Earlier this week we visited CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) to meet the cardio-thorasic surgeon Dr. Spray and tour the hospital. After a drive down I95 we were at the hospital before we knew it, our appointment was at 11:15 so we missed all the rush hour traffic. The hospital has it's own parking so that checks one of the "must haves" on our list. Our first impressions of the hospital were good. A dedicated nurse case manager gave us a tour of the cardiac unit and answered any questions we had. She was very helpful and made Mark and me feel very comfortable with the idea of Piper having her heart surgery procedure at CHOP.
Our tour of the whole Cardiac unit included the Cardiac preparation unit, the Cardiac Care Unit and the Cardiac ICU. Liz also showed us the Ronald McDonald rooms for families. They had a TV room with chairs and refrigerators, another room with four separate bedrooms inside for parents to sleep in and a final room with computers and access to the internet. This checked another box on my list as I want to stay with Piper 24/7 while she is in hospital.
After the tour we met with Dr. Spray who was an incredibly nice surgeon; a million miles away from what Mark percieves as the typical, snobby surgeon type. He explained what would happen during the procedure and gave us the relevant statistics even though we are not big fans of statistics given our history. He gave us an idea what the size of Piper's heart is and what the size of the hole is. It's hard to imagine how a man with such big hands can do such a delicate and tiny procedure, but he does about 100 a year and is a leading expert in the field so he knows what he's doing.
We completed our tour of the hospital on our own by having lunch in the food court. The food was actually quite tasty; it certainly wasn't what I would call "hospital food". Mark was quick to point out that the food is most likey worse when it's for in-patients and not at and additional cost. This was something that stuck with us from the hospital we stayed in after Piper's birth. The hospital room and facilities were great, the food however left a lot to be desired.
So one hospital visit down, one more to go. We will have to make our decision after we visit NY Presbyterian (Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital) next week.
Merry Christmas (or as Mark being a Brit would say "Happy Christmas")!