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Understanding My Demented Parents’ Position

When I was 16 at an annual physical, I was diagnosed with a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse which turns out is pretty common. However, at the time, it was a major medical concern and I had weekly visits to a variety of different specialists. Apparently, it caused my heart to skip beats often. I remember the medical staff being amazed that I didn’t know I had a problem. I knew I sighed a lot, but I didn’t know that was unusual.

By the second half of my senior year, I was on a variety of heart medications. I remember being told at one point I would most likely have open heart surgery by the time I was 21.

The medicine made me feel horrible. At some point in my freshman year of college, I just decided to stop taking the medicine. I was always active and never felt limited by this issue. Through my twenties I kept my annual checkups and graduated out of care since all was well.  I never accepted the condition was a limitation – it didn’t limit me before I knew, so why was I letting it limit me after I knew?

I realized as I was getting my heart checked today that regardless of what the doctors had told me, I choose to go against their advice. I turned out just fine. Maybe that is how my parents view our concerns over their safety. Pondered.

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