Galva teen, family rebounding from open-heart surgery

Doug Boock
Courtney Warner of Galva (seated) holds a heart-shaped pillow close to her as her mother Cathy pauses behind her in their Galva home on Tuesday afternoon. Courtney, 13, uses the pillow to help protect her against injury when coughing or sneezing following open-heart surgery in Peoria last week.

It’s about an hour drive from Galva to Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. But that 60 minutes can seem to alternately fly by and drag incessantly all in the same trip, depending on the reason you’re going there.

Such a trip last Thursday  had Mark, Cathy and Courtney Warner on pins and needles. In a word, it was “awful.”

“I sat in the back (seat) with her and she and I pretty much cried all the way to the hospital,” Cathy said Tuesday, Oct. 5, as her huband Mark was busy working in corn fields.

The Warners were travelling to OSF St. Francis Medical Center’s children’s hospital for open heart surgery for Courtney, an unlikely 13-year-old candidate. She had seven holes in her heart, all needing repair.

“They (doctors) told us that if we didn’t get the holes repaired, within 20 years she’d have a stroke or heart attack,” Cathy said. “So we knew what we had to do – they had to be repaired.”

It’s enough to unnerve someone much older than Courtney, let alone an eighth grader. She conceded she entered the four-hour to five-hour operation fearfully.

“Very scared,” she said, nodding affirmatively Tuesday.

For the rest of this story, see the Oct. 8 Galva News.