Home / 2014 / My Split ACHD Personality

My Split ACHD Personality

Monday, November 24, 2014

By Jennifer Gooden

In September I was able to attend the ACHA 7th National Conference. I got lucky that my work wife and fellow Fontan, Tracey, was able to attend as well. There were three different “tracks” at the conference. One track was geared more towards patients, while the other two were more for professionals: nurses, doctors, surgeons, medical students… you get the idea. So what were two pediatric cardiac ICU nurses/single ventricle patients to do? We were struck with a very important question: patient or professional?

Technically, I was a patient before I was a professional. But now I identify first as a nurse. I am a nurse more often than I am a patient. I don’t want to miss out on any important information that patients should know about – like my fellow blogger Christy’s presentation on insurance. But I don’t want to miss out on any new medical breakthrough or treatments that could help me and my fellow ACHD patients. At the same time I want to meet more ACHDers. Do you see how back and forth I was and how truly difficult this decision was for me?

So what is a nurse patient to do? She e-mails the lovely folks who work at the Adult Congenital Heart Association to ask if the conference is like a buffet where she can pick and chose from the different tracks. Or once you pick a track—then would I be married to it? Lucky me, this fantastic conference used the buffet approach. Tracey and I wouldn’t have to choose one of our split personalities!

I was learning about the use of different drugs, new surgical techniques, and research in the field. I was able to meet many ACHDers just like me. I was blown away when groups were split up into cardiac defects. There were so many Fontans/single ventricles in one room. It was amazing to see and really feel that I am not alone. I saw a friend from attending Advocacy Day a few years ago.

But my hands down favorite thing of the conference occurred at the beginning. It was a patient who was sharing his story—forgive me because I forget his name—when he said something that completely resonated with me. He said, “I just want to be old enough to die of something else.”

ACHDers want to prove people wrong. We want the things everyone else wants. We want to grow old, dream big, complete those dreams and just have an amazing life. Together with our doctors and each other, hopefully we can do just that and have an amazing journey along the way!


Add yours below.


The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

Connect with ACHA

Join us in our mission to empower the congenital heart disease community by advancing access to resources and specialized care that improve patient-centered outcomes.

Enter your name, email and state to get started. If you choose to, you can provide more information to us in the next step for more tailored communications! We'll never, for any reason, share your personal information. Already get ACHA emails? We’ve got you! You do NOT need to fill out this form.

*By sharing your information, you consent to receiving emails from ACHA.

  • {{ m }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.FirstName') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.LastName') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.Email') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.State') }}