Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Ever since my surgery I have felt different. Almost different I can't completely put into words how it feels inside only that it almost feels like I shouldn't have survived. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else but that is how I feel on a day to day basis. I have a wife and two nine year olds that love me unconditionally and yet I can't figure out why. I feel like I don't deserve anything I have and why I haven't been able to straighten out my life since my surgery. Almost like I shouldn't have survived. Before my operation, life was simple, work a lot and get paid and survive by paying the bills. I used to make a living by working in construction. I tried to do my old job buy I only found out that I couldn't. Nobody understood at my old job.

I am currently unemployed and trying to figure out what the future holds for
Me and my family but as it stands right now it doesn't look promising. I am not
A stupid man, but I have been thinking about alternate options for my future
And I have only come up with nothing. I truly want to provide for my family
But I can't do what I used to. I would do anything in the world for them. So if
Anybody has any ideas as to what I can do to make money now I would love to heat it.

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Comment by Nicola McMeekin on September 28, 2012 at 14:29

Hi Bernie
Having the love and support of a family has really helped me with my recovery but it's taken time and lots of talking. I am an accountant and at present work part-time from home which suits me fine. Have you thought about doing a bit of voluntary work for a while in an area you have a passion for? It may give you an insight into whether it is for you and what you are capable of post AD. Also, as it's not paid, you won't feel under pressure stressed to do more than you want to.
Good luck

Comment by Richard Deal on September 28, 2012 at 6:07

Hi Bernie,

I dissected at 30, promptly died, and was "reborn" by the surgical team for a second chance at this thing called life. I too have absolutely no idea what I should do with this second chance and would rather not have had it - but I made a conscious decision to just get on with it... This results in an awful lot of Churchill's (and Graeme's) black dog, an awful lot of feeling like I am the loneliest person on the planet, and just generally feeling that nobody could possibly understand what I am going through - almost like being an emo teenager again!

I have taken the view that I shouldn't let the dissection affect me, so I still bumble along like I did before, but unlike before I don't seek out new relationships with people that I consider don't need to share my burden - which is basically anyone.

I had the option here in Germany of applying for disability, which I did, and I am now classed as 60 degrees of disabled - what this actually means is anyone's guess, but it does afford some interesting tax breaks, cheap tickets to all sorts of things and additional holiday - I still work full-time and although I recognise that my body has its limitations I don't feel in the slightest bit disabled. Luckily I guess for me I don't do anything physically demanding, I just sit around all day trying to "develop" business by emailing, phoning and generally pestering our sales forces to talk about our product range.

Unluckily for me, though, I don't have any progeny or anyone "special" in my life, so the bumbling along in a world of depression trying not to burden anyone else doesn't really get noticed. You have the greatest of gifts it seems - a loving wife and two gorgeous children and you are all three's world. You have a direct possibility to influence and shape two young minds to be better people and to appreciate the finest things in life - love, family, friendship, and happiness. You are not defined by what you do, you are defined by the people that you touch. Money, although it plays a significant role in today's society, is basically a distraction from the finer things.

Do you have any options open to you regarding disability? Are there any possibilities to retrain when you're unemployed? You either need to become one of the "entitled" and focus your life on your kids and your wife, or get a mind numbing job sat on your arse all day working down that inbox... I have the latter, and believe me I'd swap the first one with you (or anyone for that matter) in a heartbeat.

Take care, keep on trudging,


Comment by Gregory Smith on September 27, 2012 at 20:26

I don't know how old you are or how long it's been since your operation, or indeed what your operation was but I, too, found I was unable to work or to concentrate on anything (my job was a web designer - nothing physical) for about a year or so after my AD. I was short tempered with friends and family and found it hard to get a good night's sleep. However, as time went on, I got better and fitter since I joined a cardiac rehabilitation gym class and took up Tai Chi. Fortunately, I reached retirement age last year so I don't have to worry about an income any more.


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