Phil Lustig

Phil Lustig

It is May 25th and after months of planning, negotiations and some frustration we at last had an arrival date and time for our latest Gift of Life child. Marie Chandrika from Trinidad is arriving today with her mom Radha at Miami International Airport

I picked up Radha and Marie at Miami International Airport early this afternoon. Also on board this flight was District 7030 PDG Leslie Harripaul who was coming to Miami for a surgical procedure of his own. PDG Leslie is head of Gift of Life Trinidad and was instrumental in getting all the arrangements made for Marie and Radha at his end. As soon as they cleared customs we were off to Joe DiMaggio Childrens Hospital (JDCH) in Hollywood. When we arrived at JDCH we were rushed through the admission process and were escorted up to the Pediatric Heart Station. The people at JDCH in the Heart Station area are unbelievable. What a fantastic group of caring and concerned nurses and technical people. I stayed with Radha and Marie while Marie was having her echo done. The folks from the unit were to take Marie and her mom over to The Conine Clubhouse and get them settled in for the night. When I left at about 3:20 the plan was for Radha to have Marie back in the unit at 6:30 Wednesday AM for her cardiac cath and for an echo under sedation. The surgery was scheduled for Thursday AM and I was going to ask if anyone could go down to JDCH to sit with Radha while Marie was in the OR. Shortly after I got home I received a call from the hospital – the plan had changed! The surgery had been pushed forward and would take place early Wednesday AM.

Early Wednesday morning my wife, Peg, & I went down to JDCH. We were there in time to see Radha hand Marie to the nurses for her operation. We stayed with Radha until Marie was back in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Seeing a helpless baby (or more accurately almost not being able to see the baby because of all the tubes, hoses, wires, leads, and machinery) is rather frightening. I had warned Radha about this because the 1st time one encounters this it literally can take your breath away. Radha called her husband Nigel to tell him the operation had been completed and was a suc cess.

On Friday I was able to spend some time with Radha and Marie. Marie was in some pain but the doctors had already started taking her off the pain meds and were in the process of removing some of the wires, leads, hoses and tubes.

Saturday (yesterday) Peg and I went to JDCH with Zee Aganovic, President of The Rotary Club of Boca Raton Sunrise. The Sunrise club was very generous with a large gift to our GOL program. We spent over an hour alternating who was in the PICU with Marie and Radha. The initial plan had been to take Radha out to lunch but she wanted to stay with Marie while she was awake – and she was fully awake. Her condition was VASTLY IMPROVED! Almost all the leads, wires et al were gone, her smile has returned and she was trying to get down off Radha’s lap to run around. We were all amazed!

I just got off the phone with the nurses station at the PICU and with Radha (12:30PM Sunday). AGAIN THE PLAN SEEMS TO HAVE CHANGED! Yesterday they discussed releasing Marie on Monday. After rounds today the date may have moved until Tuesday? As I have said in earlier posts this is a “day-to-day” decision based on the patient’s condition.

I have attached some photos Peg took yesterday of Marie and Radha is the PICU. I will be going down to JDCH in the AM to talk with the Drs. And see if we can get a “hard date” for Marie’s relea