This post needs a little bit of history before I start…
Back in January this year, Liam fell rather ill with a water infection. The doctor told us that they are rare in children and could be related to the fact that he holds his wee in for as long as possible; I suppose when you are 3 there is always something better to do than go to the toilet! While the doctor was performing his checks, which finally led to Liam’s water infection being diagnosed, he heard a heart murmur when listening to his chest. This was the first we had ever heard of this, it had never been picked up before. The doctor suggested it could be because of the high temperature; Liam was burning up and we had to keep him dosed up on paracetamol to keep the fever down. Therefore, we were advised to take Liam back once he had finished his antibiotics and was completely well again. (I can’t remember the name of the doctor as he was a locum doctor and we haven’t seen him since. However, I’d to thank him for discovering the murmur and advising us to come back)
A few weeks later when everything had cleared up and Liam’s temperature was back to normal, we took him back. The murmur was still there and just as loud. We were then referred to the hospital (not our local hospital, of course, as they can’t deal with anything there, not even sure why it’s still open…). The appointment finally came through the post and was on 15th March. So we took him to hospital and Dr Harry went through some more thorough checks (Dr Harry was a woman, by the way). She also wrote a brilliant report back to Liam’s GP with what she found.
Firstly, we advised Harry of the only persistent symptom that may be loosely related; Liam seems to cough a lot if he runs around for a long time or does more physical play (jumping, dancing, etc.) than usual. He has been prescribed an inhaler in the past for suspected asthma but this has never helped. Anyway, the main paragraph in the report which sums up Harry’s checks is below (and may mean more to a medical person!)…
“Liam looked very well on examination. He was pink and well perfused. There were no dysmorphic features. His blood pressure was 114/68. His heart rate was 112. There were no signs of respiratory distress and his chest was clear. Heart sounds were normal with a grade 3/6 systolic murmur, loudest at the left sternal edge but audible all over the precordium and radiating to the back. There were no palpable thrills and he was not heard to cough in clinic. The apex beat was normally located. His peripheral pulses were normal and there was no clubbing. Femoral pulses were palpable with no radial femoral delay. His abdomen was soft with no masses felt.”
They also performed a standard 12 lead ECG which was normal and Harry did reassure us that there are no signs or symptoms to suggest an underlying heart problem. However, while the report was positive, the bit that stood out was that Liam did indeed have a heart murmur and as a parent this was still worrying. We were then referred to the cardiology clinic and therefore had to wait for another appointment through the post. This did come through fairly quickly although the appointment wasn’t until 25th June.
So, yesterday, we went back to the hospital. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the doctor we saw this time even though it was only 24 hours ago (I’m not very good with names!). Anyway, he listened to Liam’s heart but said that he couldn’t hear the murmur so he got Liam to lie down and listened again, there it was. Next the doctor moved on to the ultrasound and a look at Liam’s heart.
I have to add to Liam was so brave and was very well behaved. He lay there completely still, occasionally looking at us with a smile, and chuckling saying, “that tickles”, when the doctor moved the transducer over any ticklish areas.
After about 10 minutes of looking at the ultrasound of Liam’s heart (which probably felt like a life time to Liam) the doctor concluded his findings… As he suspected from the sound of the murmur, there appears to be a narrowing of the pulmonary artery which takes blood to the lungs. Again, he did reassure us not to worry because there are no other symptoms and Liam is otherwise healthy. But he’s our son, of course we are going to worry! I later wondered if this explains Liam’s coughing but unfortunately not in time to mention to the doctor. The doctor then advised that he would be referring Liam to the nearest children’s hospital where they have better machines and equipment to look at his heart more closely to either confirm his findings or write them out.
So we have now got to wait for a third appointment to come through the post, but no matter how fast it arrives it will never be quick enough. Nothing ever is when it makes you worry like that. I suppose we have got to take the doctors advise and not worry about it because they are right; Liam is otherwise very healthy!
Lastly, while on the subject of hospitals, my (older) brother spent most of last night at one although I didn’t find out until this morning. I haven’t got time to go in to the history with my brother now and this post is already too long so it will have to wait for rainy day. Anyway, he was beaten up last night and got it pretty bad as he came out with a broken shoulder (ouch!). Today they checked him over and said he is going to need it wired as it will not heal on it’s own.
He has now also got to wait for an appointment through the post!