Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection

My story.

Gary D Salow
EX concrete finisher.


ON THE MORNING OF FEBRUARY 4th 1997. WE WERE GETTING A BIG SLAB POUR READY FOR THE NEXT DAY, WE HAD POURED HALF OF THE MAIN BUILDING FLOOR ALREADY DAYS EARLIER AND WERE GETTING READY FOR THE OTHER HALF..WE HAD IT ALL GRADED AND READY TO GO SO IT WAS GOING TO BE AN EASY DAY, ALL WE HAD TO DO WAS SNAP CHALK LINES FOR GRADE MARKS ON THE STEM WALLS, SO WE KNEW HOW HIGH TO POUR THE CONCRETE ON THE FOLLOWING DAY...
I WAS FEELING TIRED AND WAS HAVING SOME BACK PAIN AND MY THROAT WAS HORSE AND I HAD A SLIGHT COUGH,.. WE GOT DONE ABOUT 12 NOON AND WENT DOWN TO THE HAMBURGER STAND DOWN THE STREET ON THE WAY BACK TO PHOENIX, TO GET SOME LUNCH. AFTER WE ATE WE WERE DRIVING THRU THE MIDDLE OF THE TOWN OF WICKENBURG AZ, I WAS FOLLOWING MY DAD WHO WAS DRIVING THE FLAT BED TRUCK . AS I WAS DRIVING MY TRUCK... I FELT SOME PAIN IN MY BACK LIKE I HAD BEEN HAVING, AND I REMEMBER THINKING TO MYSELF, THAT IT WAS REALLY HURTING AND I COULD USE A BACK ADJUSTMENT OR SOMETHING? IT WAS RIGHT BETWEEN MY SHOULDERS..

THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN I FELT MASSIVE PAIN IN MY BACK, I REMEMBER THINKING WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?? THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT LEFT MY BACK AND THE PAIN SHOT TO THE FRONT OF MY CHEST, LIKE AN ICE PICK BEING PUSHED THRU... THE PAIN FELT LIKE A CAR WAS PARKED ON TOP OF ME, THE PAIN WAS UNBEARABLE..

I REMEMBER THINKING I WAS GOING TO DIE !! I TRIED TO HONK MY HORN AT MY DAD BUT MY HORN WOULDN’T WORK, I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BLACK OUT FROM THE PAIN OR DIE WHILE I WAS DRIVING!! I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ! SO I ROLLED DOWN MY WINDOW, WE WERE PASSING IN BETWEEN TWO BUILDINGS, I WHISTLED OUT MY WINDOW AS LOUD AS I COULD, AND I STARTED TO PULL OVER THEN I SAW MY DAD LOOK OUT HIS SIDE MIRROR AT ME, I PUT MY HAND OUT THE WINDOW AND POINTED FOR HIM TO PULL OVER. AND HE DID RIGHT AWAY.

I STOPPED BEHIND HIM AND GOT OUT OF MY TRUCK, HOLDING MY CHEST, AND WENT TOWARDS THE BACK OF THE FLATBED AND FELL AGAINST IT. THE PAIN WAS SO BAD, I HAD NEVER FELT PAIN LIKE THIS BEFORE . MY DAD ASKED ME WHAT WAS WRONG ! AND I TOLD HIM I THINK IAM HAVING A HEART ATTACK !!! I TOLD HIM TO CALL 911 FROM ACROSS THE STREET. HE TOLD ME TO SIT DOWN ON THE CURB AND SAID A PRAYER OVER ME VERY FAST, AND WENT TO THE PHONE. I WAITED THERE WITH SEVERE PAIN IN MY CHEST. HE CAME BACK AND SAID AN AMBULANCE IS ON THE WAY. I REMEMBER TELLING HIM THAT IT HURT LIKE HELL...HE TOLD ME TO HANG ON AND STAY CALM..

