Houston, there’s no more problem

Published 11:59 pm Thursday, June 4, 2009

It’s now a wait and see atmosphere at the Houston, Texas, hospital for the family of 3-year-old Dylon Smith of Andalusia.

It took more than eight hours in surgery to repair Smith’s rare congenital heart defect called a “circumflex aorta.” His parents, Matt and Shelli, are breathing a sigh of relief as one of the biggest parts of their journey is over, but now, the family must wait and watch as he recovers.

Last May, a routine check-up at his local doctor’s office revealed Dylon had a heart murmur. The doctor sent the Smith family to a specialist who uncovered that Dylon suffered from a multitude of health problems — all of which were life-threatening if not corrected, primarily one which made it difficult for Dylon’s heart to pump enough blood.

Last week, complications prompted the doctors to move up Smith’s surgery, which was set for the middle of this month.

“He started having more difficulty breathing,” Matt Smith said. “There was more pressure being placed on his trachea, which made him cough more. So, doctors had to move the surgery up.”

Smith said Dylon went to Pensacola, Fla., last Friday for treatment. He was released on Saturday and joined his family Sunday for the flight to Houston. The group, which includes grandparents, one uncle and the family pastor, has spent the last two days waiting for Dylon to go into surgery.

At 7 a.m. Thursday, the family watched as he was wheeled into the operating room. By 3 p.m., word was he was doing fine.

“Our last word was he was on the bypass machine and everything was going good,” Smith said. “They were getting ready to start the repairs on the aorta.”

Shortly after 4 p.m., the family heard the greatest news — the surgery was over and Dylon was doing fine.

“He’s such a trouper,” Smith said.

Dylon showed little sign of being scared before the surgery, Smith said.

“The last thing he wanted to do before they gave him the medicine was he wanted to talk to his identical twin brother, Houston,” he said. “He hung up and said, ‘I’m ready.’ ”

Dylon may have been ready, but his family wasn’t.

“It’s so hard when your child is sick,” Smith said. “We’re doing the best we can, but it’s in God’s hands and the surgeons’ (hands). We’re trying to keep everyone updated. We’re all praying and waiting. That’s all we can do.”

Smith said once the surgery is complete, his son will stay in the intensive care unit for two to four days, before being transferred to a regular floor room for week. Family members are hopeful that Dylon will then be discharged, but doctors are requiring him to stay in the area to do follow-up visits before returning to Andalusia six weeks from then.

Thanks to the donations from family members and the local community, the family is staying in a hotel in Houston until Dylon is released to come home.

Family, friends and well-wishers can keep up with Dylon’s recovery on the family’s blog: http://dylonhoustonlaetonreid.blogspot.com.