By Liz Verley, Staff Writer
Family and friends of Carol and Joe Poegel will host a benefit for the family Saturday, May 5, at the Long Prairie American Legion.
On March 30, the Poegels became the parents of fraternal twin boys, Ben and Eli. They also have a set of fraternal twin girls, Anna and Tabitha who are 20 months old. Joe said, “The doctors told us the odds of having natural twins twice and both being fraternal are one in four million.”
Eli, the first born, weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and is a healthy baby with dark curly hair. Ben weighed 7 pounds. 3 ounces at birth and was born with Tetrology of Fallout Pulmonary Atresia. They were born at the University of Minnesota Hospital, where Ben remains.
Pulmonary Atresia is a form of heart disease that occurs from birth (congenital heart disease), in which the pulmonary valve does not form properly. The pulmonary valve is an opening on the right side of the heart that regulates blood flow from the right ventricle (right side pumping chamber) to the lungs.
In Pulmonary Atresia, a solid sheet of tissue forms where the valve opening should be, and the valve stays closed. Because of this defect, blood from the right side of the heart cannot go to the lungs to pick up oxygen.
Joe said, “Ben also has a hole in his heart which the doctors will fix with a Kevlor patch when he is three or four months old (at 15 pounds). And they will fix his pulmonary artery at the same time. The artery will be reconstructed from a jugular vein of a cow. We are hoping Ben will be able to join us at the Ronald McDonald house while waiting for the surgery, but we will have to wait and see.”
Ben has recovered from a urinary track infection and a blood clot that developed on the pick line that goes into his heart. He soon will have his feeding tube removed and he will be back to being fed breast milk. This will be the second time for the breast milk as it was stopped when he got an infection.
The Poegels knew Ben would be born with a heart condition. Carol said, “It was discovered when I had a Type 2 ultrasound done at 20 weeks. It was followed up with a specialist doing an echogram. I was induced at 36 weeks.”
Money from the benefit will help the Poegels pay for transportation, food, housing and medical costs while they are unable to work.
The Poegels noted Ben is in good hands as he has seven different doctors each with their own specialty plus each doctor has six interns working with them as well as the nurses and other staff. There is one primary doctor which oversees Ben’s entire care. Joe said, “On any given day, there are 30 to 40 different people taking care of him.”
“We really thank all the people who have donated and helped out in so many ways. It is greatly appreciated,” said Joe and Carol.
A free will offering will be the cost of the dinner which will be served from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The silent auction will close at 7 p.m. There will be door prizes and music in the evening.
Supplemental funding up to $500 will be provided by Thrivent Financial For Lutherans.
Anyone wishing to make a donation or donate an item to the auction may contact Grandparents Marvin and Laurie Poegel, 306 Berkey Ave., PO Box 127, Swanville, 56382-0127 or call (320) 547-3676. Cash donations can also be sent or dropped off with Dayna Jillson, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, 406 W. Washington St., Suite 6, Brainerd, 56401 or call 1 (877) 267-0255 ext. 9921.