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Yvonne Richardson’s story about her son Chris…

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Chris was born on the 1 November 1984 he was my second and last child. Chris was sent home from the hospital a healthy baby – so we were told . He never woke for his feeds and slept all the time, we tried our best to force the milk into him but he just slept through are sucked a couple of times and fell straight back to sleep bless him.
On the 10th day my midwife said I will get your GP to come and check him over, sure its nothing to worry about . At 5 pm that night our GP came out and then phoned the freeman hospital , that was when our lives would change forever . Chris was giving an echo , we were then took into a room and the cardio docs broke the worst news ever that our baby was dying.
They put him on a drug to keep his pda open the only thing that was keeping him alive, in a normal baby it usually closes of about 10 days old here we were with our 10 day old baby ..That night he had 2 cardiac arrests a side affect of the drug , but thanks to the skills of the staff at the freeman that night they saved my baby . Chris went to theatre 2 days later for an op to put a shunt in to keep him alive we were told that this was the only op that would be available because there was nothing else they could do for him . We were told that they could not tell us how long he would live because not that many kids do well living with a single pump . I could tell you a thousand stories of how hard we struggled with tube feeding and fast heart rates many other ops because of various other pr obs over the years , but at the end of the day chris defied all the odds and lived . Chris spent all of his life in a wheelchair from coming out of a child’s buggy he never had the strength to walk . Chris began to really go down hill in his teens always so tired due to the pressures in his lungs caused by the huge shunt put in his heart at 10 days old ,it saved his life but at the same time caused the demise of his lungs . The worst times were his collapses when we thought we had lost him his heart just did not know how to beat properly any more it would go from about 80 beats per min to 280 beat in a second just swiping him of his feet as he tried to get out of bed for help .
The worst time we just heard a huge bang at 5 in the morning ran in his room and he was on the floor eyes wide open white as a sheet this must be it i thought running for the oxygen and slapping it on his face hands shaking and thinking that i was going to collapse myself , but after a few Min’s he came around the bang had not only put his heart back into a normal rhythm but had also severely winded him hence he could not breath or move . from that day we started the process of transplant having put of so long now was time .. Chris, his dad and myself spent the five days together at the freeman for his assessment to see if he would make it on to the list . On the last day all the transplant team called us into a room to give chris and us their decision . they told us as from that min chris was on the list for a heart and double lung transplant , we did not know weather to laugh or cry such a surreal day . 15 th April 2007 was a new saga in Chris’s life now we were waiting , waiting for someone else to die- omg how were we going to get through this without falling apart ……………… On The 26 July 2007 i received a call from the transplant coordinator they may have a suitable donor for chris could we be there by 10pm it was now 8.30 pm . Chris, his brother and dad were sitting watching Newcastle play on sky TV , they had heard my conversation on the phone , chris just sat there and looked lost we never thought this might be a false call don’t ask us how we just knew that tonight this was going to happen .The call came on the 26th , but it went until the early hours before we were told it was a go, 27 -7-07 we took our boy to theatre only one person was allowed to go in the pre med room with chris we asked who he wanted he looked into my eyes and said you mam .
Chris said his goodbyes to his dad and brother and sister-in-law as they pushed him through on his bed he put his thumbs up to them and said bring this on it has to be done . I kissed and hugged him and did not want to ever let go we had fought for 22 years to keep him and i felt i might never see him again . I walked back with Kristy the transplant co , who i can only thank for putting up with a mother who was totally not there i can not remember rejoining my family the next 9 hours just passed in a haze until my mobile went saying chris was coming out of theatre he was alive that’s all i could think . I wont go on about his recovery to much you can imagine what he looked like he had just had his heart and lungs took out and replaced . Will just say he did amazing he came of life support after just 12 hours fighting the ventilator . the next day we walked in and looked at chris he was amazing he was pink, he was so drugged up cant remember the 5 days in ICU but he looked great .he spent the next 3 weeks on the transplant ward had a few hiccups and a bout of rejection which was handled very swiftly . He came home at the start of week 4 wow . Chris continues to do well has had a few hiccups nothing major one more rejection episode which was dealt with again . 3 and a half years post transplant and we all are so so grateful to Chris’s donor and family . CHRIS is walking and breathing and is living his life , we were told he might not live past one then his teens but here we are today 26 years on . i wanted to share Chris story to those of you who are on this journey now, there can be a future even if you are given the worst prognosis like us .xxxxx

Thank you so much Yvonne…Chris is an inspiration to us all <3

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