Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection
I've just joined this forum and this is my story. It started on 30th dec 2010 when I arrived home with my 9 year old son very calm and collected and just sat down on the settee at about 8:00 in the evening, I suddenly got chest pains which accelerated to a high level quickly, just a few seconds. I thought it was some kind of spasm so just held on for a couple of minutes and eventually got up and then sat down on stairs, pain still high so went to my bedroom (approx 5 mins elapsed now) Something was clearly not right so shouted my daughter to get the phone. I dialled 999 and asked for ambulance and described what was going on, after a few questions she asked me to pass the phone to my daughter while the paramedics were on the way. Paramedics arrived swiftly and came into the bedroom where my shirt was removed and they started sticking pads all over me while asking me alsorts of questions. After approx 5 mins I was carried downstairs and into the ambulance where we sat for a little while so the paramedic could take blood from me (pain still high) This is to detect enzymes which are released after a heart attack I believe. My left arm was white which I pointed out to the paramedic (no reply from him) After taking blood I was given morphine and the pain subsided. mega relief!
Ambulance had blue lights flashing, the lot. Arrived in A&E and eventually ended up on medical assessment unit at Preston Royal infirmary. Rough first night after morphine wore off, was on a ward just in a room on my own, pain relief was given as often as they could administer but didn't seem to me to be alot going on in terms of diagnosing my condition. Transferred early am to the proper beds area where I remained for 2 days. doctors came and went and I had a scan but wasn't a CT scan. After not diagnosing my condition, doctor said I could go home and they would investigate my condition as an outpatient. Didn't seem right at the time and protested that I wasn't fit to go home. Sister on ward just wanted rid of me(or at least it felt that way) she said 'make your mind up if you want to go home or not, if not I'm going to move you.'
Decided to stay and was moved to a different ward. Much more pleasant staff, still lots of pain when medicine wore off and in agony one night as pain moved down to my abdomen and excruciating back pain. Doctors came and went, still no diagnosis. got sent for and xray and they told me the back pain and abdominal pain was feces and was given an enema and suppositries. I had no idea at that time what an aortic dissection was or how serious it is.Doctors discharged me with a bag full of parcetamol, movicol and senokot for my pain and constipation on 3rd jan 2011 with my discharge note saying 'chest pain cause ?'
Spent one night at home which was unbeleivably painful and did not sleep at all, rang for ambulance first thing with massive abdominal and massive back pain, paramedics arrived and told me to be calm but a bit difficult when you are in so much pain. we had a liesurely drive to the hospital and ended up in A&E again, and then onto surgical assessment unit again in Preston royal. During my previous stay in hospital I was having dialogue with my brother who lives 200 miles away in cardiff whose best friend is a consultant physician at cardiff general who he'd been talking to about me. He'd already suggested to my brother AD and on hearing I was back in hospital he drove up to preston to find out what was going on. On arriving, the doctor said he didn't know what was wrong with me, so my brother said it could be AD and he needs an urgent CT scan. This was done immediately and an acute aortic dissection was demonstrated. I was rushed to manchester royal infirmary where I had the 8 hour op and surgeons at the hospital told my family I was lucky to still be alive. Recovery took 2 weeks in hospital before I could go home and it was only then when I started to realise the magnitude of it all. Dark days were frequent and in some cases more painful than the physical pain I had suffered. I am now approaching 4 months from my ascending aorta dissection op and feel like I have matured 10 years in those 3 months. I feel stress was a significant contributary factor and intend to study it and spread the word and educate people at work as this to me is a big silent killer.
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