Hi, my name is Mark Mascheck. I'm 37 years old, married with three children. I was recently diagnosed with an anomalous right coronary artery [a congenital heart abnormality]. My first reaction was shock. My doctors in Connecticut had little to no experience with this condition. They did know, however, that it could be fatal and probably should have been already. On top of this news, the doctors informed me that I had Wolfe-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome [a rare cause of sudden death due to an additional electrical connection between the upper and lower chambers of the heart]. My local doctors pointed me toward Houston, Texas, for a specialist. So, my family and I booked our flights and were ready to head down to the Lonestar State.
As fate would have it, a friend of ours told us about Peter Lang, MD, at Children's Hospital Boston. He specializes in Pediatric Cardiology. After a few phone calls with Terry Saia, PNP, and his staff, we were asked to come in for an evaluation. Dr. Lang assured us that even though what I had was rare, his staff and the hospital had seen it and corrected it several times. In one day with Dr. Lang and his team, we had all the information we needed to make a sound decision for my future.
First up was to fix the WPW problem and that brings in Edward Walsh, MD, who specializes in Cardiac Electrophysiology. Six catheters and five hours later, my WPW problem was no more, and they had successfully mapped out my coronary artery for my next surgery. At this point, we realized what a wonderful staff Children's has. My wife and I kept commenting on how nice and informative everyone was. We went through three labor and deliveries at another hospital with my children, and none of them compared to the staff at Children's.
Two months later, it was time for my open heart surgery to fix the anomalous coronary artery. I was lucky enough to have cardiac surgeon Pedro del Nido, MD, perform the procedure. We knew he must be pretty good when every time we mentioned his name people said, "He's one of the best. You're in great hands." They were right. The surgery went off without a hitch, and I was up and walking within a day of the operation.
The Cardiac Unit was fantastic, and I was lucky enough to have Paige Pruitt, RN, as my nurse. I'm not sure how she managed it, but she always had a smile on her face. Being treated at a kid's hospital was unbelievable. I was a little skeptical to say the least about coming here for surgery. As it turns out, it was the best decision I ever made.
The patient care was so comforting for my wife and children. My kids were in awe of the entire Children's facility. There was a neat playroom on the cardiac floor where they could go play while visiting me. The playroom allowed them to have fun and take a break from worrying about their dad. I can only imagine how much the playroom helps the children who are actual patients. It certainly helped my children get through a very emotional time. It gave them a little time to forget the real reason for their visit.
I'm now home with my family, getting back into the swing of things. I can't help but think that somehow I've been given a second chance. My family and I will forever be grateful to the staff at Children's for everything you've done for us.