Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection
Those were my first thoughts when i awoke from the 2 week induced coma at my local hospital.
My last memory was of being home alone, standing, about to roll a joint when a strange sensation that had nothing to do with the dope, began.
No sharp pains, no symptoms of what was about to overwhelm my body, just a logical thought ...this does not feel ok... and my last thought before i blacked out was to press the emergency buttons on my mobile phone for ambulance service.
The ambulance guys, so i was told later,found me laying face down, minus 4 front teeth.
They had me down at the hospital within 10 minutes: the hospital was quite near, thankfully.
Anyway the ER people eventually diagnosed the problem and handed me over to the Cardiologists, who just happened to be at the hospital. The surgeon informed me later, last year to be exact, that he and his team decided i was worth saving and wheeled me into theater.
I thought, wow, what if they had decided in the negative. Tough job being a surgeon.
Ten hours later after extensive surgery to repair the upper aorta and insert a stent, i was packed in ice and left to ruminate for two weeks.
From all reports i was the perfect patient during this time.
Coming back to reality was the begining of a long period of drug induced hallucinations, recuperation and piecing together the information from doctors and nurses of what had happened to me.....and the realisation that i now had 8 new surgeons knife wounds at various parts of my body.
After a further week in ICU i was transferred to the next grade of hospital accomodation where i spent four weeks attempting to walk,un-aided for 1 kilometer, before i was allowed out to continue my recuperation.
I spent the first two weeks at a friend's house, basking in the winter sun, poolside [this is Australia, remember ].
After this time of sloth, i returned to my place to begin a regime of physical activity to get my body into some sort of fitness.
For this to happen and the self discipline required, i allowed my mind to recall the time i signed on in the Navy as a 17 year old and how it felt to be as fit as a Mallee bull and jumping out of my skin. It seemed to work ok, as within 18 months i had a job at my local supermarket, stacking bread on the shelves at the week-end. Painful for a few days afterwards, enough to keep me in bed for a couple of days.....in the end though i figured it was worth the effort and my bank balance looked healthy enough to plan a trip to the tropics.
The knife wounds in my groin took ages to heal and still give me a bit of curry if i over-do anything physical...the long scar in the middle of my chest healed beautifully and has not given me any trouble in the six years since, ditto all the other scars. And only once has airport security pinged me for the 7 titanium pins holding my chest together.
In May this year i turned 70 and it has been 6 years since my ''little incident'' .... thanks for listening...or should i say reading....cheers.....Tom Hankin. Fremantle, West Australia. 2012
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