Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Heart-Filled Day

Jason and I aren't really big into Valentine's Day.  It's just never been a holiday we spend much time thinking about, and I often find it extremely overrated.  However, this Valentine's Day ended up being extremely special in a very non-romantic kind of way.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a few of the members of the staff at Centennial Heart to tell our story.  As it turns out, Centennial Heart was preparing for the unveiling of a brand new, once in a hospital's history, heart center.  My cardiologist and nurse practitioner wanted our story to be one that was captured for some promotional aspects of the new heart center.  Needless to say, we were extremely honored that they found our small story special enough to be involved in such a huge deal to this hospital.

After a lot of communication, we received the most beautiful invitation in the mail to actually attend the ribbon cutting and reception of the new Centennial Heart and Vascular Center.  We did a little bit of schedule shifting, and both Jason and I took the entire day off to celebrate such a wonderful new home for our team of doctors, nurses and surgeons.

We were so excited to see what a huge deal the city of Nashville was making out of the unveiling of this new part of the hospital.  Roads were blocked off, hundreds of people were there, including some very important people to us.

We were able to hear a few statements from the President and CEO of Centennial Medical Center, the mayor of Nashville, and a couple of special patients who hold this facility just as closely to their hearts as we do.

The speakers wanted to recognize all the nurses, surgeons, doctors, aids and other staff affiliated with Centennial Heart by standing and raising their hands.  Several raised their hands and we applauded them, and I noticed that none of the doctors (who were all right in front of us) were standing or raising their hands.  They were applauding the rest of the staff with us.  The speaker made a quick comment that said "Either our doctors and surgeons are really modest or don't listen well, because they won't stand."  Red faced, they all stood quickly, ducked their heads and sat back down.  It has always blown me away that these wonderful cardiologists and surgeons don't seem to want any recognition for their incredible work.  They always say they are just doing their jobs, but I'm not sure they realize how much their chosen profession has given to others.  They have kept families together, allowed families to begin, and given people a second chance at living beyond a heart condition.  We will forever respect them for everything.

With the ribbon cutting complete, we were able to head upstairs to the reception and take a look at the brand new, 200,000 square foot area that is designed specifically for patient and family comfort.

One of the brand new operating rooms, with a lot of really cool and new technology that will make these people even more terrific than they already were.

We were able to meet up with Dr. Riddick again, our primary cardiologist, and congratulate him on his new "home."  Sadly, our picture with Ethan isn't terrific, because Ethan just wasn't into it.  His face is hilarious!  We love Dr. Riddick.

One of the coolest parts of the day was meeting up with our surgeon from the second hospital stay.  I approached him with every intention of reminding him who I was.  He turned around, and all I managed to get out was "I don't know if you will remember me, but..." when he gave me a huge smile and said, "I know exactly who you are, and I know this little man too.  I still have his birth announcement on my desk."  He leaned in, kissed me on the cheek, shook Ethan's hand and asked us how we were.  We chatted for a while, and we were able to give him a heartfelt (no pun intended) thank you for a steady hand but his true compassion throughout the situation.  I was finally able to tell him about a moment in the OR right before he began to operate that gave me great comfort and peace to trust him to take care of our little boy.  He was kind enough to take a picture with us and ironically enough, ended up being in one of the brand new operating rooms.  How fitting!  We love Dr. Pass.

After such a sweet reunion, we ran into the lady that conducted our interview a few weeks ago, and wanted us to meet with the videographer to capture some of our emotion towards the center on camera. We were honored to oblige, although Ethan wasn't too thrilled about it.  He wiggled and squirmed through the entire interview!  I think Jason and I are both still a little blown away that a year out from our story, Centennial thinks our story will impact others enough to want to share it.  Of course we have felt that time in our lives was a huge deal, but never would we have dreamed that such a large facility would think our situation was such a big deal too.  Although I never want to relive those moments, I'm glad that those moments are being used for the good and the future of Centennial Heart.

We were so thrilled to be a part of such a big day in the history of Centennial Medical Center, and even more thrilled to get in touch with a few of our CCU nurses that we had never gotten a chance to properly thank.

After a quick stop to pick up dessert from the Cheesecake Factory, we headed home to snuggle on our little man.  And since we had somehow escaped the day without a single photo of my little love and I, we took them right before changing into our pjs.

What did you all do for Valentine's Day?

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