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Anatomy of a Great ACHD Visit

Feb 18

Posted by: ACHA
2/18/2014 8:42 AM  RssIcon

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

It never fails to amaze me how happy a great visit to my ACHD doctor can make me. For me it’s like winning the lottery. There are a bunch of mixed emotions that crash together inside me. Elation at the good news. The drastic change from slight anxiousness to full-on relief. Pride in the fact that I did everything I was asked to do—and more—to get healthier. And definitely gratitude to my entire cardiac team for repairing all my heart’s broken bits and the guidance on what I should do to get healthy.

Last month was my very late one year post-op physical. This is the one that they will measure everything against in the future. Neither of my valves were leaking, I doubled my exercise output and my dosage of Carvedilol was reduced. Here’s the thing: I didn’t do anything special. Certainly, not anything that others couldn’t do. I walk every day, I take my meds on time and I eat healthy meals (most of the time).

Doing the things your doctor tells you to do might help you have a good appointment, too. For me, this meant I got to walk away with a smile on my face.

Jon Ritchings, Jr., is a 40-year-old father who was born with pulmonary atresia and hypoplastic right heart syndrome. Although he has made a career in retail, he prefers to be outdoors kayaking and taking photos. Jon likes to draw inspiration from quotes and one of his current favorites is from Lao Tzu: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

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