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Transferring My Care

Sep 21

Posted by: ACHA
9/21/2012 10:28 AM  RssIcon

By Clare Almand

When I first told my cardiologist about my plans to move to New York in January, she recommended I see a cardiologist there, just to let them know I was there and so I would have someone to see in case anything went wrong. Because I need to be told 18,000 times to complete a task, I didn’t do that.

I stalled at first because I knew there was a chance that New York wouldn’t work out. My internships might not be what I wanted or they wouldn’t turn into a job or maybe I just wouldn’t be able to transition to city life. When it became clear that I was staying in April after being offered a job, I still didn’t make an appointment, because I planned on going home to see my regular cardiologist in June, like always.

Finally, at the continued urging of my cardiologist (not just when I saw her—in phone calls and e-mails, too; I almost thought that if I didn’t make an appointment soon, she would come up to New York and hunt me down), I made an appointment to see a doc who specializes in adults with CHD. I wasn’t nervous. I felt ready. My mother even offered to come up from Virginia to go with me, but I declined. I’m a grown-up.

The appointment went smoothly. I didn’t need an echo and the EKG was normal (for me.) The physician assistant was nice and friendly. She had spent a year of her residency at my old hospital and so we gushed for a few minutes about how wonderful it is for kids and the doctors we both knew and loved. Then I met my new cardiologist. As I expected, he was very personable and easy to talk to. He listened to my concerns; he gave me recommendations and wrote me prescriptions. Then he said, “Now that you’re transferring your care here, I’d like to see you three times a year.” And for the first time that day, I hesitated.

“Transferring your care” stopped me in my tracks. Because I’m not ready to not see the doctors and nurses that I’ve seen every six months since I was a baby. He wanted me to make my next appointment for January and I couldn’t help but think, “That’s unnecessary, because I’m seeing my people in December.” How can I stop going to the hospital where I spent my first three months of life, had all ten surgeries and numerous other procedures, spent two spring breaks, and celebrated my 11th birthday, one New Year’s and Christmas?

I have never been good with moving on. I don’t like change. I don’t like letting go of people I’m close to, who I trust, and who I’ve known for years. I’ll have you all know that I plan on two-timing my New York and D.C. cardiologists for at least the next year, while I transition into a new phase of care and a new phase of my life.

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 works at a TV production company and writes screenplays in her spare time. 

Copyright ©2012 ACHA

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5 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Transferring My Care

I transferred my care to an adult clinic this year and went through the same emotions! I actually cried when I wrote my former cardiologist a thank you card. Luckily for me, I'm at Children's in DC which is a joint clinic with Washington Hospital Center so I can keep tabs on my old doctor when I want.

By Katie on   9/21/2012 11:41 AM
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Re: Transferring My Care

Went to an adult congenital heart doctor once but ended up "moving on" to another adult congenital heart doctor because I didn't like the first one. But leaving my peds to the adult was hard transition. I still think about my peds cardiologist and how things were different on the peds side.

By joanne on   9/21/2012 12:41 PM
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Re: Transferring My Care

Very very interesting. I also have Shone's. I do love my cardiologist sooo much. I just can't phathom him not being my doctor. Good luck to you!

By yvette on   9/21/2012 2:46 PM
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Re: Transferring My Care

I am 35 years old and I still go to Colorado Children's Hospital, thats the thing I am not ready to move to ACHD (Adult Congenital Heart Doctor) my next app is October 10th and he is bringing somone over from University Hospital who specialize in Adults with CHD but he told me if I wasn't confortable then I didn't have to transfer. Who knows I may be ready we will see in a few weeks. I actually started over at University years ago when I was a baby bevause thats where the cardiac peds doctors/surgeons were, until they transfered to Childrens Hospital than I went there in the lat 80's early 90's where I traded every 6 months from Dr. Wiggins to Dr. Wolfe, until 1996 when I started having what seemed like heart flutters than I seen Dr. Schaffer who spealized in Arrythmias and have been seeing him ever since 1996. I was born with a complex heart defect know as TOF (Tetratlogy of Fallot) but it was the complex kind with PA (Pulmonary Atresia) and DORV (Double outlet right ventricle) and extra hole in my atrium chambers. guess when I went from Dr. Wiggins to Wolfe guess I was two timming but they both knew I was seeing eachother.

By Nikki on   9/21/2012 2:47 PM
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Re: Transferring My Care

I have had 4 open heart surgeries and I really get the part about "change"!! I am 54 yrs old and have only had 2 cards and 3 surgeons in my life..PC's and "local" cards are the issue for me since we are a few hours from NYC. I don't trust and I really do not like changes in doctors! Best of luck to all..we have to move on! :)

By Dana Kalbacher on   9/23/2012 6:21 PM

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