Remember that post about how I am bad with kids? Forget you ever read it and check out this cute post instead. (Or if you want to read it on The Social Robot, click the link.)
Harrison is a normal little boy. He loves running, snack time, and playing with his older brother, Tucker. On the outside, this 18-month old looks like any other giggling, healthy kid. What sets him apart is not his looks or personality, it’s his heart.
Harrison was born with a heart aneurysm, which sits in his left ventricular wall. Since it was located shortly after birth, he’s taken medicine, seen cardiac specialists, and had his blood tested to ensure his growing body is receiving the correct levels of blood thinners. Nurses prick his arms one to two times per week, looking for a vein; even when multiple attempts are made, he doesn’t cry.
To Tucker, 5, this is beyond impressive. “I’m not going to cry when I get shots anymore,” he said. “Because Harrison doesn’t and I’m bigger than him.
About the Condition
Regularly seen by a cardiologist, Harrison’s specialist said his condition is the first he’s seen in such a young child. Generally occurring in older adults, those who have recently experienced a heart attack or other serious event, Harrison’s treatment plan is a learning experience for all involved. His medicine levels are checked and adjusted, along with his heart, on a regular basis.
He continues a regimen of blood pressure medicine, which helps prevent irregular heartbeats, and baby aspirin to keep any clots from forming within the aneurysm. And when, at 14 months, fibrous clots were shown in Harrison’s echocardiogram (sonogram of the heart), a blood thinner was added to ensure they didn’t grow or dislodge and travel throughout his body.
He takes the medicine, generally without complaint, in liquid form four times a day. Each portion has to be precisely measured out, which falls to the task of Harrison’s Mom, Mallory, who is also a registered nurse. She has always checked his doses diligently, even recognizing an improper prescription by their pharmacy.
However, despite the doctor appointments, the rarity, and a treatment that is always changing, Mallory said he has always appeared healthy, and met each milestone that has come his way.
“He has had multiple 24-hour heart monitors and only had occasional irregular heartbeats, which is great,” she said. “His heart has always functioned normally and as long as it continues to do so we don’t have to consider open-heart surgery.”
How We Can Help
Few events take place to solely benefit the American Heart Association, and even fewer for pediatric patients. On May 1st, the AHA is hosting a walk/run to raise awareness and funds; friends and family of Harrison will gather to participate in the event.
Local folks can sign up to run or walk the 5k event, or those who can’t make it can make a donation on Harrison’s page.