Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Honey Bee

My youngest sister, Honey Bee was born with a serious congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot – one of the leading causes of blue baby syndrome. Tetralogy means that there are 4 different things wrong with the heart. She was born in 1978 and we were living in a small town in the then Transvaal province. Not long after she was born she became cyanotic and my parents took her to the GP. He detected a heart murmur and to cut a long story short, we ended up in the following situation: My parents had to get onto a flight to Cape Town urgently, they could not find anyone to look after 5 year old Hardspear and 2.5 year old Flower. They had to call our grandparents who lived an hour’s drive away and leave us at home. My grandfather used to have a lot of cars at any given time – I remember a Chev Muscle Car (yellow with 2 thick black stripes running from the bonnet to the boot), a 3 litre Ford Granada, a 250E Mercedes Benz and a few bakkies. It probably took him less than an hour to get to us, for he could really drive fast. The GP accompanied my parents to Cape Town. Soon after the plane lifted, Honey Bee started going into heart failure. The GP performed CPR and whatnot, they feared they wouldn’t make Cape Town, diverted to Kimberley, landed there (not scheduled) – Honey Bee revived a bit, they took off again and she went into total heart failure. The GP declared her dead… My mother then started CPR and pumping Honey Bee’s legs. Independently to each other and without knowing the other are doing it, my Mom and Dad both made a pact with God then to dedicate their lives to Him and please save our baby. Suddenly Honey Bee gasped for breath. They eventually reached Cape Town. The St. John’s Ambulance drove like hell with Honey Bee, my Mom and the GP in the back. The trip took 7 minutes from DF Malan (now Cape Town Airport) to Groote Schuur Hospital in the city. Chris Barnard did not want to operate, stating there is no chance. They stayed in the Cape for a month and then returned to Transvaal. A Jewish doctor in Johannesburg, Professor Kingsley, agreed to operate. During the operation amongst others Honey Bee were given a pig’s heart valve in one of the heart chambers where there wasn’t one. The operation was textbook material success. She spent the first year and two months of her life in Joburg Gen. The year before she went to school she received another valve replacement, this time synthetic. When she was in standard 9, she got one from a human donor. Two years back it had to be replaced again and they used one from and ox. Today, Mom and Dad’s lives are dedicated to God as it has been from that day on the plane. Recently Honey Bee started to get extremely tired. On Sunday, she and Mom drove from East London where they live to Port Elizabeth to see the heart specialist there. Things have been a bit hectic and I’ve been meaning to call, I’ve been meaning to call, I’ve been meaning to call. Eventually, this morning I called Mom. They have been told that one of the most recent sutures in her heart became undone and it is putting a lot of pressure on one of the heart chambers. She is being put on medication for 3 months and will have to go for tests again after that. Mom says Honey Bee is incredibly positive about this all, and Mom also sounds very positive, saying that God has always looked after our family, and He will do so again now. As soon as I put the phone down, I rushed out of the office to the bathrooms. On my way there I just burst out in tears. Luckily there were not many people in the building yet at 6:30 and I met no one in the corridors. Please pray for our Honey Bee…

4 comments:

angel said...

I just read your post and then your comment on my post.
Honey Bee will be in my prayers.

momcat said...

Sorry to hear your family and Honey Bee are going through this trauma again. But your mom is a pillar of strength and thanks to God and your mom's persistence, your sister survived as a little baby. Your mom and your sister are both so positive and strong. Bad things happen to good people to make them and their faith in God stronger. Your sister will be fine. She is a survivor.

Spear said...

Angel - Ta, love!

Momcat - Ta, love!

The Spear said...

What an amazing story. All the best to her.