TJ Pfannenstiel

First post: Apr 11, 2008 Latest post: Apr 10, 2013
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. It has been created to keep friends and family updated about our loved one.

My Story is the introduction to our CaringBridge site.

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Hello, we are utilizing this website as a tool to reach people who care to keep up with TJ's hospitalization. We ask that you sign the guestbook...even if its just with your name and relationship to TJ. Please keep TJ in your thoughts and prayers. Tim, Linda, Kaitlynand TJ Pfannenstiel.

This was written the evening of Thursday April 10, 2008.

Hello, I don't quite know how to write this. Yesterday at this time we were lucky to have a very vibrant bright 6-year old boy named TJ in our lives. As the evening progressed TJ who had been suffering the past week off and on with flu symptoms started complaining of his heart hurting...We thought his chest was hurting from vomiting. He also was starting to have problems breathing and of his arm hurting. To tell a long story short...we went from one emergency room to another and he got admitted to Omaha Children's Hospital with a diagnosis of Acute Myocarditis. ( The events transpired quickly...He had a heart attack and heart failure, and after what we were told was over 2 hours of CPR.(we were not allowed to be with him from about 1:00am till 5:00am..the longest time I have ever experienced in my life)..he was put on a heart/lung machine called an ECMO machine and a ventilator as well as from what I can tell multiple monitors and at least 9 pumps putting various drugs into his system. He is essentially in a drug induced coma and lowered body temperature of 36 degrees. His heart is not really functioning to any degree but they say that this is designed to give his body time to fight this virus ... there is nothing that the hospital can do to help him fight's just TJ and his immune system. The ventilator and the heart/lung machine keeps his body and organs operating. We were told not to expect much improvement for the next 7-10 days..and he will be hooked up to all these damn machines all that time. Later, we were told that part of his heart was swelling up and not draining and another part not getting enough well as one side having extremely high blood pressure and low blood pressure on the other...An emergency heart cath like procedure of which I don't even know the name of where they put a ballon that when inflated out pops tiny razor blades on it and put some holes in the walls between the chambers of the heart. The doctors indicated that it was a textbook procedure.. It balanced out the blood flow and equalized the pressure and is now allowing the lungs which were previously full of liquid blood to slowly drain. We were told the danger of this procedure was clots developing and air bubbles induced into the blood stream.The indication is we have no problems with that. Finally, TJ got a break. Another dangerous part of it was moving TJ in his bed, the heart lung machine, the ventilator and all the other contraptions as well as what must have been 15-18 nurses, doctors and specialists with literally dozens of cords and hoses dragging and getting caught from the PICU down a floor to the operating room and hours later reversing the procedure bringing him back to the PICU. The staff and doctors have been excellent in keeping us appraised of what is happening and what to expect and watch for. Both Linda's and my family have been with us as well as neighbors and messages from TJ and Kaitlyn's classmates and their families. St. Stephen's parish priest Fr. Jim Tiegs was here from 3:00am till well after 6:00am. My brothers have pitched in and handled all of our AV and show jobs for today. TJ is fighting...I'm hoping that he hears everything I am whispering into his ears. Please, Please include him in your prayers, HE IS MY BUDDY, MY BEST FRIEND and now MY HERO. Tim, Linda, Kaitlyn and Timothy Jr. "TJ" Pfannenstiel

PS: I am writing this with no sleep..I hope my explanation makes sense...If only I could understand why God somehow allowed this to happen to an innocent boy.