Amanda Phillips
DeKalb County
Not Feature Story
My mom and dad found out when I was a baby that there was a hole in my heart. The blood was still flowing through pretty good but the doctors said that it would weaken my heart if I ever had a baby or as I got older. My parents, either hoping for grandchildren or a long life for me, decided that I needed to have the surgery. The doctors said it was better to do when I was a little older. I was five years old when my parents took me to Children's.

I would not have recognized it as a hospital. There was a play room and a telephone booth that looked like a toy solider. I thought it was just another place to play. I don't think I really understood what was happening to me. Still don't I guess? It was a major operation but I can't even remember being scared. My biggest complaint was that I didn't get to have any salt.

My aunts and uncles lived near by. My family was there the whole time. I am sure that kept me feeling safe and calm. I got to watch TV in my room.

I remember that I just got a little sick when I got the anesthesia. Other than that I felt good. So good that the day after my surgery the staff was chasing me down the hall as I rode a Big Wheel.

The surgery has left a big impact on me. I am so glad that the surgery went well. I hear of what a hard time people have with surgery and how scary and difficult on the body and mind it can be I am so thankful that was not the case with me. I had a small scar too. I thought that it might go away with age but hasn't yet. Right after the surgery it went from my neck until almost my belly button. Some times people catch a glimpse and ask me about it. They treat me like I survived a battle. I tell them that my surgery went great. The staff at the hospital left such an impression on me that when I was asked for my kindergarten graduation what I wanted to be when I grew up I told them a nurse that delivers ice cream. I thought about what a difference that made to me. I thought I wanted to do that for other people.

Well I am now 29 years old. My dreams have changed somewhat but I still try to make a difference in the lives of others. I am the director of the Dekalb County Mental Retardation Board. We provide services to mentally challenged adults. The clients make my day. Sometimes I feel like they help me more that I help them. I wonder sometimes if my parents feel like they made the right decision getting me surgery. I guess we will have to wait and see about the old age. But I am planning to start a family and I am happy that my heart is in good condition for pregnancy. I had some tests ran on my heart when my husband and I decided to have a baby. The specialists said that my heart was good and healthy if I hadn't told them they probably would have never known that I ever had a problem.

For those reading this article if you leave with anything I hope most of all that you will take care of your heart. There are simple things like diet and exercise that can really make a difference. I hope to live that long life that my parents had in mind when I was five. Second if you have a child that needs surgery look into Children's. My heart had a hole and now it's whole again.