I am an adult, I told myself. I am old enough to vote, I am old enough to drive, I am old enough to get married. I am old enough to have a heart condition, for heaven’s sake! So I am definitely old enough to go to a cardiologist by myself.

I am also old enough to have known that I shouldn’t procrastinate getting my medical records. Because now I had to visit two hospital complexes in one day.

First I went to the hospital where Hatzolah had brought me. No problem, I’d been here before. In a compromised state of health, but still. I can totally park in this massive parking lot, find my way to the correct floor, navigate to the Medical Records office, explain what I need, prove who I am, and get what I need. No big deal.

Driving to the second hospital was slightly more daunting. But people drive long distances alone all the time. Nothing to be afraid of… Just of parking in another huge parking lot and navigating another huge medical complex, this time completely unfamiliar and with the appointment time looming.

I made it. I have to admit that I was impressed with myself.

The waiting room was surprisingly unpretentious for such a high and mighty doctor. I only go to high and mighty doctors. I had researched this doctor obsessively. I believe in obsessive research in principle. Knowledge is power. I needed power.

“Here’s the thing with your condition,” Dr. W. told me. “It’s not immediately life-threatening, but it is progressive. If it happened once, you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to happen again.”

“So what do I do?”

“During an actual episode, you can use vasovagal maneuvers to try and get the heart back into normal rhythm.” He described a couple of the exercises and I had a vague recollection of the ER doctor spending about one minute trying them — blowing hard through a straw, bearing down, carotid massage.

“We can fix it,” he said.

Good, a problem-solver. Like me.

“We can do an ablation. After you give birth.”

“What’s an ablation?”

“An ablation is a surgical procedure. We thread a catheter to the heart and use electricity to trigger an episode. Once we identify the incorrect route the electrical impulse is taking, we destroy that route. It’s very safe and effective over 90 percent of the time.”

There was just one tiny detail: Because sedation would interfere with the heart’s typical function, the patient is kept completely awake and not sedated during the procedure.

That thought alone was enough to make my heart race. I was not having an ablation. So why did I come to a cardiologist if I wasn’t going to follow his advice? I knew why. Because I needed to feel like I am doing the Right Thing.

I reverted to my trusty knowledge-is-power method. “What causes this condition?” I’d find out what caused it and eliminate it. Without surgery. Where there’s a will there’s a way and all that. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 572)