I never knew I had a heart condition

Monroe /
| 09 Jul 2024 | 10:32

    In 2009, I began my employment with the State of New York. I finally got health insurance after years of working in retail, which provided you with none. I also hate the fact that I wasted 10 years of my life working in retail, but that was over with. I finally had a “real job” as my father put it, and I had health insurance. I began to run around from doctor to doctor, making sure that I was okay, and no matter how much I hated these appointments, I also included a gynecologist.

    When I first met with Dr. Rosa Atkinson, she said that she heard a heart murmur. I said, “What’s that?” I don’t remember her explanation except that she told me to follow up with a cardiologist. At first, I wasn’t going to listen to her because no one ever told me that I had a heart murmur, and she was just a gynecologist. How would she know?

    I decided to listen to Dr. Atkinson. I made an appointment to see Dr. David Ramos, and I was diagnosed with moderate to severe mitral prolapse, which after three years would become a lot worse, so worse that a heart surgeon in 2012 said to me, “You have two options. You have the heart surgery. Or you die.” He was not being funny when he said that.

    If I never listened to Dr. Atkinson, I would not be here, and Dr. David Ramos also saved my life. There were complications after the heart surgery, and I had to go back in for another procedure two days after my birthday in December.

    I would not be here. I should be grateful that I am. I should be grateful that I’m still alive, and I am working on being grateful. What I went through really messed with me, and then in 2013, I lost my job to consolidation, which led to a mess to a workplace violence incident to another state agency. But I am still here!

    No one would have known my writing. No one would have known me. If I didn’t listen to her.

    I didn’t know that she was still practicing until my mother recently told me, and I realized that I never said, thank you. I am saying it now.

    Thank you! Thank you, Dr. Rosa Atkinson for saving my life.

    Melissa R. Mendelson