Playing poker on surgery day

The day of Bekah’s heart surgery went much more quickly than I expected. We arrived at admitting a little after 6 a.m., met our parents, brothers and pastor, dropped them off at the fourth floor waiting area and took Bekah to the new pre-surgery area.  

All of Bekah’s vitals were checked, and we met with Dr. Spector, one of her surgeons, one last time to sign consent forms. Because we had so many people with us, we went back to the surgical waiting area where our pastor said a prayer, Bekah gave everyone a high five for good luck (we used her foot to avoid unnecessary germs), and we returned to the patient waiting room.

We were as ready as we could be when two nurses told us it was time for surgery. Bekah looked up at us, smiled, squirmed a little and then began to make friends with the nurses as they carried her down the hall to the operating room.

We spent the next four hours waiting anxiously to see Greg Padrutt, the physician assistant, round the corner with updates. He came out to tell us when she was asleep and all the lines were in. He let us know that the incision was made, and they were opening her chest.

The next time we saw him, Bekah was on the heart-lung bypass machine and her heart was stopped. Greg also came back to let us know when the patch was inserted and the doctors were preparing to stitch her ASD (atrial septal defect) and complete a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) ligation.

We tried to read his face each time he appeared. How was she? Good? Bad? How were things in the operating room? What was happening now that Greg was on his way to see us? Greg must be an excellent poker player. It was impossible to tell how she was doing until he was ready for us to know.

I can’t imagine the pressure that comes with being the person who has to report to families what is going on in the OR. We were lucky. Even though we couldn’t tell what Greg was thinking each time he came our way, everything he had to say was always good…everything went according to plan.

Before we knew it, Dr. Smith was explaining what happened and what would happen next. Then we just needed to wait for Greg to say she was ready for visitors!

Read the rest of Sarah and Rebekah’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.

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About Sarah Plant, Patient Family

Sarah Plant and her husband, Christopher, live in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, with their daughter, Bekah, and a rabbit named Gussie. She enjoys bike riding and spending time with friends, family and her fellow church members. Sarah is a stay-at-home mom and former high school English teacher. In her "Following Your Heart" blog, Sarah shares her experiences as a first-time mom whose baby was born with a congenital heart defect as well as a mom of a healthy boy.


  1. I will continue to pray for Rebah’s recovery and to give you & Chris the strength to care for her and each other. Thoughts and prayers to all!

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