I picked up a copy of Black Jack vol. 3 on Friday and I just finished reading the chapter “The Boy Who Came From the Sky.”
The chapter is about a Russian (Uran) military family who defects from their country in a top secret jet in order to save their son, Andrei. Andrei has a very serious heart condition known as Eisenmenger’s syndrome, which puts an extreme amount of pressure on the heart and causes a wide number of side effects, such as blue baby syndrome, which is almost exactly like it sounds. Eisenmenger’s syndrome is often caused by a ventricular septal defect (VSD) where there is nothing separating the left and right ventricles and blood flows in between them.
It’s a very very serious congenital heart defect and I’ve been living with it for more than 22 years.
Well, sort of… I actually had surgery when I was a year old to correct my VSD. I now have something there, keeping my ventricles nicely separated, but I did have Eisenmenger’s and blue baby syndrome before my surgery. As if that weren’t enough, my VSD is actually one of four heart problems I have, a part of another heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot (which Andrei did not seem to have, lucky him.)
As I read this chapter and realized that it was written about my heart condition, I realized it was written a few years before or around the time that the surgical procedures needed to save my life were perfected. (I was born a few years later when these techniques were commonplace.) Unlike Andrei, I didn’t have to be surgically attached to my mother’s lungs just to survive while they waited for fresh lung transplants. They operated on my heart before the pressure became that critical.
I’ve been chugging along for 21 years with no more surgeries since and no more needed for at least another five to ten years! My surgeon certainly had some skills akin to the miraculous Black Jack’s!
Although the story didn’t have a totally happy ending, the important thing is that Andrei was saved and in the real world medical technology has advanced far enough that people with the same VSD can be easily treated. They’re even developing minimally invasive surgical techniques in order to reduce the risk of correcting these delicate problems. It definitely eases my mind knowing that these techniques should be standard practice by the time I need surgery again.
Forgive me for all the medical jargon and all that. I just had to share this little coincidence with you. I never imagined that the great Osamu Tezuka wrote about a condition that I have –it just makes me so excited and kind of happy! I can relate to this chapter so much…