A letter to the unsung heroes of pediatric heart surgery
Dear K & G,
If my infant daughter could hold a pen, I’m certain this is what she would write to you.
On my 43rd day of life, your father performed a life-saving surgery on my tiny heart. And again on my 79th day of life. From that time forward my health has improved. Each milestone and memory in my life is possible because of the expertise and care of your dad and his team. I owe much to him; and in turn I owe much to you two. He studied, practiced, and sacrificed much to learn the art of cardiothoracic surgery, but I know you two have also sacrificed much. His profession must induce much stress in his life, but he gets to see me get better and go home. You do not. You don’t see our faces, meet our families or know our stories. In fact, to protect our privacy, he’s not even allowed to tell you about us – the children he saves and the miracles he performs.
So I will tell you about me. I’m almost three years old. I enjoy building with blocks, playing cars with my brother, and dancing to Taylor Swift songs. I love to lick the flavoring off Cheetohs and put them back in the bag. I love my mom, my brother, and my dad – I’m proud of him – he helps keep pets well-groomed. And I hope you’re proud of your dad for keeping kids like me healthy. I bet it’s not easy for you when your dad has a demanding job such as this. But I hope my words adequately express the gratitude in my heart for both of you.
Thank you for your patience with your father when I was his patient. Thank you for sharing your daddy with me so I can share moments with my daddy. Thank you for sacrificing time spent with your dad so I could regain my health and spend time with mine. Thank you for waiting for your father to come home when my emergent surgery could not wait. Thank you for understanding when your daddy rushed away from home during family dinner so I could come home and have dinner with mine. Thank you for being considerate when your dad missed your game so one day my daddy can watch me in a game. You must have missed your dad a lot, but if it weren’t for him, I would have missed out on everything.
I look up to both of you. And when I get a little bigger I hope I can be patient and selfless just like you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,