Hurricane Ventura

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This morning, Dr Ventura came in to see Bethany for the 1st time. Let me give you a little
mental picture. He is from Argentina, and still has a very thick accent. One of the nurses told
Zac & Bethany that he sings opera. He is tall and lean, has a head full of nearly shoulder length
silvery gray hair, and was wearing green scrubs with a fisherman's knit sweater over his scrub top. I like him immediately. Bethany described him as a tornado:-) When he talks, his whole
body is involved...his arms and hands move, he moves around the room, his eyes move from
face to face. He is very intense, commands respect in an offbeat way, and instills a complete
feeling of trust. Finn was sleeping on Zac's lap, and Dr. Ventura was amazed at how big he is
for 9 weeks. He said his child wasn't that big until it was a year old. I am certain his memory
of that is a little clouded. Any of you who have heard Zac tell a story, complete with impersonati
ng a person or two in the story, can look forward to Zac talking about our first encounter with
Dr. Ventura.

He asked a few questions. Then he said "Has anyone told you that you can still get better?".
He said that he doesn't want to be "stupidly optimistic", but that he feels that she still has a
chance to recover a good bit of cardiac function. This is only 9 weeks post delivery, and has
only been symptomatic for 3 weeks. Every Caucasian woman he has treated with this disease
has gotten better. Zac asked how may that was, expecting 2-3 to be the response. The
answer was 6. He said Bethany had to get better, so he can continue to say 100% of the
Caucasian young women he has treated with PPCM have recovered. Apparently, this disease is
more common in African Americans, and the outcome is often worse, with a rapid decline in their
condition. He says, based on her history, she SHOULD get better. The problem is that she has
been unable to tolerate the Coreg. Not to say a transplant wouldn't be needed later, but the
more time she can keep her heart, the better. His plan is to repeat the echocardiogram on
Monday, take her off all the cardiac drugs except the primacor drip, then start her on Coreg,
and give it some time for her body to adjust to that medication, without adding anything else to
the mix. He feels that if she can maintain enough cardiac function, he would like to see at least
a 6 month wait before a transplant would be a serious consideration. He does not object to her
being on the list, as she is banking points, should the need become urgent, but he really REALLY
wants to take a step back and be patient, as long as possible. We all were quite in agreement
with that. Many patients continue to improve for 2 years, post diagnosis.
Like I said yesterday, never count on any one plan to remain in effect very long. Kim, Zac, Finn
and I still plan to go back to Mobile tomorrow. One thing that will help make that easier is the
wonderful relationships that have developed between Bethany and the doctors and nurses caring
for her. The nurses, even when not assigned to her, often come in just to see if she doing OK,
or if she has any questions. I thank God daily for the caring and compassionate staff here at

Cheryl's co-workers came this morning, visited with Bethany and Zac, then took Cheryl out for
lunch. Kim and I are watching football in our room, while Zac and Finn are hanging out with
Bethany. I think they need to be together as family part of the time. They know we are a
phone call and walk down the hall away, should they need us for anything.
Six months. I wonder just how many prayers will go up on Bethany's behalf over the next 6
months. I am sure the number over the past 2 weeks is vast. God hears us, and
His time, in His way. I am so ready to simply be patient, and place our dear Bethany in His
care. Every day I praise and thank God for all of the prayers from family, friends, friends of
friends, medical personnel here, and total strangers. Amazing!

God Bless!