THE AMBULANCE ARRIVED AND I WAS STILL SITTING ON THE CURB, THEY ASKED ME QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AND I TOLD THEM AND THEY RAN AN EKG AND STARTED IVEES ON ME , AND TOOK MY BP..
THEY ASKED ME IF I COULD STAND UP OFF THE CURB TO GET ON THE GURNEY, I SAID I THINK SO, I WAS STILL UNDER MASSIVE PAIN IN MY CHEST THEY BROUGHT THE GURNEY UP BESIDE ME AND ASKED ME TO STAND UP TO GET ON IT, WHEN I STOOD UP THE PAIN RUSHED DOWN MY SPINE TO THE BOTTOM OF MY BACK, THIS WAS WORSE THAN THE CHEST PAIN, AND IT FELT LIKE MY BACK WAS GOING TO BLOW APART IT HURT SO BAD. I REMEMBER LETTING OUT A SCREAM, IT WAS UNBEARABLE PAIN.

THE PARAMEDICS ASKED ME WHAT WAS WRONG AND I TOLD THEM ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED, THEY GOT ME ON THE GURNEY AND IN THE AMBULANCE. THEY TOOK ME TO WICKENBURG HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM. I MET A DOCTOR THERE, I DON’T REMEMBER HIS NAME BUT HE WAS ORIENTAL AND HE ASKED ME WHAT HAPPENED AGAIN, I HAD TO TELL HIM ABOUT THREE TIMES WHAT HAPPENED, HE KEPT SAYING THAT I HAD A GALLBLADDER ATTACK, AND ACTED LIKE HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.... BY THIS TIME I HAD PAIN IN MY CHEST AND LOW BACK, AND HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN ANYTHING FOR THE PAIN..

THEN MY RIGHT LEG WENT NUMB, AND I TOLD THE DOCTOR IN ER AND HE LOOKED LIKE HE WAS CONFUSED!!.. THEN MY RIGHT ANKLE AND FOOT STARTED MOVING AND TWITCHING AND I SAID LOOK!! MY FOOTS MOVING BY IT SELF..WHAT’S WRONG??HE LOOKED LIKE HE DIDN’T KNOW!! AND THEN I SAID TO THE DOCTOR "COME ON MAN!! I DON'T WANT TO LOSE MY LEG OVER THIS!!!DO SOMETHING!!!"I WAS VERY WORRIED, I JUST KNEW IT WASN’T A GALLBLADDER ATTACK AND I FELT HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!! AND THEY WERE HAVING A HARD TIME READING MY BP.

THEN HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO AIRVAC ME TO PHX..A SHORT TIME LATER, STILL UNDER MASSIVE PAIN, THE EVAC MEN SHOWED UP. THANK GOD! THE ONE MAN FROM EVAC ASKED ME WHAT HAPPENED AND TO EXPLAIN, I DID, AND RIGHT AWAY HE TOLD ME I HAD, HAD AN ANEURYSM!!! THEN THE ER DOC SAID NO HE HAD A GALLBLADDER ATTACK!!! AND THE EVAC MAN JUST SHOOK HIS HEAD NO. THE EVAC MAN TURNED BACK TO ME AND ASKED IF I HAD BEEN GIVEN ANYTHING FOR THE PAIN? I TOLD HIM NO! HE SAID WHEN WE GET IN THE CHOPPER I WILL GIVE YOU SOMETHING, I SAID OK..THEN HE SAID TO ME I HAVE TO TELL YOU THERE IS A FIFTY FIFTY CHANCE YOU WONT MAKE IT TO PHOENIX...I JUST THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW!! THE FIRST THING I THOUGHT OF WAS MY THREE YEAR OLD SON AND MY WIFE AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THEM IF I DIED?.. IT WAS AN EXPERIENCE THAT I NEVER WILL FORGET , I REMEMBER SAYING A PRAYER TO GOD . TO PLEASE LET ME FINISH RAISING MY SON.

