Friday, August 14, 2009

13th August 2008 @ Narayana Hrudayalaya

In the morning, we stayed at the guest house, tried to relax.
It was afternoon when we went to Narayana, we already had a room booked for Aadi. After we went to our room, the sister on duty came and took Aadi's details, and we weighed him. Next we were told about the tests that needed to be done.
We did the 2-D Echo cardiogram again, this time with the surgeons team there to analyse and decide what treatment was best. A lady doctor from amongst them explained it all to me and told me how 'Device-closure' was not a good option for him, and that 'Surgical closure' via an 'Open Heart Surgery' was best option.
After this test we went back to our room.
We were sharing our room with another family. They were from the Baluch province of Pakistan. After exchanging pleasantries with them, we found that they were there to treat their 9 year old son, who had had a previous heart surgery and this second one was the major one. Where 3 corrections were going to be made to his heart.
All through the floor where we were living, I saw families from Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Iran etc.
Even from within India, people were from far flung places like Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kashmir etc.

We were told that Aadi's surgery would be in the first session of the morning meaning the early morning time, and that we will have to be prepared by 6 AM.
During the evening a Doctor came and explained the 'Consent Form' to me, and I signed it after going through it. Another Doctor came and we went through Aadi's health records once more, and he asked me for all minute details of his previous illnesses.

At night I was given a brown-yellow liquid, to bathe Aadi. This was in preparation for the surgery. I was asked to remove all his jewellery.
I conjured up all my courage to bathe him. He of course did not understand why he was bathing at night and that too with a soap that was not his !! I remember he asked me for his own 'Green soap'; his Mothercare liquid soap.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

12th August 2008 @ Narayana Hrudayalaya

Our entire treatment at Narayana was possible only with the tireless, selfless and prompt help and guidance of Mr. Alphonse, who is the personal assistant of Dr. Colin John.
He had asked us to come early around 8 AM to the hospital. Upon reaching there we did the initial admission procedure, which had a nominal fees, and I must tell you how the staff at the counters was patient, efficient and helped and guided everyone.

We waited to meet Dr. John, who was in surgery; Mr. Alphonse, took us and some other parents with children to meet Dr. John. Once our turn came, we all entered the room (looked like a conference room with a video screen etc) and Dr. John was there dressed in his green scrubs. He greeted each one of us warmly, asked us what we did, where we were from etc; made us comfortable and only then asked us what was the problem with Aaditya. We told him and also mentioned that Dr. Bharat Dalvi from Mumbai had recommended us to him. Dr. John said that Dr. Dalvi was a dear friend of his and he trusted his diagnosis completely. He asked Mr. Alphonse to check his diary so that we could decide the day of the surgery. 14th August was chosen as the day. Dr. John comforted us saying that ' it is in Gods' hands'....He asked us not to worry and shook our hands and did a polite 'Namaste' to my mum. He even had lollipops for Aadi !!

After meeting Dr. John, I knew I had made the right decision of coming to Bangalore, for I was instantly able to place all my trust in him.

The rest of the day, we spent in doing the hospital procedures for the proper admission for surgery.
We were also asked to meet a Pediatric Doctor who asked us all the details about Aadi, right from his birth. I had made a note of all his Vaccination dates, his health related issues like his febrile seizures, I also mentioned the medications which he took to reduce fever in case of a febrile seizure. This doctor was also a very good one, who assured us that Aadi would be just fine in a few days after the surgery, he would lead a normal life, study, play, work, join the army, go to the Olympics, have a family of his own. Basically he tried to tell us that after the surgery Aadi can do what ever he wishes to do.
We also did tests like: a chest x-ray, 2-D Echo Cardiogram, Blood tests to confirm blood type and also for other critical data, and an ECG.

All this process nearly took the entire day, and we went back to the guest house. We did not want to immediately start living in the hospital. We decided to go there on 13th in the afternoon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Deciding where to go....

