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My Evolving Reasons for Hating CHD

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

By Becca Atherton

When I was younger, around elementary school age, I hated having a heart condition and a lung disease (pulmonary hypertension, or PH). I hated it because I couldn't run or keep up with the other kids at recess. I hated it because during recess, I wasn't able to play kickball or basketball.

Then I got a bit older, into the pre-teen stage, and I hated having a heart condition and a lung disease for a different reason. I hated how my scar looked. I hated the stares I would get. I felt ugly. I felt like I wasn't girly enough or feminine enough because of the scar in the middle of my chest. I felt like no guy would ever find me attractive because of the big pink scar. I hated having CHD and PH because of the scars.

Then I got a little older, and I was able to realize that my scar didn't make me ugly nor was my scar ugly. But I started to hate having CHD and PH for a different reason. No more roller coasters, and a low-salt diet. I was so angry at my doctor. I blamed him for taking those things away from me. Still to this day, I go to a theme park or a carnival and there is a pang of sadness when I see other people screaming their heads off on a roller coaster and I keep thinking “Someday... someday when I get my transplant, I'll be able to do that again.”

But I have grown up since then and I no longer hate having CHD and PH for those reasons. Now my reasoning for hating having CHD and PH are more realistic, mature and very scary. Insurance. I hate having CHD and PH because of the battle with the insurance company to get my doctor visits approved. I hate having CHD and PH because of all the work my mom and dad have to do just to get the insurance company to approve one doctor visit. I hate having these illnesses because I worry what it might do to my dad's small business if he decides to put me on his own insurance plan.

There are times when I miss the old reasons why I hated being sick. Looking back now, they were so much simpler and less daunting than insurance. There is a part of me that wishes I was not an adult and instead a kid once more, so I wouldn't have to worry or even be aware of the insurance problems. But I'm an adult now and I am aware of the insurance problems, and they terrify me.


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