When the family found out the diagnosis, they had three options. The first was to do nothing and have palliative care, the second, find a heart suitable to transplant into an infant, and third, have the three surgeries. Pridemore said two more open-heart surgeries followed after the first, the second when Sage was only three months and the third when he was 3 years old. “We had to make a choice of what we would want to do and we knew that a heart transplant we could have still been waiting and he could have passed,” Pridemore said.
“I was like…something is wrong. If I wasn’t a mom already, I would have just listened to what they said, but my gut was like nope, something is not right,” Pridemore said. The doctor checked him over and assured the Pridemore family that Sage was fine, but she knew that something was off.
When Sage was just three days old, the family learned he’d been born with half a heart. At just a week old, Sage would undergo his first open-heart surgery. Candice Pridemore, Sage’s mother and an ESE teacher at Keystone Elementary School, recalled that Sage was born on Jan. 26, a Friday. The following Sunday, as they prepared to leave the hospital, she noticed that he wasn’t breathing right.
Sage had contracted a norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. “We’re sad that that wasn’t our heart, but because of what they have to do to your body, they bring your immune system way low, he wouldn’t have been able to fight off that infection and they told us it probably would have killed him,” Pridemore said. Family and friends came to the hospital to celebrate. However, the night before the operation, Sage was vomiting and running a fever.
The Pridemores received news on June 21 that the hospital had found a heart for Sage and he was set to have surgery the following day. Now Sage is currently waiting on the arrival of a heart. It’s been more than 90 days since he was put on the transplant list. He’s connected to a medicine called milrinone, which helps the heart function.
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