Discover the Miraculous Recovery of a Teen Boy After Myocarditis Nearly Claimed His Life
Doctors Call 15-Year-Old Alex a Myocarditis Legend
As told by Alexs mom, Sue Hall
Monday, St Patricks Day 2008: Alex, my 15-year-old son, came home and just said, Hey Mom, it was weird today. I had chest pains and felt dizzy and short of breath. Our pediatrician examined Alex that day; EKG and a chest x-ray were negative and she advised to take it easy.
And so our story began.
Tuesday: Alex complains of a stomach ache but assures me he is ok to stay at school; doctor said call if pain gets worse.
Wednesday: stomach ache moves higher up and Alex calls from school to say he cant walk home because of leg pain and weakness; dr. said he most likely has a virus and to keep him home on Thursday and call if anything changed.
Thursday: were up at 4AM; Alex is weak, pale and not breathing well; off we go to the ER 5 minutes away and he is getting worse; he cant walk and one look at the doctors faces tells me its bad; medicines, IV, hook up to monitors, and tons of questions; Alex is calmer then me; within minutes, Alex is being transported to the University of Massachusetts; a large team of medical people are waiting for us upon arrival; lots of questions, tests, monitors going crazy, defibrillator pads are put on Alex and he is rushed to ICU; I tell Alex he is gonna have to fight. 6:15 AM: Alex needs to go to Childrens Hospital in Boston they have a machine that MIGHT save his life; Life Flight is grounded because of the rain, a special transport team is on the way.
My cousin, a priest, is called to bless him. We all hold hands and pray for Alex; I thought this would scare him, instead he tells Father Bill, Thank you. Alexs lungs are filling with fluid and a breathing tube is put in. I promise him I wont leave his side until he opens his eyes again and tells me I love you.
Upon arrival at Bostons Childrens Hospital, Alex is placed on ECMO, a heart lung machine. We spend hours in the waiting room, getting updates every 15 minutes. Finally, we get to see him around 5 PM. Alex needs a cardiac biopsy. Were told its risky but very important to determine what theyre dealing with. I find the chapel and pray; we wait.
Days turn into weeks and Alex is still on ECMO. Doctors are worried about brain damage. Blood clots form in the tubes and Alex has to be taken off ECMO. Alex does amazingly well, and the doctors decide to let him slowly wake-up. He cant talk because of the breathing tube, but he makes a shape of a heart with his hands and then does what looks like his fingers running fast and then he makes it look like he broke something. We figured out that he is asking if his heart is broken and still running fast. I know then that his brain is still intact. When the breathing tube comes out, Alex gasps for a breath, looked at me, and said, Love you, Mom! This is the best gift ever!
One Year Later: Alex missed the end of school but had a tutor and was able to go on to the next grade at school in September, and celebrate his 16th birthday. My life will never be the same in some ways for the better. Alex is doing amazing! He is on no medicine at all. He even played soccer this fall. Alexs cardiologists call him a Myocarditis legend. I call him my miracle!