Mom’s note: It’s hard to wrap your head around your young friend having half a heart, when his heart seems so big. Today our friend Logan Bushaw travels to St. Louis to begin the process of finding a new heart. It’s a day Logan’s parents, Natalie and Ben, have been preparing for since before he was born, knowing he had half of a heart and myriad health complications. But with Logan and his twin brother Owen’s 13th birthday coming up this month, it’s hard to believe how fast time flies, and that they’ve arrived at this critical juncture. I still remember eating Subway sandwiches with Natalie on a picnic bench in the garden of the hospital where she waited for seven weeks before the twins were born, knowing complex medical issues would lie ahead. Owen and Logan are monochorionic/monoamniotic twins, one of the rarest forms of identical twins. Each had multiple congenital defects with Logan having a severely underdeveloped heart, weak lungs and airways and, as Natalie and Ben describe it, “his insides all a little backwards.”
Natalie chose to treat her lengthy hospital stay like a mini holiday: painting her nails, catching up with friends, and reading magazines, while dispatching her doting husband to run errands and set up cribs. She made it seem like great luck—mandatory time away from work before the midnight feedings and diaper changing began. She parents with that very same unfailingly upbeat attitude and unwavering faith. “Blessed beyond measure” reads the message on one of her favorite bracelets.
Our kids have known each other since birth because their mommies like to have play dates as often as possible. Sometimes, kids tolerate those family get togethers, but we got lucky, and a friendship blossomed: Oscar and Logan in particular struck up a special bond—sealed with fart jokes and video game battles. Occasionally, after a Mexican dinner or climbing through the ropes course at Nickelodeon Universe, Oscar will ask me a question: Why do Logan’s lips look blue? What do all of his medications do? But when they’re together, the two of them are just regular boys—making a lot of noise and messes and chaos. As it should be.
I wasn’t sure how Logan would feel about sitting down with Oscar to talk about heavy stuff. And I worried a bit about what Oscar would ask. But then Natalie and I got busy gabbing a mile a minute, and the boys, who appeared to be goofing around, actually had the greatest conversation that will, well, melt your heart.
By Oscar Wolfe
I have known Logan since I was a baby. I never treated him differently because he didn’t act differently. The only way you would know that he was born with half a heart is if someone told you. Normally, he just can’t run as fast or as long as most kids, but sometimes it’s much more serious. On Monday he will be going to St. Louis Children’s Hospital to get ready for his heart transplant. Somehow, he manages to stay completely positive as you will see in this interview I had with him.
First of all, for all of the people who don’t know, could you just explain what medical condition you have?
I have a single ventricle heart disease, which means I have half a heart and my left ventricle is not there, in my heart, which also makes my heart small.
Does your condition hurt you?
Nope. Not really.
You have to take a lot of medicine, right?
Yes, nine each day. It’s really annoying and some of them are gross but it helps you stay alive so I guess it’s okay.
I can’t swallow pills. How did you learn?
I just did it. In fourth grade, I couldn’t swallow capsules, but now it’s a piece of cake!
How do you stay positive?
You really just don’t have to think about it and do what normal kids do and hang out with normal kids and you feel like a normal kid.
What’s the hardest part?
Probably not having as much stamina as a lot of the kids in my school, and my friends.
I know you play a lot of basketball. Is it harder for you?
I can’t stay in the game that long just because I don’t have as much stamina. I can’t be as physical as some of the other players, because, you know, you just kind of have to be careful when you have half a heart.
Have you ever been teased or bullied?
A few times, but I’m not really bothered by that, considering the people who do that, I don’t really know well. There was one guy who did that, and it was one of my friends’ brothers, and now we’re really good friends.
Can you tell us about the transplant?
It’s a simple concept, but at the same time it’s a difficult concept. What you do is, they take the half heart out. And you’re under anesthesia so you’re asleep and you can’t feel anything. And they take the heart out—by the way, the chest is cut open—and they place a new heart in and they connect everything to the heart and make it just like a regular heart.
What do you do to pass the time in the hospital? At some points it must be boring.
I play video games and watch video games.
Obviously there are lots of cons…are there any good things that come out of heart disease?
I mean, kinda. You get to do a Make a Wish most of the time, you get to go to the doctor all the time.
Get to?! That’s a good thing?
Yeah! The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is really nice. And, you skip school.
That’s cool. I know you don’t really like school….but in school, what’s your favorite subject?
Is recess a subject?
Is lunch a subject?
Is gym a subject?
Yeah. Gym then.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A YouTube person with 13 million subscribers.
Thirteen is my favorite number.
How weird! That’s the unlucky number!
I know right, it’s so weird.
What type of videos will you post?
Video game videos.
Anything bad about video games?
There isn’t anything.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Who’s your dream girlfriend?
I am not saying right now.
Will your dream girl also be a YouTuber?
Yes. She will.
I should ask about your twin brother.
He’s annoying. But I love him.
Does your brother share any health issues with you?
We don’t share any, but he has four fingers.
Yeah, that’s an interesting one. But you’d never notice unless you looked.
Yeah, or unless he told you.
Do you know any other kids that have the same heart things as you?
Not personally, no.
What do you think they’re like?
So they like YouTube and video games?
Probably. Because they can’t do a lot of other stuff.
That’s a good point. Do you think most of them stay as positive as you?
No. Not to be rude, or anything.
What advice do you have for other kids going through the same challenges?
Stay positive, and if you don’t feel happy, just go to your friends and family. And faith in God will help you as well. Mic drop.
You can follow Logan’s journey at CaringBridge.
The Bushaws recently founded Logan Loves, with a mission of bringing joy and healing to children staying at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. They plan to carry out this mission by providing various products and services that Logan loves, such as comfy pillows and over-the-door basketball hoops. Kids don’t always get to enjoy the comforts or fun of home during a time of illness, so Logan Loves is working with businesses to bring those things to the hospital.