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When Your Doctor Retires

Thursday, June 04, 2015

By Jennifer Gooden

I only have one more appointment with my ACHD cardiologist until she retires in July. My current cardiologist, we’ll call her Dr. L, is only my second cardiologist—ever. And my first ACHD cardiologist. I have been seeing her since I was about 19 years old. She is not only an amazing doctor—how many docs give you their cell phone number?—but she is a pretty cool person, too.

But while I am one of her biggest fans now, we have not always seen eye to eye.

To be fair, she had really big shoes to fill. My first cardiologist, Dr. M, was actually the doctor who met with my parents at the hospital when I was born and diagnosed me. And then he was my cardiologist for the next 18 or so years. So we basically grew up together. We have serious history.

My first appointment with Dr. L was a bit different then my previous cardiologist appointments. Like my usual appointment, my mom and I trucked into the back where I got my vitals and EKG done while we waited for the doctor. My mom filled med list, allergy list and other necessary paperwork.

After waiting for what seemed liked forever—dang doctors—my new cardiologist came into the exam room. She introduced herself and waited for my mom and me to introduce ourselves. Then she asked my mom to leave. How rude! After some protest from me, my mom left and my appointment really started.

Dr. L explained that my mom was always welcome at my appointments but she had to stay in the waiting room. The 19-year-old me was furious. Who the heck is this lady? Dr L. explained how I was an adult now and needed to take control of my health and understand my body.

It took a while for that message to sink in. Eventually it did.

I learned my meds and dosages. I learned my cardiac anatomy and what that meant for me. Those things are important to know. But they come in handy particularly when you find yourself in the ER, which I’ve been known to do from time to time.

Dr. L also held my hand through last year where I experienced lots of arrhythmias and eventually got a pacemaker. She endured my tears, my husband’s unhappy phone calls and my mom’s anxiety. She has become a source that I trust abundantly and I am sad to see her go. Now I get to decide on which provider to see next.

Has your cardiologist retired? Have you ever needed to pick a new provider? How did you do it?

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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.

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