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Monday, March 25, 2013

Ode to Axelrod

It’s no real shocker that I’m a big fan of David A. (Need proof?  Follow this link, and this one) and that every time he sings, I feel like I need a big fat poster declaring my love for him, like every 13 year old girl that attended his concerts.  His voice is perfection.  My kids are pretty familiar with his songs, and they can sing along to his CD’s.   He’s a pretty big deal at our place.

Add another David A. to the top of the list of people I don’t know what I’d do without.  I don’t know if he sings (I’m sure he does, there’s not much he doesn’t do) but nonetheless, this guy has rapidly become a huge hit with our family.

Almost one year ago, Bogey was admitted to the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.  At the beginning of Bogey’s hospital stay, our social worker suggested we choose a primary cardiologist to take charge of Bogey’s  care.  We had met a few of the cardiologists and I had a pretty good idea of who I wanted.  Ace suggested that we go with the doctor who was caring for Bogey that day. 


2012-06-20 20.38.20

Honestly, that guy was the LAST person I would have chosen.  I felt intimidated by him ( I think it was the beard…), but Ace trusted him, and was persistent.  I took a little leap of faith, and Dr. David  Axelrod became the primary cardiologist.   I  can’t imagine where we would be had we chosen anyone else. 

Soon after Dr. Axelrod was “chosen”, Bogey was having one of his worst days (coincidently, so was I), and with all of the knowledge and background I had with congenital heart defects, hospitals, and illness (which pretty much consisted of seasons 1-6 of Grey’s Anatomy and the First Aid class I took at Ricks College) I was not on board with Bogey’s current plan of care.  I did not agree with some of the methods and medications being used.  I was ready to explode with frustration.  Ace and I took a break from the ICU and walked to the Ronald McDonald House, all the while discussing why I was not happy.  By the time we reached our destination, I was so fired up.  I told Ace that I was going back to the hospital to give that doctor a piece of my mind. 

Ace did not come with me. He wanted to make it clear that my ranting was mine alone.  He trusted Axelrod completely  (Ace also slept though several episodes of Grey’s….).  When I got back up to the CVICU, I learned that Dr. Axelrod had gone home for the day, but that I could talk to the doctor on call.  I couldn’t let a well rehearsed speech (I did a quick practice run in my head on my way to the hospital…it was a doozey) go to waste, so the poor guy on call had to listen to my problems.  It’s probably a good thing Dr. Axelrod missed out.  He might have guessed I was crazy, and he may have deserted us right on the spot!

The day things changed for me, and when I realized Dr. Axelrod was a gem, was after Bogey’s diaphragm plication  surgery.  At that point, I had been around the hospital and and the Ronald McDonald house enough to learn of other illnesses, complications, and conditions that existed.  Naturally, in my mind, Bogey would experience all of them.  One serious, and potentially life threatening condition that I had been informed of had something to do with draining chest tubes.  Bogey had draining chest tubes, so I was expecting the worst.  The thought of Bogey having this problem would not leave my mind, and the longer it festered, the more ill and anxious I became. 

I finally mustered up enough courage to approach Dr. Axelrod to ask him if Bogey’s draining chest tubes were going to lead to death.  This time, Ace was right by my side silently begging me not open my mouth.  I knew it was a risk to ask such an outrageous question, but I had to put my mind at ease.  Dr. Axelrod could have easily laughed in my face, or rolled his eyes  at my inquiry, but he didn’t.  He kept a straight face, and gave me an answer that calmed my raging imagination.  I knew then, we were going to get along just fine.

2012-06-23 10.45.08

It’s such a good thing we had that moment, since a few weeks later, we were depending on Dr. Axelrod to guide us and the doctors at Primary Children’s Medical Center through the muck that came with Bogey’s right heart and respiratory failure.  It’s a shame I can’t include all of the “I’m freaking out” e-mails I sent him, along with his “settle down, we’ll get through this” replies in this post.  (I’m not sure Blogger has enough space).  I am certain without his expertise and little nuggets of encouragement, I would still be a fretting mess, stuck in a dark corner somewhere. 

Since that PCMC gig, we have kept Axelrod in the loop.  Whenever Bogey sneezes, coughs, cries, or gives me other reasons to panic (oh, like that time he had RSV) this guy gets the call:


He has done some pretty heroic stuff for Bogey and for our family.  But here is the thing.  We’re not getting special treatment because Bogey is the cutest patient he’s ever seen, or because we’re irresistibly entertaining (Please.  We’ve lived near a Linger Longer Lounge with Sunday Jam Sessions).  It’s not even because we share the same love for the OKC Thunder (he’s a big fan…;).  Families in and out of that hospital are talking about how great Dr. Axelrod is, and how much they admire his expertise and knowledge and his level head in times of emergency and panic. 

Almost a year ago, I couldn’t even remember Dr. Axelrod’s name when he came for rounds in the mornings.  I only recognized him because of his beard.  Today however, I feel like we really should all be wearing t-shirts with his picture on them, and we should go a step beyond a poster.  We should all have huge banners hanging outside our homes, declaring Dr. Axelrod as #1!

My mom put it best when she said, “He’s worth his weight in gold.” 

Yep.  He’s reached Rock Star Status in our family. 

I hope that when Bogey looks back on this, he will have the same admiration and gratitude for Dr. Axelrod, as we do.  Honestly, the guy needs a trophy for all that he does, or maybe even a raise.  I would even go so far and say he needs a Facebook Fan page.  But for now, this blog post will have to suffice. 



(Thunder Fever has struck Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital!

As soon as Dr. Hanley sports that Thunder t-shirt for real, he’ll get a big fat blog post all about him, too.)   ;)


Todd said...

This made me cry. I love him and I don't even know him!

Todd said...

That is me, Valerie. :)