THEN THE AIRVAC MAN TRANSFERRED ME TO THEIR GURNEY AND HE WHEELED ME OUT AND PUT ME IN THE BACK OF THE CHOPPER AND SLID ME UP TO THE FRONT, THEN THE EVAC MAN GAVE ME SOME MORPHINE FOR THE PAIN. I REMEMBER THE RIDE IN THE CHOPPER IT WAS CLOSE QUARTERS AND MY LEGS WERE AT THE BACK AND MY HEAD AND UPPER CHEST WAS STICKING OUT OF THIS HOLE TOWARDS THE CABIN, I REMEMBER TELLING THE EVAC MAN IN THE CHOPPER THAT I HAD GOT BACK SOME FEELING IN MY LEG AND FOOT, BUT IT DIDN’T LAST LONG AND IT WENT NUMB AGAIN, I THINK WHEN THEY DID THE TRANSFER IT UN BLOCKED FOR A LITTLE BIT.

I REMEMBER LANDING AT THE HOSPITAL (Name witheld) I TOLD THE EVAC MAN- (MAKE SURE YOU TELL THE DOCTORS ABOUT MY LEG GOING NUMB!!)BECAUSE I KNEW I WOULD PROBABLY GO UNDER FROM THE MORPHINE. I REMEMBER BEING WHEELED IN THE DOOR, AND THAT IS MY LAST MEMORY, HOWEVER I DO HAVE A FOGGY MEMORY OF BEING AWAKENED TO SIGN SOMETHING?

I WAS LATER TOLD THAT I WAS AWAKENED AND ASKED TO SIGN AUTHORIZATION TO AMPUTATE MY LEG, I DON’T REMEMBER THIS BUT THEY SAID THAT I SHOOK MY HEAD VIOLENTLY BACK AND FORTH AS IF I WAS SAYING " NO!! NO!!. THEN THEY SAID THE DOCTOR TOLD ME THAT I WOULD DIE IF THEY DIDN’T AMPUTATE . MY FAMILY TOLD ME I REACHED TOWARDS A PEN AND THEY HANDED IT TO ME, AND HELD UP A CLIP BOARD ,BECAUSE I HAD THE BREATHING TUBE DOWN MY THROAT. I TRIED TO WRITE , BUT WAS VERY SHAKY AND ALL I WAS ABLE TO WRITE WAS "DO WHAT YOU" AND THE NURSE ASKED DO YOU MEAN? DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO? AND THEY SAID I SHOOK MY HEAD YES. I DON’T REMEMBER ANY OF THIS!

I DO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT FROM WHAT MY WIFE AND FAMILY TOLD ME. THEY TOLD MY WIFE AND MY FAMILY THAT I HAD NO CHANCE OF SURVIVAL, AND MY BROTHER IN CALIFORNIA WAS CALLED AND WAS TOLD TO COME. THAT IT DIDN’T LOOK GOOD. AND THAT I WOULD NOT LIVE THRU THE NIGHT!..THEY PUT ME ON SOME KIND OF IV DRIP TO BRING DOWN MY BP, AND THE NEXT DAY DECIDED TO OPERATE ON ME, IT WAS RISKY WITH MANY POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS, BUT WITH OUT IT I WOULD DIE ANYWAY. THEY TOLD MY FAMILY THAT IF THE AORTA BURST THAT THEY COULD NOT SAVE ME. EVEN THOUGH THE OPERATING ROOM WAS NEAR BY. THEY DID HEART LUNG BY PASS SURGERY AND HAD TO SHUT OFF THE BLOOD SUPPLY TO ONE SIDE OF MY HEAD AND COLLAPSE MY LUNG ON AND OFF AND CUT OUT SIX INCHES OF THE AORTA..AND REPLACED IT WITH AN ARTIFICIAL ONE. THAT WAS ON 2/5/97.

