2/27/2012 10:10 AM
By Clare Almand
Ever since I was born, following a surgery, friends, family and acquaintances would ask my mother, “Is she OK now?” or “Is she all fixed up now?” And my mother would always say, “No.” I think it was difficult dealing with the same question over and over again and not wanting to have to explain that her daughter had something that couldn’t just be “fixed.” (And after reading this, my mother maintained that it is still difficult to answer that question as she still gets asked that even now).
It’s one of those things that I have trouble putting into words. I’ve been through a lot. And there was a time when I felt betrayed because I did think that I was fixed, only to find out years later, however, that wasn’t the case at all.
Still, I am very lucky. I’ve had so many surgeries that it’s not something that I fear. I will be in the hospital again. I will have surgery again. I will probably have issues with bleeding after surgery again that will make me turn into the terrible patient that I so often am. And I’ll be really mad about it for a little while. Then I’ll get over it and move on.
But instead of dread for the future, I have a serious confidence issue. I think I’m kind of a big deal. And when I walk into a room, even if I don’t know anyone else there, I assume that I’m probably one of the most amazing people, if not the most amazing person, in the room.
That kind of confidence might sound off-putting. Just to be clear, I’m not on some ego trip. I am quiet, unassuming, polite and non-confrontational. But I know that I am incredibly strong mentally and physically. I don’t go around announcing to everyone that I’ve had 10 heart surgeries and have been through things they can’t even imagine. I just use that knowledge to propel me forward during times when I’m not sure I can handle whatever is going on in my life. Because the biggest concerns in my life right now are not heart-related. And that’s kind of amazing for someone who’s not corrected.
Clare Almand was born with Shone’s syndrome and has undergone a repair for coarctation of the aorta, multiple atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect repairs, aortic valve replacement and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation. She has a B.A. in Media Arts and Design with a minor in Creative Writing from James Madison University. Clare pushes paper during the day and writes screenplays in her spare time.
3 comment(s) so far...
By Trish on
2/27/2012 1:15 PM
Re: Not Corrected
You sure are a Big Deal! You are an amazingly strong woman, and a real life lesson for all of us in perseverance and patience. We love you - even when you are a terrible patient, and "corrected" or not - we think you are pretty perfect just the way you are!
By barbara on
2/27/2012 1:43 PM
Re: Not Corrected
You are very special Clare, and a person I would really love to get to know. You seem like you have the out look of life right on. Your confidence says something about the beautiful person you are within. I wish more of us could be as sensitive and courageous as you. Your mom is very special as well as I know her and the Flood family. With caring people like that around you it's no wonder you are the beautiful person you are. I wish you the very best on your journey but something tells me you will do just fine.
By Jane Plum on
2/28/2012 8:28 AM
Re: Not Corrected
Claire, I remember when you were born and we all waited for news after your first sugery. I ran into your parents outside the OR at Children's last year after one of those surgeries, because I was there with my grandson. I've saved a copy of your article for him on my computer in case the blog isn't there when he is old enough to read and understand it. You are an inspiration. I think he will learn to be strong like you.