Before commending Dr. Craig Egan and Dr. Lisa McMahon, I want to commend Phoenix Children's Hospital. The place is amazing. It's like Disneyland and a children's hospital, all at once. The place exudes warmth, love, compassion, positivity, and hope. It's the nicest hospital that I have ever been to, and my wife and I cannot recommend it highly enough!
Now for the doctors. Since my son's case was complicated --- he had pectus excavatum and rib flaring --- Dr. Egan brought in the calvary. And so it was that he and Dr. McMahon worked for 5 straight hours on Ryan, my son. The surgery was 6 hours, but the first hour was spent getting the incision sites sterile, draped, etc.
Dr. Egan and Dr. McMahon did a fantastic job! But now for the rest of the story.
The day after surgery, Dr. Egan visited Ryan. But it wasn't the typical hospital room visit. Dr. Egan wasn't in any hurry. He helped me get Ryan out bed, go to the bathroom, and get back in bed. He also spent a lot of time talking with us. I was blown away. This isn't the norm for a lot of doctors. But then again, Dr. Egan isn't the norm. He's exceptional. His kindness and compassion rival his amazing surgical skills. In short, he's a class act.
Back when my wife and I were trying to find the surgeon who could best help Ryan, Gary, one of my mountain bike friends told me about Dr. Egan. He said his son was slated to have nuss bar surgery with Dr. Egan, and that I should check out Dr. Egan. And I'm so, so happy that I did!
Life is funny. What are the odds that I'd coach Gary's son on my school's mountain bike team, and that his son would need the same surgery that Ryan would, and that he'd lead me to Dr. Egan? What are the odds?! It was amazing. And meant to be!
Ryan had minor pectus excavatum combined with bilateral rib flaring of the 7th-9th ribs. The result of this was that Ryan was getting progressively more and more out of breath as he played league basketball. This was due to his sternum pushing on his heart (limiting his heart's ability to pump blood) and his misshaped ribs (limiting how well his lungs could expand). The result was twofold: his lungs couldn't send enough oxygen to his heart, and his heart couldn't pump the oxygenated blood as effectively. This was beginning to limit his endurance on the basketball court.
When Dr. Egan said that he could fix both issues in one surgery, we were sold on him. We had seen another pediatric surgeon (not part of PCH) about Ryan, but he said that Ryan would require 2 surgeries! Why put your kid through two surgeries, especially when one surgery could get everything done?
But another huge selling point for Dr. Egan was PCH's pain management approach. They proactively took steps to limit the pain (instead of just putting your kid on high levels of narcotics). PCH's pain approach made sense to us. A few weeks before surgery Ryan started on gabapentin (neurontin), 3x a day. (Eventually, about 3 weeks after surgery, Ryan started to wean off of the gabapentin altogether. This medication limits nerve pain. The morning of surgery Ryan got a one-time shot of methadone to further limit pain. After surgery Ryan was given Tylenol, ibuprofen, and low levels of oxycodone. A week after surgery, Ryan got off the oxycodone altogether. And now, 3 weeks after, he takes only a little ibuprofen and tylenol for pain.
Today marks the 20th day after surgery for Ryan. He's doing great! Sure, he has some pain, but the pain is manageable. It's not debilitating. Ryan is up and walking and well on his way back to the basketball court!