Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection
November 10th 2011 . It was an average Thursday for me. Nothing out of the ordinary that morning until I decided to step outside for a quick cigarette (I know, it's a terrible habit! But this was one hell of a way to stop!!). As I went to light said cigarette I had a sharp pain in my lower back. For a moment, I thought that I'd pulled a muscle in my back, then, very quickly, I realised that it was something more serious as the pain spread rapidly up my spine to my chest. I have never experienced pain like it before, and I'm not in a hurry to experience it again either! Cue a phone call to the local Ambulance Service and a trip to the local A&E. Once in hospital it took a short while fo the docs to suspect that I was suffering from an Aortic Dissection of some sort. I was packed off for a CT scan which confirmed a Type B Dissection. Thankfully, it would seem that it was not serious enough to warrant surgery. The doctors decided to treat my dissection by controlling my runaway blood pressure and by slowing down my racing heartbeat. When I was transferred to the Cardiology Department, my blood pressure was roughly 300/150. Apparently, the highest that the nurses had seen for a while. I was duly hooked up to umpteen drips and sensors to try and get my condition under control. This was further complicated by a lung infection which made me look and feel even worse that I already was. It took a few days to sort out the infection, then everyone could concentrate on getting my BP and pulse down to a safe and sensible level. Two weeks after my arrival, I was released into my brothers custody unde strict instructions to do a little as humanly possible.
I have to say that doing nothing came quite easily to me because I found myself to be as weakas a tiny kitten as a result of my ordeal. This was a real shock to me. Although I was already disabled, I'd always been fiercely independent. To suddenly be relying on others for most of your day to day chores was shocking. To make matters worse, it would seem that when I was dispatched from hospital, I was given way too many tablets for my condition. As a result, two weeks after my discharge, I was feeling totally run down. Worse, almost, than at just about any stage of my illness. My GP decided to do a blood test and 24 hours later I was back in hospital with acute renal failure. It would seem that all the drugs that I'd been given were overwhelming my kidneys. So another few days ensued, as the doctors flushed out my kidneys and attempted to adjust my pill dosage so that they could control my blood pressure without trashing my kidneys. Finally, a week or so before Christmas, I was sent home again to restart my recovery.
And that's about as far as I've got. I've found myself sat at home (after a good few weeks being waited on hand and foot by my brother and his family, I finally felt strong enough to go home and try to survive on my own), trying to recuperate and regain my strength. It's in my recovery that I am having issues. From the moment I left hospital, I've had no proper advice on how my recuperation should go, no information on how long I'd be off work or anything. I have to say that my GP has been excellent, however, she is no expert on AD's, and as such, can only offer me limited help and advice. She, like me, is reliant on the cardiologist for guidance for my tratment. The problem being that my cardiologist seems to have put my case to the bottom of his list. I'm still to have a follow up from him, so I have no idea how my AD is progressing. I know that I feel better, although I still tire quite easily.
I have to say that the hardest part of my recovery is finding information about what I should expect to be going through. As far as I can tell, not having to go through surgery following an AD is quite rare. Also suffering an AD at the age of 43 is also rare. I have trawled the internet for weeks now and found little to help me until, that is, I found this website. It's been good to read the experiences of fellow sufferers. Any little gems of advice that any of you guys and girls can impart my way will be gratefully received.
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