Aiden's hopes for 2005

FOR the young Bloss family, 2004 was a very long year. Parents Duncan and Emma put their son Aiden through major surgery after he was born with a severe heart defect, so the year was a constant merry-go-round of hospital visits.

FOR the young Bloss family, 2004 was a very long year.

Parents Duncan and Emma put their son Aiden through major surgery after he was born with a severe heart defect, so the year was a constant merry-go-round of hospital visits.

Now back at home for the new year, Aiden is finally on the road to recovery as SARAH GILLETT found.

LOOKING into Aiden Bloss's big, smiley eyes, you would never guess what a turbulent 12 months the one-year-old has endured.

Born on December 28, 2003, the first year of his life saw him undergo risky open heart surgery to correct a complicated series of problems in his tiny heart.

In the future he will face more surgery but, for now, his parents Duncan Bloss and Emma Blower, of Laxfield, near Framlingham, are looking forward to a much more relaxed 2005.

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Emma said: “The doctors don't think he will need anything else doing for about two years so we are hoping that we can try and put it to the back of our minds, and just enjoy doing what normal parents do.”

Duncan, 21, said: “We'd like to be able to take him on holiday this year. That would be great.”

This Christmas marked a real turning point in Aiden's recovery, and the family hope 2005 will bring a much-needed reprieve from the continual hospital visits and anxiety of the past year.

Emma said: “It really feels like everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong.”

Aiden was born with a hole in his heart and two blood vessels going into the right-hand side of it, instead of one on either side.

When The Evening Star visited the family last summer they were waiting for Aiden to have a Rastelli operation which would have closed the hole in his heart, redirected one of the vessels, and created a new valve and vessel.

A series of delays meant that he did not go into hospital until October 4, and when they got him in to surgery his heart was not strong enough to cope with the planned operation.

Instead surgeons put a shunt in, to help open up the vessels temporarily, but this will need to be replaced in around two years time.

Emma, 19, said: “The right side of his heart was not quite strong enough, so the surgery they have done now is to try and ease the problems rather than cure them completely.

“Normally they would have been able to do this by just making a small incision in his side but they had to open his chest up completely to have a look at the heart.”

Aiden was in hospital for four weeks, and complications during surgery meant a fat duct in his chest was damaged.

Emma said: “He had been making quite a good recovery and they had removed his chest drains but after about a week he started breathing erratically and became really quite unwell.

“They did an x-ray and scans and decided he had a massive build-up of fluid round his lungs and one of them had collapsed.”

He then had to have an emergency operation to fit another chest drain. Tests showed that the fluid was a fatty substance known as chyle.

Emma said: “Every time he was having any fat in his diet it was leaking through the damaged duct and collecting around his lung.”

Aiden then had to be put on a very low fat diet, where he was eating no more than 1g of fat a day until the duct healed.

Emma said: “It was very difficult for all of us. He became very grumpy as the milk he had to drink was disgusting. It smelled like grease and he refused to drink it. In the end they had to give it to him via a tube in his nose.

“He just got very depressed and down because he was stuck in this one room and could not go and play like the other children. He was in there for just over four weeks and he was not allowed out of his room during that time. We stayed in a little cubicle with him but it was a very difficult time.”

Emma said they could not have got through it without the support of her parents, Darryl and Teresa Blower of Melton, who made regular visits up to the hospital to give the couple a break.

She said: “They've been fantastic and supported us all the way through. I don't know what we would have done without them.”

Aiden was eventually allowed home on November 4 but was still suffering badly with chest problems.

Emma said: “I've never heard him that wheezy before. It was difficult because the doctors had said he was going to be so much better than before when he came home.

“I don't think the reality of it all hit me until we came home. At the hospital we just took every day as it came but when we got back it was like having a completely different child. Nothing was normal.

“We could not go out of the room without him screaming, and if strangers touched him he would cry. “He was just very nervous and I think he'd had enough of being pulled around.”

In a few years Aiden will need more surgery, either to replace the shunt that was put in, or a bigger operation to correct the problems on a more permanent basis.

He will continue to have to take a cocktail of medication but, for now, the family are looking forward to the next year.

They spent Christmas with both sets of Aiden's grandparents and said Aiden is beginning to get back to his old self.

Emma said: “It's only just been the last week where he's started to get back to himself. It's been a nightmare but things are starting to get back to normal.”

After losing a lot of weight while on the low-fat diet Aiden is starting to put it back on, and he is also turning in to something of a chatterbox.

Emma said: “He can say 'dada', 'mum' and 'Blue', which is the name of my mum's dog. You quite often put him down to sleep and he'll lay there mumbling for ages.”

On December 28 Aiden celebrated his birthday with a small party at the family's home in Laxfield, surrounded by those who have helped him through his difficult first year.

Emma said: “I think what we would all ask for in the New Year is for him to carry on putting the weight on, and to hope that the new shunt does its job.

“It has been a nightmare but, hopefully, we can relax a bit more now.”

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Do you know a youngster who has an inspiring story to tell? Write to the newsdesk, Evening Star Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarnews.co.uk.

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