Josh, born 1999
June 29, 2004 started out as an ordinary day but around 9:30AM, after throwing up and not looking right, we took Josh to the doctor. Within a few seconds of the exam, we were told his heart was beating too fast and we were sent to the emergency room.
In the ER, Josh got situated in a bed and hooked up to a heart monitor. An IV was started and several doses of medication were administered. The cardiologist on duty said he thought that Joshua would be better helped by a pediatric cardiologist. They phoned John Hopkins who sent a helicopter for him. I sat down and just looked at Josh. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. How did he get so sick so fast?
Shortly after my husband arrived, I updated him on Josh's condition. It had been decided to shock his heart back into rhythm. While my husband was holding him and stroking his head, Josh's body went limp and his eyes rolled back in his head. At that moment, one of the nurses called out "VFIB" and jumped on our son. His nurse began CPR immediately and didn't stop for the next 90 minutes even though several people on the team tried to relieve her. For over an hour, he battled for his life - in and out of ventricular tachycardia, sinus rhythm and four cardiac arrests.
Finally they were able to get his heart to beat in the right rhythm. The doctors then told us, "Please keep in mind that Joshua is in very critical condition. There is a very real possibility that once we leave here you may never see your son again. I will do everything in my power to keep that from happening but you have to be prepared".
After they bundled him up for the flight, we kissed our baby goodbye, told him to be good and that we would see him in a little bit. Helpless, we sat in the car and watched the helicopter take off with our 5 year old son, not knowing if we would ever get to hold him in our arms or see him smile at us again.
After blood work and a cardiac biopsy both came back positive, he was diagnosed with myocarditis and they began treating it with medications.
For eight months we were under the impression that Josh's recovery had been complete, with no residual effects. On January 21, 2005 we found out quite the opposite. After a routine holter study was done, we received a call from his cardiologist who said Josh was having a significant number of dangerous runs of ventricular tachycardia. We were told that he was not safe where he was and that he needed to be back in the hospital immediately. Four days later we were told that Josh would need to have an ICD implanted. The day before his 6th birthday, Josh had his surgery.
It has been almost six months since his surgery with no more events. He is very active, in school, karate, swimming and playing baseball with his brother. He's a very sweet, normal six year old who happens to have an extra bit of knowledge about things most kids around here have never heard of. He understands his limitations (which are very few at this point), and doesn't put up too much fuss when we have to enforce them. I try not to baby him too much but sometimes it's hard to let him be six. But we are extremely blessed to have him home and active and part of our family.
Story by Joshua's mom, Barbara - Maryland