Friday, November 10, 2006

I don't care for statistics.

I've been thinking about statistics and how they are really just averages. But as I was thinking about the many times since Jessica was born that we have been given statistics - we are always in the small percentage. Here's what I was contemplating:

If I remember the statistics correctly, Jessica had a 2% chance of being born with any birth defect, 1% of which was CHD (again, I'm not sure of the exact statistic here). She was born with a complex CHD.

When Jessica had her first heart surgery at the age of 5 months old, we were told she only had about a 2 or 3% chance of having any complications with her surgery - it was a very routine placement of a shunt. Jessica had a stroke which affected her speech area of the brain and the right side of her body. She had to have on-going therapy to regain strength in her right side and we used sign language to facilitate speech.

As Jess got older the peds neurologist didn't think Jessica had a very high chance of learning to speak. (we weren't given a specific % but weren't given much hope) Jessica was 2 yrs old and could pretty much only say "mama" and "dada" but could sign over 80 words. We were told that her primary way of communication would be sign language. Well.... by the time she was 3 yrs old she was talking pretty well - and NONSTOP (still)!

When Jess was 3 yrs old she needed her shunt replaced. We were quoted the 2 - 3% chance of her having any complications and I reminded them that she already had a stroke. We were told that it didn't really put her at higher risk. This time she not only stroked but hemorrhaged for 4 days! She wasn't expected to survive the day on the 4th day and we were told to come and spend her last hours with her. By the afternoon the CT surgeon told us that "A power far greater than ours saved your daughter today - - we just stood here and watched a miracle". She was pulling through. Almost a week later she was off the vent and when she woke up we found she was blind and paralyzed on her left side. Long story short: the neuro-ophthalmologist didn't give her much of a chance of seeing again since the damage was done on the brain - not the eyes. She sure showed him! Yes, she wears glasses and her vision isn't perfect, but she can SEE! hehe... Of course she had a high chance of never learning to walk again... but she did! (she is in the motorized wheelchair to conserve energy).

Jump ahead (through many other miraculous, though difficult times) to 2004 when Jess was admitted into home hospice because of lung bleeds. Less than 10% of hospice patients come out alive (or improve and don't need hospice again... at least not for a long time). You guessed it, Jess improved and has been out of hospice for over a year.

Jess has out-lived everyone's expectations - including mine. She has suffered many more problems than anyone imagined but has come through like nobody ever expected possible.

The last visit to the Peds Cardiologist he said, "I have given up trying to predict what Jessica is going to do. Many times she takes the hard road but then turns around and comes through.


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