AT THAT SAME TIME THEY SLICED OPEN MY CALF MUSCLE HORIZONTALLY UP TO THE KNEE ON BOTH SIDES, BECAUSE THE TISSUE LOOKED ISCHEMIC, MY LEG WAS LIGHT BLUE COLORED. THEN LATER IT TURNED PURPLE AND YELLOW.THE FOLLOWING DAY MY RIGHT LEG WAS AMPUTATED IT HAD GONE THREE DAYS WITH NO BLOOD CIRCULATION. AND WAS GANGROUS .

THEY DID A FEMORAL BYPASS ON MY LEFT SIDE. THAT WAS ON 2/6/97. I HAD DEVELOPED BUTTOCK MUSCLE ISCHEMIA..AND THEY DID TWELVE SURGERIES REMOVING TISSUE OVER THE NEXT 12 DAYS, AT ONE POINT THEY TOLD MY WIFE THEY TOOK EIGHT POUNDS OF MUSCLE. THIS WAS AFTER JUST A FEW OF THE DEBREEMENT SURGERIES . MUCH MORE TISSUE WAS REMOVED IN SUBSEQUENT SURGERIES. THEY HAD TO REPAC AN OPEN WOUND ON MY BUTTOCKS EVERY TWELVE HOURS, IT WAS A MASSIVE OPENING, AND WHEN THEY DID IT MY FAMILY SAID I YELLED AND MOANED FROM THE PAIN.

MY KIDNEYS FAILED ON OR ABOUT 2/6/97. .AND THEY HAD ME ON DIALYSIS EVERYDAY AT THE BEGINNING, BECAUSE I HAD DEVELOPED SEPTICEMIA.

I HAD FULL REPERTORY FAILURE . MY BOWELS SHUT DOWN, MY STOMACH SHUT DOWN., AND I HAD DEVELOPED YELLOW JAUNDICE, I WAS ON FULL LIFE SUPPORT. I ALSO WAS GIVEN ABOUT 15 BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS BECAUSE MY BONE MARROW WAS NOT PRODUCING ENOUGH RED BLOOD CELLS.
MY FAMILY TOLD ME THAT MY MOUTH WAS CRUSTED AND SWOLLEN FROM THE OXYGEN TUBE DOWN MY THROAT. I WAS ALSO DELUSIONAL AND PARANOID, I THOUGHT THE NURSES WERE TRYING TO KILL ME.

WHEN I WOKE UP IT WAS ABOUT FOUR WEEKS LATER MAYBE LONGER, I WAS FADING IN AND OUT FROM THE MEDICATIONS. I REMEMBER STRANGE DREAMS, AND SOME THINGS THAT I THOUGHT WERE DREAMS I FOUND OUT LATER REALLY HAPPENED. I had several near death experience's.

I remember looking down on my body, there was no color, like a gray color, I was in the upper corner of the ceiling looking down on myself.

I also remember talking to a guy sitting outside my room, I was out of body, the older guy was upset, and sitting upright on a gurney, I asked him what was wrong, and he told me he had heart surgery and that he didn't make it, and told me he was worried about his wife, and how she would take it.

I later found out after I had awoke that there's was an older guy who had died, and was infact outside my room for a short time with the sheet pulled over him.

I also remember talking to my grandmother, she was sitting on a rocking chair in front of a house, there were others there doing little task's. she explained to me that they all had to stay there, but that I was allowed to Pass tro! I later found out when I woke up that my grand mother had died while I was in the hospital,

I also remember being on a road, there was a fork in the road, one went one way and the other one another, There was a small tent like structure there, Where I meet two men, they were my fathers brothers who had died years ago. I have never ever meet them, but at the time, I knew who they were? They were upset about the path I was on, and were telling me to change my path.

I also had a vision of being under a freeway underpass, just outside the northern city limits of Phoenix AZ. There was military blocking the roadways, and not letting anyone leave the city. I was hiding under a pass over for flood control. I was shown that I would discover something about what is going on in the world on the computer and the Internet.

