Randi Piburn walked briskly as a nurse wheeled her son down the hospital hallway.
It had been a trying 24 hours.
The day before she put her little boy’s life in the hands of surgeons, again, and sat in the St. Joseph’s Hospital waiting room for four hours as those surgeons inserted stents her 9-year-old’s heart to keep blood flowing properly.
“I’ve told you before we’re on borrowed time but I want more borrowed time,” she said with a sleepy look on her face. "That’s what I want. I want more borrowed time.”
If time is running low, you’d never know it by listening to Eric Piburn. We first met the joyful little boy in January, when 10News WTSP helped arrange for Eric, a "Wheel of Fortune" megafan, to “meet” the show’s hosts, Pat Sajak and Vanna White, in a satellite interview.
“That was so amazing!” he shouted after seeing the game show stars on screen.
Seven months later, still saddled with the need for new heart and lung transplants, he hasn’t lost his exuberance, despite the more frequent hospital visits.
“It only took one night to get me better,” he said gleefully. “Only one night!”
Eric proudly showed off his X-rays of the stents surgeons placed in his heart as if displaying a piece of artwork.
“That is the inside of me,” he said.
The surgical mask covering his mouth couldn’t hide his happy tone.
The transplant that his family has hoped for isn’t an option right now, according to medical professionals. The risk is too great. Eric’s body would most likely reject a new heart and lungs.
For now, they will continue to live life to the fullest, checking items off Eric’s bucket list as they can afford to, and plan to return to the same hospital in six months for another, hopefully, life-extending heart surgery.
When asked how he felt after this latest procedure, his familiar smile lit up the room.
“Excited and happy and playful!”
More highlights from Eric's experiences: