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'I’ve been there': An Indy woman's childhood diagnosis led her to nursing career

Posted at 8:03 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 16:38:05-05

February is Heart Health month and WRTV is going red for women telling stories of those who have overcome adversity or worked hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman says her diagnosis as a child led to the career she’s in now.

“I was born with a congenital heart defect known as an atrial ventricular septal defect or av canal for short,” said Angela Furrer.

What that means is, the four chambers of Angela's heart weren’t divided properly.

“I had my first open-heart surgery down at Riley Children's Hospital when I was four months old and then after two months... they realized when I went back for a checkup that some of those stitches didn't stay so they had to go back in when I was six months old,” said Furrer.

After two open-heart surgeries and yearly visits to Riley, Furrer says the staff became family.

“We kind of got to know a lot of nurses at Riley, and growing up, like it was scary when I was little, and it was always the nurses that kind of made you feel really calm and that really, truly, I felt, made an impact on like me growing up,” said Furrer.

That care and comfort they provided led Furrer to where she is now.

“I was in third grade coming down for my annual checkup at Riley and I just told my parents, 'I’m going to be a nurse someday.' And ever since then, that's all I wanted to do,” said Furrer.

Now a nurse at Eskenazi Health, Furrer brings her childhood experiences with her to comfort her patients.

“I know what you're going through, or you know a lot of patients get EKG so all the wires and stickers just little things like that I feel like I can offer some encouragement," Furrer said. "I’ve been there. I know what you’re feeling, and it is scary."

She wants kids going through similar experiences to know just because you are a Riley kid doesn’t mean you aren’t just like everyone else. And not to be afraid of the doctors, because they are just normal people working hard to help you live a normal life.