So far what I have discovered is that there is something very wrong with our sun, and the effects on earth as far as earth quakes goes.

There were more things that happened, but my memories was effected from the aneurysum, and at the moment I can't remember them.

I would like to say even thou I never seen any angles or heaven, I do know that we are all spiritual beings, and when you die , it is not the end, your sprit continues on.

WHEN I WOKE UP THEY HAD ME TIED DOWN TO THE BED, I GUESS I WAS RIPPING OUT MY IVEES AND THEY WERE AFRAID I WOULD TAKE OUT THE SHUNT IN MY NECK FOR DIALYSIS. I REMEMBER LOOKING DOWN AT MY LEG AND SEEING THAT IT WASN’T THERE...THEN SOMEONE WALKED IN THE ROOM, I DON’T REMEMBER WHO? I ASKED WHAT HAD HAPPENED AND HOW MUCH TIME HAD GONE BY?....THEN I REMEMBERED WHAT THE EVAC MAN TOLD ME AND I WAS THANKFUL TO JUST BE ALIVE..A LOT OF MY FAMILY CAME UP TO SEE ME THAT DAY, AND I REMEMBER AFTER THEY LEFT AND I WAS ALONE WITH MY WIFE, THAT’S WHEN I BROKE DOWN AND CRIED, I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND HOW I LOST MY LEG, I WAS VERY DEPRESSED AND I FELT AS IF I HAD LET DOWN MY WIFE AND SON, THAT I WOULD NO LONGER BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THEM AND BE A PROVIDER, I TOLD HER I WAS SORRY I RUINED HER LIFE....THAT WAS A HARD DAY FOR ME..

I WAS SO WEAK THAT I COULD NOT EVEN HOLD THE PHONE TO MY EAR, MY BODY FELT LIKE IT HAD USED ALL OF ITS ENERGY FIGHTING TO STAY ALIVE.. I COULD NOT SIT UP OR EVEN ROLL ON MY SIDE, THE NURSES HAD TO DO EVERYTHING FOR ME... IT WAS VERY FRIGHTENING NOT KNOWING WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME , AND HOW LONG IT WAS GOING TO TAKE TO RECOVER , NOT KNOWING WHERE MY LIFE WAS GOING OR HEADED...BUT I DID KNOW THAT WITH OUT MY LEG I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO FINISH CONCRETE AGAIN. I ALSO DID NOT GET TO SEE MY SON FOR SOMETIME BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT ALLOW HIM ON THE FLOOR,

I MISSED HIM VERY MUCH, SO LISA PUT TWO PICTURES OF HIM IN FRONT OF MY BED ON THE WALL. WHEN I FINALLY DID GET TO SEE HIM THEY WHEELED ME DOWN STAIRS AND HE WAS FRIGHTENED. I NOTICED THAT HE HAD GROWN, I LATER FOUND OUT THAT HE THOUGHT I WAS MAD AT HIM AND THAT’S WHY HE THOUGHT I DIDN’T COME HOME. IT WAS VERY HARD FOR HIM TO UNDERSTAND.

I ALSO NOTICED THAT I WAS BLIND IN ABOUT A 3rd OF MY LEFT EYE. AND ALL THE MUSCLES IN MY RIGHT BUTTOCKS, WERE REMOVED, I HAVE NO FEELING IN MY RIGHT BUTTOCKS. MY GROIN AREA HAS NO FEELING ON THE RIGHT SIDE I AM NUMB STRAIGHT UP THE MIDDLE AND NO FEELING ON BACK SIDE OF MY STUMP, I ALSO WAS HAVING TROUBLE WITH MY MEMORY WHEN IT CAME TO NUMBERS..

