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Age: 1 year
At the end of last year, when she was 6 months old, tiny YeWen arrived at the China Care Home from the Chuzhou Welfare Institution struggling for every breath she took. She had complex congenital heart defects: Tetralogy of Fallor (four heart defects that affect the heart’s structure), a hole between the upper two chambers of her heart, and lung complications as well. These conditions left her with a heart murmur and a blue pallor from lack of oxygen-- when she arrived, her doctors discovered that her body oxygen concentration was only 34 percent.
YeWen was immediately placed on oxygen. Our nannies were told to keep her warm and to feed her small amounts of food frequently to ensure that she received enough nutrition. YeWen’s poor lung functions meant that the nurse had to use a suction catheter to suck out phlegm when she coughed. She also suffered from edema and labored breathing.
Our nannies worked extra hard to care for YeWen, holding her constantly and feeding her patiently. Despite the extra care, YeWen contracted chicken pox two weeks after she arrived. She became extremely weak, and we even prepared ourselves mentally to lose her. But no one gave up, and YeWen, our tiny fighter, pulled through. A few months ago, we took YeWen to see a famous cardiologist.
After a series of checkups, the cardiologist expressed confidence that YeWen could get better after heart surgery. The surgery was a success! After a week in the ICU, YeWen was discharged from the hospital. We were all thrilled to welcome her back and see her pink lips, a sign that her oxygen levels were finally normal.
Happily, YeWen’s condition has remained stable since her surgery. She takes heart medication every day and eats and sleeps well--her improved health is obvious. She gets excited when she sees the bottle in the nanny’s hands and begins to wave her arms. When lying on her back, she also kicks her legs or plays with her hands.
We will continue taking good care of YeWen so her heart can make a full recovery and she can live a long and healthy life.