Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Norv's Story I'm not sure whether it was a type A or B but here goes....

I'm a 45 year old guy from Nottingham, who is currently unemployed and I had what i call my episode really on the 24 Nov 2009.

I was at home chatting to a friend on the phone, and felt like i had been hit hard between my shoulder blades and in my chest, this lasted for 5 mins then went away. I told my friend about it but we both concluded that this was probably indigestion. About 10 minutes later the pain returned times 10, I could barely stand and had broken out in a cold sweat, I managed to lie down on the floor in the recovery position and shouted to my housemate. My housemate Jon came down the stairs and asked me what was up, to which i replied " I have no idea mate I just feel weird" He thought that i was over heating and helped me to my bedroom. Where i spent the next 10 hours alternating between thinking that i was being a complete wuss and struggling to the loo to vomit.

At about 6.30 the next morning i managed to gather myself together enough to have a look on the NHS website and after answering some questions thought I should ring them. The lady on the phone was very helpful, and she suggested that I might be having a heart attack. That's when I started to get worried, she arranged for an ambulance to come my house, and when it arrived the paramedic took one look at me and said "naah you're not having a heart attack, you don't look ill enough". He still did an ECG and took my blood pressure, and said that my ECG was abnormal and my blood pressure was very high. So I was blue lighted to the A and E at the Queens Medical Centre, were during the course of the day, I had blood taken, my blood pressure many times, a chest x ray and finally a CT scan. After the scan the doctor who was looking after seemed to know what the problem was, and i was given drugs to bring my bp down and told that i was being transferred to City Hospital where thay had a Cardiac Centre.

I was blue lighted across Nottingham to the hospital and taken straight to the Cardiac Intensive Care, Where they started taking details from me and shaving my chest. During the whole day i had been ring my brother and telling him what was happening, Which i suppose to him was very strange as I was very calm considering the seriousness of it all.

The last I remember was the nurse taking my brothers details from me, Then the next 2 days really didn't register with me. my chest was opened up after the operations due to a problem with blood clots and i really only have fleeting memories until the friday evening.

For about 2 weeks I couldn't talk to anyone about it, without breaking down in tears. and even now i still find it hard to cope with. Here I am not exactly old, and I was quite fit for my age.I had already given up smoking and barely drank, yet i find myself having open heart surgery. I found myself questioning my mortality, something I never previously did.

Its been 7 weeks since my op, I am getting better. My bp is still a little erratic and that is a slight worry. I am starting to get sensation back to my chest, though it still feels weird to touch. I'm taking beta blockers and ace inhibitors as well as aspirin and paracetamol.


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Comment by Charles Jackson on January 26, 2010 at 18:47

Being 45 myself and having had my emergency op at the end of November, I think we have a lot in common. I'll be posting my blog after i have my outpatient appointment with my consultant in mid feb. Given our very similar circumstances it will be interesting to compare our experiences and particularly how you are treated in Nottingham and me in West Yorkshire.

Comment by Patrick Gethin on January 24, 2010 at 21:57
Hi Norv

I know it's difficult to get your head round what happened but I tried not to dwell on it. It got on with the moment as we don't know what is going to happen in the future. I was getting on with it and felt fit enough to do one of the things on my "to do" list. But unfortunately another problem cropped up and I ended up in hospital in New York. I try not to think back on these episodes and move on to my next "to do". Take care and use this site to clear your thoughts and share them.
Comment by Richard Deal on January 21, 2010 at 12:56
hey there norv,
it is very easy to get maudlin about mortality, especially when you have either been resuscitated or have beaten all the odds, but your story is definitely a happy one. you are one in five, and you have to be grateful for that...!
i still get depressed about how much my life has changed and how little "fun" i think i can have, but everything is relative. somehow i pull myself through it...
i think that we all die at least once... maybe i just like to practise! i read somewhere that the goal of life is not to take a well preserved, perfectly functioning body to the grave, but to skid in sideways screaming "what a ride!" - after all no one dies healthy...
don't let the bastard get you down, life's too short!
Comment by Graeme on January 20, 2010 at 17:04

thanks for sharing your story with us..It's NOT easy for any of us to talk about what happened to us and I for one can totally relate to breaking down in tears.. I was like that for a long time...As we all know it's not so much the medical miracles performed on us that take time to heal (and yes your chest is going to feel funny for a while yet - but it will mend...) its also the mental side of this - it really messes with your head.. however as I think we can all testify - it does get better! Any questions or support you need from any of us just let us know.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery..



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