ON 3/11/97 I WAS RELEASED FROM (un named) HOSPITAL, AND WENT TO CORONADO CARE CENTER, I HAD TWO DRAIN TUBES IN MY BUTTOCKS, AND I COULD NOT GET OUT OF BED BY MYSELF, OR DO CHAIR TRANSFERS, OR WALK WITH CRUTCHES.OR GO TO THE REST ROOM.
I SPENT 30 DAYS THERE, AND WENT TO REHAB THREE TIMES A DAY SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

DURING THIS TIME I WAS STILL HAVING CHRONIC PAIN AND MAJOR DEPRESSION BECAUSE OF MY LEG. I CAME HOME ON 4/9/97

I WAS AT HOME I STARTED GOING TO OUT PATIENT REHAB AT JOHN C LINCOLN DEER VALLEY, NOVA CARE. TO TRY AND LEARN BALANCE AND HOW TO WALK WITH CRUTCHES AND WAS ALSO ASSIGNED A NEW PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN .

I HAD SOME ABDOMINAL PAIN, AND I CALLED MY DOCTORS OFFICE, AND EXPLAINED IT TO HIS NURSE, AND SHE GOT BACK WITH ME AND TOLD ME TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL, (COUNTY) I WENT DOWN TO THE COUNTY HOSPITAL TO THE ER, THEY HAD ME DOWN THERE FOR ALMOST EIGHT HOURS, AND THEY WERE CHECKING TO SEE IF I HAD AN APPENDICITIS. THEY DID BLOOD WORK... THEY DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING AND THEY RELEASED ME.

A FEW DAYS LATER, I WAS HAVING BAD ABDOMINAL PAIN AGAIN, AND I WENT TO JOHN C LINCOLN HOSPITAL..THEY HAD ME IN THE ER ROOM. I AND MY WIFE TOLD THEM OF MY PAST HISTORY AND THAT I HAD HAD AN ANEURYSM OF THE AORTA. THAT I HAD BEEN AT THE COUNTY AND WAS CHECKED FOR APPENDICITIS. MY WIFE EVEN BROUGHT THEM OUR MEDICAL RECORDS FROM HOME. THEY TOOK A CAT SCAN OF MY CHEST AND ABDOMINAL AREA, THEN TOOK ME BACK TO THE ER, THERE THE EMERGENCY ROOM NURSE TOLD ME THAT THE DOCTOR THERE SAID, THE GRAFT ON MY AORTA WAS LEAKING, AND THEY WHEELED ME OFF ON THE GURNEY IN A HURRY TO A TRAUMA ROOM, AND STARTED ART LINES. I WAS VERY UPSET, BECAUSE I FELT THAT MY BODY COULD NOT LIVE THRU ANOTHER SURGERY LIKE THAT, AND I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE, THEY LET MY WIFE COME IN THE ROOM, I TOLD HER WHAT THE DOCTOR SAID. I TOLD HER THAT I LOVED HER AND WAS SAYING GOODBYE TO HER, AND TOLD HER TO TELL MY SON ABOUT ME.

MY WIFE WENT OUT OF THE ROOM BACK TO THE WAITING ROOM. THE DOCTOR CAME OUT TO THE WAITING ROOM AND TOLD MY WIFE AND MOTHER THAT I HAD AN ANEURYSM OF THE ENTIRE ABDOMINAL AORTA . MY MOTHER SAID AGAIN??AND HE SAID"NO LADY NOT AGAIN!" MY WIFE SAID THAT’S WHAT HE HAD BEFORE, AND MY MOM SAID THAT’S THE SECOND TIME , ISN’T THAT AGAIN?? AND THE DOCTOR LOOKED SHOCKED AND CONFUSED. THEN THE DOCTOR CALLED THE COUNTY HOSPITAL FOR RECORDS. AND TOLD THEM I WAS NON TRANSFERABLE..

