Father’s, Frogs & the ‘Cardiac Club’

Five-year-old Ari Schultz has already had three open-heart surgeries in his short life. His reaction when he finds out he’s going home after almost 200 days in the hospital will make your day. Source: abcnews.com

My dad’s side of the family has a genetic defect that causes major cardiac abnormalities. I’ve spent more time than you can imagine sitting in cardiac ICU, meeting with cardiologists and waiting out cardiac surgeries. I’ve met lots of other “Cardiac Club” patients and families — -including lots of kids.

The last surgery my father had at UCLA, the one that was one too many for his fragile heart, we were in the pre-op holding room and there was a sweet 8 year old girl on the other side of the curtain waiting to have a heart transplant.

Understandably, she was scared out of her mind and she was crying. My dad kept commenting to me and the doctor how concerned he was that this little girl was so upset.

Finally, he couldn’t bear to hear her crying, so he called over to her and said, “Don’t be afraid. You’ll be okay. Do you want to sing a song about frogs?” Her mom pulled back the curtain, the girl sniffled and my dad starting singing his frog song.

Come on! Sing along!

The very same frog song that he sang to us as kids on road trips, at dinner and around the campfire. The little girl started mouthing the words, stopped crying and even managed a wee smile. And turns out he was right, she sailed through the transplant surgery.

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Half Dome with Dad!

So when I saw this little boy, bounding about with his new heart, it really brought a tear to my eye. There’s so many unseen hours of worry and tears, incredible doctors and tender loving care from nurses who worked so hard to get Ari to this moment.

Irregardless of our own outcomes, this is a win for everyone who’s been in the Cardiac Club. So, Ari, go play ball. Go run those bases. Go see a Red Sox game with your dad.

And hey, go catch a frog or two.

Written by

Kids & Teen Culture, Content & Community Strategist | Kidtech Privacy | Author “Gen Z Frequency” | Kid/Teen Mental Health + Digital Wellbeing

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