By Clare Almand
21 Sep

Transferring My Care

Friday, September 21, 2012

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.

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