Putting my heart back together…
Happy Tuesday, folks!
So many of you have reached out asking how Titty Tuesday went last week. Everything went quite well, my heart behaved, I spent one night in the hospital, and was discharged to home late Wednesday morning. This surgery was a walk in the park compared to the mastectomy, and recovery hasn’t been bad in the least.
I’ll divulge all the dirty details later this week, I really wanted to get a post up to talk about some cool events coming up in the next few weeks.
Back on the 17th, I was able to attend the Adult Congenital Heart Disease in the 21st Century conference that was held in Washington DC. One of my fellow Zipper Sisters, Ruth, lives in DC and works at one of the hospitals that was sponsoring the event. Ruth was gracious enough to let me crash at her apartment the night before, and early on the 17th we braved our way through the DC traffic and made our way across the city to the conference.
I probably would have gone regardless, but I was especially interested in attending because of the keynote speaker, Dr. William Norwood. That name won’t mean anything to the majority of you reading, but Dr. Norwood is a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery; the man has a surgery named after him. He also happens to be the very same surgeon who performed 3 of my 4 heart surgeries.
Over the years, I’ve heard stories from nurses who worked alongside (some of who were my colleagues when I worked in the CICU!) Dr. Norwood, how he refused to give his patients pain medication after open-heart surgery, that he failed to get proper informed consents and tried new techniques in the OR on babies with a half a heart, how he treated most anyone working around him like shit. I had my own opinions, and I realize some see him as a God, and some see him as the Devil himself.
I had a few questions for this man. He thinks he was interrogated in the court room after families sued him, well he ain’t had the Wrath of Marla.
And in typical Marla fashion, I had my moment to speak with him, yet all the things I really wanted to say completely left my mind. I blame lupus brain
You guys, you would have thought I was shaking hands with Charlie Hunnam, I was awestruck. And mind you, Dr. Norwood is 73 and looks like Colonal Sanders. What do you say to the man who literally held your walnut sized heart in his giant man hands, patched holes and fixed arteries that were thinner than angel hair pasta, not once, not twice, but three times?
Smooth, Mar. So smooth.
His talk was incredibly insightful, making me reflect on certain aspects of medicine that I had never considered. The man was an innovator, and I cannot fathom having hands that worked so meticulously, and a brain in constant motion trying to solve puzzles to fix the plumbing of tiny hearts.
Making strides in medicine is no easy feat, especially when the sick demand better surgeries and procedures, yet at the same time, aren’t willing to be the guinea pigs. Patients die due to lack of innovation, and unfortunately, they die while surgeons try to innovate; it’s a double edged sword. Dr. Norwood was one of the few from his era willing to take risks, to think of and attempt various techniques that could hopefully lead to better long-term outcomes, and unfortunately I believe he was stopped before he was able to fully make his mark on the pediatric cardiothoracic surgical world.
Without Ruth sharing the info about the conference, I would’ve never gotten this opportunity to meet Dr. Norwood in my lifetime. Thanks Ruth!!!