Team Ella's Journey5 Members
We Walk to Save Lives!
2022 Cedar Valley Heart Walk
Team Ella's Journey
#Ellaisourwhy ....Below is Ella's Story!!
Thursday, Feb 10th, 2011 We decided that Ella's cough sounded different so we decided to take her to urgent care. Rob and Caden stayed home to eat dinner and get ready for bed. Ella was seen by the Allen Urgent Care doctor at the Greenhill office. Dr. Ackers knows our family, since Caden always had his ear infections after hours! Dr. Ackers did not like the way Ella sounded and her oxygen intake was in the high 60's so he sent Ella and I to Covenant Hospital by ambulance. We arrived at the ER and went thru chest x-rays, nebulizer treatments and blood work to then be admitted to the ped's department. They ruled out RSV and thought that she had a viral infection.
Friday, Feb 11th They decided that Ella had viral pneumonia and broncuticulatis. The treatment plan was to do nebeulizer treatments every 2 hours and let the viral pneumonia run its course. Ella's vitals were up and down most of the day and her oxygen level was always low. The amazing part is that Ella continued to eat her 2 ounces of formula every 2 hours and her eating pattern never seemed to change. Ella received extra good care since the nurses and doctors were spoiled with Scratch Cupcakes and Panera bagels! Ella had a fairly restful evening. Since the next week was going to be a waiting game Caden headed to Rochester, MN with his papa and grandma!
Saturday, Feb 12th Ella's vitals were up and down and seemed to be stabilizing but she just didn't seem like Ella. So when the doctor made rounds on Saturday morning we decided that we needed to start asking some "what if" questions. We asked what he thought about turning down her oxygen support, decreasing the nebeulizer treatments because they seemed to make her mad and she would get worked up. We asked what the next steps were if she didn't get better and if we continued to provide the same care what we could expect. After asking questions the doctor decided that we would only do nebeulizer treatments every 4 hours and decrease her oxygen to see if her intake would go up. We made it through the morning and thought we were seeing a change for the better until the nurse heard something when she listened to her heart around 9:30 pm. The nurse then hooked up a second oxygen sensor to Ella so now she had one for the right side and one hooked up on the left side. The numbers were not even close to the same. The right side had a 90% oxygen intake and the left side had a 60% intake. She requested that the doctor that was on call come into the hospital because they needed to do an echo cardiogram because she heard a heart murmur. Around 10:30 pm they did an echo and could tell that there was a hole in Ella's heart which was located between the right and left ventricle. So they decided that Ella need to be moved to another facility that could provide intensive care to an infant. So they contacted Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to come and get her. 48 minutes later Ella was being loaded by the ped's helicopter team. Rob and I ran home and packed, grabbed our puppy and headed to MN. The helicopter team arrived at 2:48 am and we made it to St. Mary's Hospital in 2 hours, which included stopping in Stewartville, MN to drop our puppy off and make a pit stop. Caden had the best day a 3 year old could ever have, hockey game, lunch at McDonald's play time with grandma and then more play time with Papa and Grandma.
Sunday, Feb 13th Ella made it to St. Mary's but had gotten so upset on the helicopter that she actually turned blue and went into cardiac arrest. Ella's amazing medical team had to put her on life support, so that they could start to examine her to figure out what was wrong. 4:58 am we hear the phrase Total Anomalous Pulmonary Return...and then the cardiologist says...it is fixable! After 26 hours of complete chaos and no sleep they were the words that we had been praying for! So we had finally figured out that Ella had a heart condition, which she was born with. The left side of her heart was not connected to the veins that bring the blood with the oxygen back into her heart. So the right side of her heart was doing all the work and luckily enough she has a hole between the left and right ventricles that was allowing some blood to sneak into the left side. So what started as a cold actually was a blessing because we now knew there was bigger problem. Ella's vitals have been up and way down throughout the day, which has caused us to have lots of anxiety. The cardiologist pa came to visit us around 7 pm to go over what to expect tomorrow for Ella's surgery. The cardiologist will be in around 7:30 am to answer any questions for us and do another Echo before surgery. They anticipate that surgery will last about 5 to 6 hours with recovery time. Ella will then be headed to ICU for about 10 days of recovery. We hope to take her home after that. The cardiologist has indicated that Ella's recovery time at home will be 4 to 6 weeks.
Monday, Feb 14th, was a day of prayer and faith for our family. We were surrounded by the best medical team in the world. Ella's anesthesiologist helped us be able to walk Ella down to the surgery room door. He promised he would sing to her, "You are my Sunshine" if she was scared. After 6 very stressful hours later, Ella was out of surgery and we were able to see her again. Only complication was that her heart was so enlarged that they were not able to close her chest. (Not many parents can say they have seen their childs beating heart!) For the next 10 days, things got better and better , then on Thursday the 24th and they gave us the best news we could hope for...WE would be able to take our family home!!
Our family knows that Ella's story is rare, many families spend days, months and even years fighting, so we know that giving back is one way to show how grateful we are. Thank you for taking the time to read our family's reason why! Any donation amount is greatly appreciated and will have a huge impact on so many!
We are a relentless force!
Now imagine how much stronger we'll be working as a team! Heart disease is still the no. 1 killer in out nation and stroke ranks no. 2 worldwide. You could do something to change that.
We are walking together - not only for our own health, but also for yours. And for the health of our parents, our children, and our grandchildren.
The Heart Walk is a time of celebration, joy, and inspiration. It's also an event where people work together to support one single goal - to create a world free of heart disease and stroke.
Be a heart hero. Be a relentless force. Be a part of an unstoppable team. Join us now and together we will help save lives.