SAMANTHA WRIGHT ALLEN / PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN
JANUARY 26, 2015 07:42 AM
Logan Vandermeulen, heart transplant recipient, sits with his happy mom, Veronica Vandermeulen. – Citizen photo by Brent Braaten
Veronica Vandermeulen knows more than most how much can change in a year.
In January 2014, her months-old son was losing weight rapidly and fighting for his life despite the pacemaker that kept his heart pumping.
Now 16-month-old Logan is healthy after his July heart transplant. It was his fourth major surgery after two failed pacemakers and a Berlin heart, an artificial pumping device that kept his heart going for half a year while he waited for a new one.
“It went from him pretty much on death’s door to this energetic, not even sick looking child. It’s just crazy,” says Veronica, recalling how her baby lost one pound in less than a week . Eventually he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy – a deterioration of the heart muscle that can lead to heart failure.
But the mother of two can’t rest easy yet. The first year post operation is the most dangerous.
“It’s still bad, but not as bad as the first three to six months.”
She keeps him close and takes pains to contain the threat of germs – a common cold could require hospitalization. Logan’s had two colds since he returned to Prince George in September, but neither were serious.
Some family members still haven’t met Logan and Veronica rarely takes him out of the house, except for the occasional shopping trip, where she religiously wipes everything down with sanitizer.
“Including the pin pads and everything that we touch,” she says with a laugh. “People look at me like ‘What are you doing?'”
On the stroller, she’s fastened a sign: “Warning, heart warrior on board. Please do not touch the baby.” Hand sanitizer is fastened to the door back door of their home