11/5/2012 1:11 PM
By Clare Almand
I’m extremely lucky. My condition is not so severe that it affects my everyday life all that much. I take medication daily and once a month I test my INR and transmit my ICD reading over the phone. And of course, every six months I see my cardiologist. But that’s basically it. And while that’s a good thing, there are some instances where I believe my lax attitude about my CHD is a disadvantage.
Hurricane Sandy hit New York City pretty hard. My roommates and I were fortunate enough to be in an area of Brooklyn that got through practically unscathed. We lost our cable and internet Monday night, but regained it by the next morning. Because the subway was flooded (like it was everywhere), we were able to spend most of the rest of the week in our apartment with electricity and water.
Again, I was lucky. But what if I hadn’t been? Not at any point did I wonder about what I would do if I had an emergency during the storm or if I had that emergency without electricity or a way of communicating with my doctors or the hospital. My biggest concern was whether or not I had work the next day.
On Wednesday, I went to work. I called a cab successfully in the morning, but when it came time to leave around 6 p.m., no one wanted to go to Brooklyn. It took me three hours to get home. It was such a hellish experience that when I couldn’t get a cab the next morning, I didn’t go in to work.
When the gas shortage continued to affect the cabs coming in and out of Brooklyn the next day, I considered walking. After being cooped up in the apartment for a couple days, I was kind of excited for the 5.5-mile trek into Midtown Manhattan. But I ultimately decided against it. My biggest fear was even if I made it into the city, would I have enough time to get things done at work and still leave early enough to make the journey back home before nightfall? I was worried about being stranded in the city in the dark. I was only partly concerned about something going wrong with my heart and not being able to complete the walk to my office.
I know I’m not supposed to live in fear and it’s clear that I don’t, but shouldn’t I have a little more fear than I do? After thinking more about it this weekend, I’m glad I didn’t attempt the almost-10K to my office. I will try it sometime, but it’ll definitely be on a day where I know I can get a cab if for some reason I can’t finish the walk.
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
2 comment(s) so far...
By Joanne on
11/5/2012 4:59 PM
Re: Not Afraid Enough
Hi. This is unrelated to your post. Seeing that you live in NYC, wondering who and where is your cardiologist. I need a new one since mine just left . Please let me know. Pls email/message me. Thanks!
By Linday on
11/8/2012 8:05 PM
Re: Not Afraid Enough
Hi Clare! I happened to see you went to JMU! I am currently a senior at JMU and just wanted to say hey and good luck!