Today is Drewman's 18th Birthday!
Drewman was born at 4:58pm, September 29, 1995.
He weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 22 inches long.
Within a few hours of birth, Drewman's doctor found a problem.
The doctor heard a heart mummer.
Immediately, Drewman was connected to Children's Hospital for monitoring.
There were lines running everywhere.
Nurses doing constant monitoring of him.
Drewman was never placed into ICU.
He was allowed to stay with me during the entire monitoring process.
I will never forget the day my Sissy and her two girls came to visit.
Her girls were mesmerized by all the wires connected to my newborn.
They had tons of questions, some of which I hadn't considered asking.
I wish I had the photo of the three of them, that day.
Drewman was connected to the monitors, lying on the bed.
The girls were next to him, one on each side.
The look on their faces was a look I know I had, since the second, I was told of the mummer.
We were released from the hospital and on our way to Children's Cardiac Care Unit when Drewman was three days old.
Drewman was put through more testing and a diagnosis was given.
Drewman has Pulmonary Stenosis.
The same heart condition My Daddy had since his birth!
Pulmonary Stenosis is a condition in which the pulmonary valve in the heart doesn't open and shut properly.
The right ventricle of Drewman's heart was enlarging.
When it had enlarged to the point it could no longer enlarge, the pressure would push the blood through the valve.
The blood would be pushed with such pressure the blood would bypass the opening of the lungs.
Therefore, most of the blood in Drewman's tiny body wasn't getting oxygenated.
Drewman needed surgery to repair his pulmonary valve!
To me, this was an emergency situation.
I knew the problems this condition can cause.
I knew the risks.
I knew the trials.
To the doctors, it was not an emergency.
Drewman was put on a waiting list for surgery and would be monitored until his condition became critical.
The risk of doing this type of surgery was too high for such a small baby.
It was a long 7 months!
We had gone in for our monthly appointment and monitoring.
Nurse Theresa, who was the same nurse we saw for each appointment, weighed, measured and took Drewman's blood pressure.
We were taken to a room, where they brought in an EKG machine.
Drewman was connected once again to the EKG leads.
The EKG was taken.
Then a chest x-ray.
We then go into a dimly lit room for an echo cardiogram.
It is a ultrasound of your heart.
This would give the best look at what was going on in Drewman's heart.
After the echo, we returned to the exam room.
Dr. Razook and two students entered the room.
Dr. Razook listened.
The two students listened.
They discuss with Dr. Razook what they are hearing.
Dr. Razook explains Drewman's case and says "It's time for surgery."
The right ventricle of Drewman's heart was enlarging to 70% the size of his entire heart, before pushing his blood through his pulmonary valve!
Had Drewman been a child playing a sport, he could have been a statistic and died while playing.
You know the stories you read in the paper or hear on the news?
"Boy drops dead, while playing in basketball game."
Within a week, were back at Children's Hospital for surgery.
The plan for surgery was to do it via a catheter using a balloon to tear open the valve.
If things weren't timed perfectly, the catheter and balloon would be pushed through the heart, from the pressure, causing more damage and possibly killing Drewman.
An open heart surgery team was on standby, should there be a problem.
One of the hardest things, to ever do, is hand your 7 month old child over, to a team of doctors, knowing the risk ahead of you.
My saving grace was knowing the outcome, had I not!
The outcome, you ask?
Surgery went exactly as planned!
Drewman returned once per year for a checkup, which has now been changed to every two years.
This next visit will be his last visit at Children's.
He will then be transferred to a doctor at Oklahoma Heart Hospital.
After surgery, Drewman began growing and thriving like a normal baby would.
It was the night we brought him home from surgery, Drewman had crawled or possibly fallen out of his bed and was in the Big Boy's room crying.
Before surgery, Drewman could barely sit up and was only rolling over.
I would say, "Surgery was a success!"
Life went on.
Drewman played sports.
He showed animals.
He grew at normal rates.
He ate like normal.
Drewman was a normal little boy.
He can, at times, feel his heart flutter.
He did have several lung issues after surgery.
The doctors called it lung induced asthma.
But for the most part, Drewman is a very healthy child.
Drewman will always have Pulmonary Stenosis.
Drewman is not the type of kid to be front and center.
The question was asked, not long ago, by a man we hold dear to our hearts,
"What is a blog?"
Drewman's response was, "It's a place where your entire life is written for everyone to read."
This is the reason Drewman is not exploited on A Building We Shall Go.
I took the hint and respect it.
Only to highlight him on a few posts:
I will fast forward, to a section of Drewman's life...
Boots and Spurs
Being raised in a ranch family, all kids have boots and spurs.
Boots and Spurs took on a whole new meaning, for our family, when My Daddy died.
I will blog that story another time...
Drewman, as well as others in our family, was given a set of spurs at My Daddy's memorial.
The spurs allow us to dig in, hold on and ride the ride, all the while knowing My Daddy is present with us.
Drewman's boots came a few months later.
Although Drewman has had several pairs of boots in his lifetime, these boots were special boots.
They were the boots that signified the coming of manhood.
Fast forward a few more years to the HOUSE FIRE!
The Daze After The Fire were spent sifting through and salvaging what we could.
It had become very important to find Drewman's boots and spurs.
Remember, the fire started right outside Drewman's bedroom.
There wasn't much of Drewman's things that could be sifted through or salvaged.
The boots and spurs were found!
Uncle Jim took Drewman's boots home.
He cleaned and polished them up.
I am sure this took several hours!
Uncle Jim knows what those boots mean to Drewman.
The spurs were put away until recently.
They are charred and burnt.
With lots of scrubbing and buffing, they are coming back to life.
New straps have been purchased, as the old ones were burnt off.
Although the boots are now too small and will never be worn again,
Drewman will place those boots and spurs back in his room.
This, my friends, is a very personal thing for our family.
Therefore, we fast forward again.
These past few weeks, Drewman has been preparing college applications.
With each application, he must submit an essay of an event, time or person in his life that has changed or molded him.
This morning as I set at Drewman's computer, typing this blog, I read his essay.
You guessed it!
The life changing event, Drewman chose to write about, was the house fire.
He writes about being home alone the day of the house fire.
He writes about what he did during the first moments after he realized there was a fire.
He writes about the call he made to 911 and to Flower Boy.
He writes within 20 minutes he watched our house go up in flames.
He writes about the fire trucks and responders pulling into our drive.
He writes about friends and family standing there to support him.
He writes about me running towards him, when Flower Boy and I got home.
He writes about our reactions and the year to follow.
Drewman's essay brings new light on what that day was for him, how it has changed him and how he looks differently at things.
"Our last house wasn’t very much of a home with all the past memories, this new home is a fresh start in a “pasture never plowed”. Our home describes us. Through the last year our family has grown in our faith in god, and faith in each other. Through all of the events of the house fire, we really learned the meaning of family and true friends. Looking back through the year, I learned that stuff is just that, stuff."
As I type today's blog post, I realize my 7lb 11oz, 22 inch long baby boy has grown into a 6ft 5in, 240 pound man!
He still has a lot to learn and a long ways to go, but he is on the right track.
Drewman has much more in his saddle bags than most young men his age.
He is smart and driven towards success.
Continue on your path, Son!
You are headed the right direction!