THEN THEY ADMITTED ME TO ICU. I WAS IN ICU TWO OR THREE DAYS, THEY DID AN ANGIOGRAM, AND BLOOD WORK. THEN THEY DID AN ULTRA SOUND, THEY FOUND OUT THAT MY BLADDER WAS FULL, I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT, THAT WAS WHY I HAD EXCRUCIATING PAIN. THEY GAVE ME A CATHETER AND RELIEVED MY BLADDER. I WAS THERE ABOUT 4 MORE DAYS. UNTIL I SAW A UROLOGIST. I STILL DON’T KNOW WHY I HAD BLADDER PROBLEMS, OR WHY THEY TOLD ME MY GRAFT WAS LEAKING??

I LEFT THERE, AND WENT HOME, I WAS HOME ABOUT TWO MORE WEEKS, WHEN I STARTED HAVING CHEST PAIN. I CALLED THE DOCTOR OFFICE AGAIN, AND ASKED IF I COULD COME IN TO SEE HIM..THEY TOLD ME TO GO IMMEDIATELY TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL. SO I WENT TO JOHN C LINCOLN. DEER VALLEY, WHICH IS OWEN BY THE FIRST JOHN C LINCOLN THAT I WENT TO. THEY DID AN EKG AND GAVE ME NITRO MORE THAN ONCE. BECAUSE THE EARLY ENZYMES COUNT WAS BETWEEN POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE.
THEY THOUGHT I MIGHT BE HAVING A HEART ATTACK . THEY TRANSPORTED ME TO MARICOPA MEDICAL CENTER (COUNTY) THEY ADMITTED ME IN AND PUT ME IN THE CARDIO WARD. WHILE I WAS THERE THEY HAD ME TRANSPORTED TO GOOD SAM HOSPITAL FOR AN ANGIOGRAM, THEN BACK TO COUNTY. I WAS THERE FOR ABOUT SEVEN DAYS. DURING WHICH TIME I WAS HAVING A LOT OF PVC's ON THE EKG AND SOME SPORADIC CHEST PAINS. AFTER OBSERVATION OF THE ANGIO GRAM THEY SAID I WAS OK AND THEN THEY RELEASED ME. I STILL DON’T KNOW WHY I HAD THE BAD CHEST PAINS ???

I WAS HAVING A LOT OF PAIN WITH GOING TO REHAB, AND HAVING TWO ANGIOGRAMS WITH IN TWO WEEKS. I COULD NOT WEAR THE PROSTHETIC FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, AND HAD TO TOUGHEN UP MY STUMP ALL OVER AGAIN, WHICH IS VERY PAINFUL. I ALSO BECAME VERY DEPRESSED, AFTER ALL OF THIS, BEING IN AND OUT OF THE HOSPITALS AND GOING ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER. I REMEMBER WAKING UP EVERY MORNING, AND REALIZING THAT I COULDN’T WALK, AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELF WHAT A NIGHTMARE TO WAKE UP...AT LEAST IN MY DREAMS I HAD TWO LEGS AND I WAS WALKING. I HAD GOTTEN SO DEPRESSED THAT I STARTED THINKING THAT IF IT WASN’T FOR MY SON AND MY WIFE I WOULD END IT ALL. I FELT LIKE I WAS OUT OF CONTROL OF MY EMOTIONS AND I WAS ON THE VERGE OF CRYING ALL THE TIME.

. I WENT TO SEE A DOCTOR OF PSYCHIRIST , HE WAS REFERED TO ME BY MY CASE MANAGER , AT MARICOPA MANAGED CARE. WHEN I SAW HIM, HE DIAGNOSED THAT I HAD MANIC DEPRESSION. AND PUT ME ON 300MG OF SERZONE A DAY.

I WAS ABLE TO GET TO TRY A PROSTHETIC LEG , IT WAS MADE FOR ME BY NOVA CARE. IT WAS A TRAINING LEG . IT HAD A BELT TO HOLD IT ON , AND A WEIGHT ACTIVATED KNEE, (TITAN KNEE) IT WAS HARD TO LEARN BECAUSE OF ALL THE MUSCLE GONE FROM MY BUTTOCKS I COULD NOT SWING MY LEG BACKWARDS. ONLY FORWARDS MOTION.

