the car, and headed home in silence.....when we reached home...my brother was home and I told him and Papa everything that the doctor had said and we went through the reports together...
We all sat together and said we will do everything to ensure that Aadu gets the best treatment.
We told each other that we still had to go to Dr. Dalvi's clinic on the 15th so maybe he has a different diagnosis or treatment etc....we were hoping against hope so that our little angel would not have to face surgery...but God had other plans for us all.