Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17, 2008

Hello again. I thought it was time for a quick update. We're all doing fine - Charlie's good as gold, although he's got a bit of a cold (again!). I can't believe the season of snotty noses has trailed on to April this year. Apparently the Met Office are forecasting another big bout of rain after this cold snap, and then the arrival of some warmer weather... but we're not holding our breath!
There's not an awful lot of news really - we had a letter from Birmingham Children's Hospital the other day (yes, cue another near collapse from me when I saw the postmark!) and it was a follow-up to the holter monitor Charlie had done in February. It was very positive. Yes, the intermittent heart block is still there, but there are no long pauses between beats, which is the important thing, and because Charlie is totally asymptomatic when it is happening, they really aren't worried about it. The letter said that there is absolutely no need to expedite the Fontan surgery (hooray!) and although it is virtually certain they will attach permanent internal pacing wires when he has his next operation, just in case the heart block causes problems in future, they do not think that there will be any necessity for a pacemaker at that time. Consequently, they think the third stage of surgery will happen at the very end of this year, or the beginning of next year. (I'm so good at talking matter-of-factly about all this, but if I think too hard about what lies ahead, I turn into a gibbering idiot!). We're so relieved to hear this - and so excited too, because barring any catastrophes, that means Charlie will definitely be starting school this September! Woohoo! Pete and I will be pushing for the op to be at the beginning of next year (assuming Charlie remains well) so he can have the first term at school uninterrupted, and can learn all the important stuff like where to hang his coat and where to have lunch! It also means that he'll get to know his teacher, and we can hopefully ask her to keep us up to date with what the kids are doing at school, in case Charlie ends up in hospital for longer than hoped.
Charlie tried his new school shorts on the other night before he went to bed, and he just looked so grown up. This next term at Playschool, they start teaching the kids to get changed into their PE kits, and also replace the dressing up box with school uniforms, so they can all see what they'll be wearing in September. I've also bought a pile of wool so a friend of my sister's can knit a couple of school jumpers for Charlie. I love him in hand-knits, so I'm making the most of it while he doesn't really care what he's wearing, and before he's big enough to go 'Urgh, Mum - I want a sweatshirt!'
Those of you who can't stand proud parents, please close your browser now... because we had 'Reports Day' at playschool last week! It's so satisfying being told how fabulous your child is!! Charlie's teachers are so happy with how he's doing - in short, his vocabulary and linguistic skills are exceptional, his mathematical skills are excellent, his reasoning and thinking skills are fab too, (his teacher said he seems to be a deep thinker sometimes, and can be quite profound for such a little chap!), his concentration is really good too (I asked about this specifically, because we've been told that maintaining concentration can be a big issue for children with hearts like Charlie's). He is sociable, has loads of friends, and is apparently very caring and empathetic towards others. His teacher said that he doesn't let his heart affect him at all - in fact, she said it is sometimes easy to forget he only has half a heart. However, she said he's also really self-aware, and knows his limits - he is quite happy to tell the teacher that his is 'a bit puffed' and that he needs to sit down for a minute. His teacher said they will be very sorry to lose him, but that he is more than ready to head off to 'Big School'.
Pete and I were so proud to hear all of this - we simply couldn't ask for more. Charlie is such an amazing little boy - he has achieved so much already, in spite of the hurdles placed in front of him. To hear that he is not just managing, but exceeding expectations in all areas fills us with joy and pride. We are truly privileged to have such a super son.
OK, proud parental ramblings over... for now!!

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