Once we had all the facts in front of us. We decided to explore each option.
First thing that I did after meeting Dr. Dalvi was to call Amol and tell him all the details. He was naturally shocked and we decided to do what was best for our little angel. I had also not mentioned anything to my in-laws yet; they live in Pune and so Aadi and I went to Pune to meet them and also explore some possibilities there. My FIL has undergone a Heart Surgery some time back so I thought I could meet his Doctor. On the sirst night that I was there, I told them why I was there and what we needed to do. The very next morning my FIL booked an appointment with his Cardiologist Dr. Srikanthan. Upon meeting him, and explaining to him why we were there, he examined Aadi very carefully, asked all the questions, and then studied his reports. Dr. Srikanthan opined that we need to get him operated soon, there was no point in waiting, he said.
He suggested we meet Dr. Ranjit Jagtap, a renowed surgeon in Pune, and upon enquiring about any of his friends in Mumbai he suggested Dr. Suresh Joshi at Wockhardt.
Dr. Srikanthan was so nice, he even called Dr. Jagtap in our presence and we fixed up an appointment with him for the very next day.
Next morning at Dr. Jagtap's office, I noticed all the awards, and appreciation letters he had received. I was very impressed; and for a man of those credentials and awards; he is completely down to earth and gives you all the time you need. He boosted my confidence when he told me that correcting an ASD was the simplest of heart surgeries. He told us of the various hospitals in Pune where he could operate. he even told us the approximate cost at each hospital.
I left his office feeling a bit better.
Once we were back home; we discussed about all the information we had so far. I must tell you all about the superb guidance that we received at every step from Amol's close friend Laxminarayanan; who himself is a Doctor, and was then with the CardioVascular Innovation Institute in the USA. We were constantly in touch through email, and he gave us feedback about every Doctor, every Hospital.
After doing my research in Pune, I headed back to Mumbai to check out the Wockhardt Hospital and meet Dr. Suresh Joshi.
We were living in Vile Parle, and Wockhardt (Where Dr. Joshi, and also the Pediatric & Congenital Heart Center is) is located at the Mulund-Goregaon Link road which is quite far from where we live. We had read up information about Dr. Joshi and Wockhardt has a good reputation too. So off we went to meet Dr. Joshi and I knew when I saw Dr. Joshi that I could trust him with my son. He is a complete mix of calm, intellect, patience, confidence...everything that one seeks in a Doctor. We got all the information from him, the cost part, the operative procedure etc.
I have to mention here about the operative procedure that he told us about. Dr. Joshi has developed a non-invasive way of doing the same Open Heart Surgery by making an incision under the rib cage. Through this incision, the instruments etc are used to carry out the procedure. This is more suited to children as it is less traumatic than an Open Heart one. He had done over 500 procedures with this new method and the results were excellent.

Now we had more information with us, and we discussed it with Laxminarayanan and we all concluded that we will go to Narayana Hrudalaya in Bangalore. Why I decided against the other hospitals and why I chose Narayana Hrudalaya - the reasons I am putting them down here. Please bear in mind these are my own views, my deductions based on my experiences only. I don't want any reader to hassle any of the Doctors that I have mentioned above.

Dr. Ranjit Jagtap.
  • He is a general Cardiac surgeon. Not a pure Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon; that I was looking for.
Wockhardt, Mulund, Mumbai
  • The hospital was way too far from my home, and we would need 2 vehicles to service us and make it smooth for us. One to fetch people or any items from home, another one at our disposal at the hospital so that we could use it as and when required.
  • I much preferred my son going through this operation the old-school way that is the Open Heart Surgery. I was not too confident on the new method.
Why we finalised Narayana Hrudalaya
  • We sent them Aadi's medical reports by email, we got an instant reply from them, giving us the outline of what the best treatment for him would be. They told us all the things that we needed to do once we were there.
  • All of us, my family, my in-laws and me & Aadi could easily travel to Bangalore, and live in the guest houses that are around Narayana.
  • Bangalore as a city is well known to us, so we were not going to a completely unknown place.
  • We had an excellent support system of friends in the city.
  • Narayana Hrudalaya has a team of Pediatric Cardiologists and an excellent post-operative care system.
All plans were made to go to Bangalore.
Mom, Papa and my FIL went first by train; they left on the 10th of August.
My brother, myself and Aadi flew in the 11th evening. We all met at the Guest House near the Hospital.
On the 12th was our appointment to meed Dr. Colin John, the surgeon who we wished should operate on Aadi.