SO WHAT I HAVE TO DO IS SWING IT FORWARDS, TRY AND PUT MY WEIGHT ON IT AND TAKE A STEP WITH THE OTHER LEG AND A HALF ARM CRUTCH, AND HOPE THAT THE KNEE WAS LOCKED IN PLACE, OR IT WOULD BUCKLE OUT UNDER ME.. I SEEMED TO HAVE GOTTEN THAT DOWN PRETTY GOOD, BUT THE KNEE WAS A TRAINER AND THEY WEAR OUT QUICKLY, THEY ARE ALSO HEAVY AND VERY JERKY.
SO IT WAS TIME TO TRY A LEG THAT WAS LIGHTER, AND HAD A SUCTION FIT AND A HYDRAULIC KNEE, I WAS FITTED FOR THIS AND IT WAS VERY SMOOTH AND NATURAL FEELING, AND LIGHTER. BUT I WAS HAVING TROUBLE GETTING THE KNEE TO LOCK EVERY TIME AND WAS AFRAID OF FALLING. BECAUSE OF MY UNIQUE SITUATION OF HAVING SURVIVED THE ANEURYSM AND LOSS OF ALL RIGHT HIP MUSCLE AND BUTTOCKS. IT HAS BEEN NOT ONLY HARD FOR ME TO LEARN BUT ALSO FOR THE PROSTHETIST TO BUILD AND DESIGN A CUSTOM PROSTHETIC THAT WILL WORK FOR ME.

I STILL HAVE CHRONIC PAIN, BUT NOT AS OFTEN AND THE DEPRESSION IS UNDER CONTROL WITH MEDICATIONS . I AM TRYING TO STAY ACTIVE AND GET OUT, GO TO THE MALL OR GO TO THE MOVIES. WHEN I OVER DO IT, IT AFFECTS ME HARD AND I HAVE TO STAY PUT UNTIL MY NERVE ENDINGS CALM DOWN. I STILL HAVE THE BLINDNESS IN THE LEFT EYE AND THEY SAY I WILL NEVER GET IT BACK, IT WAS CAUSED FROM LOSS OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD DURING THE FIRST SURGERY.

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Comment by Gary Dan Salow JR on July 26, 2014 at 2:15

Thank you Kimberlee.

Comment by Kimberlee Jones on July 25, 2014 at 12:19

Wow Gary, that is an incredible story of survival!  I know how hard it is to stay positive and I'm glad you have such a loving and wonderful family there to remind you that life is worth living. You are a survivor! Keep taking one day at a time, you have unique appreciation most people don't have.  Please, if you feel the need to vent your frustration, worries, etc...that is one of the reasons we are here.  *hugs* Just breathe and take life one moment at a time.

*hugs*

Kimberlee

Comment by Gary Dan Salow JR on July 24, 2014 at 22:38
I would like to add that I had a triple A. My dissection spiraled down my aorta, if it had torn down all the way around, I would have not survived it. I still have a false chamber all the way down, and it was last measured at 5.2 plus centimeters, It could rupture at any time, I had one doctor tell me I am a walking time bomb, Wasn't a really nice thing to say to me, anyway I Also have a low back fusion with two ruptured disks in my low back, and because they are so close to where my aorta lays, the Nero doctors say it is to big of a risk to try and operate on me, they said they would have to go in the front side of my body to fix or work on them , and that moving all my internal organs could possibly rupture my aorta, and I would bleed out. So now I have chronic sciatic nerve pain that shoots down my amputated right leg side. And a little more then a year ago it started doing the same thing down my left leg.  
 I don't do alot of moving around or bending as it tends to make my back pain flare up. 
I watch movies, and spend time with my wife, and son who I love very much.

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