Personal Stories: Anthony B.
I'm new to this website and am happy to have found it. When I first
experienced my aortic dissection back on December 1, 2003 I could find
very little info on the subject. I had never heard of the condition. I
know so much about the condition now that I could probably write a book.
Anyway, my story begins on 12/1/03 while working as a dock worker,
loading and unloading trucks. I was in the process of unloading 250 lb.
metal rods from the truck to the dock when I began to sweat profusely
and had some pain in my back and in my chest. I thought if I could just
'sit it out' in my car I'd feel better.
got to my car the pain intensified everywhere and I could barely move. I
couldn't make it back to the dock, so I ended up driving myself to the
nearest hospital. Lucky for me the hospital had a trauma center, or my
condition might have been misdiagnosed as happens in so many cases. I
was scared, thinking I was having a heart attack, or what I thought a
heart attack must feel like. After being seen by numerous ER doctors a
specialist was called in and tests were done and I was told I had
experienced an aortic dissection (descending, type B). My BP was through
the roof. I had never had high BP in my life. After I was stabilized I
was transferred to the ICU and monitored round the clock.
next morning I spoke with the Thoracic surgeon who diagnosed my
condition and he went through the steps for treating my condition, which
consisted of BP medications (Metroprolol, Enalapril, HCTZ), potassium,
aspirin, Vicodin, Oxycontin and Oxycodone. The plan was to treat me
medically, no surgery in the near future.
in the hospital for 8 days and was sent home to rest. No strenuous
anything - lifted nothing heavier than a gallon of milk. My doctors
continued to monitor my condition for about six months. I was told that
the tear in my aorta went all the way down into the Illiac artery in my
legs. I experienced numbness in my right leg off and on. At the six
month point a CAT scan showed that the tear was expanding and surgery
was my only option.
22, 2004 I endured a 8 1/2 surgery to replace a portion of my aorta,
about mid-way down. The doctors didn't want to go lower, because of a
chance of paralysis. I was in the hospital for 7 days following surgery.
I was like a newborn baby -- couldn't do anything for myself. I could
barely walk, was hurting in and around the 16" incision which extended
from below my shoulder blade to the front of my stomach. I had 2 chest
tube 'holes' which also caused me pain.
God for my wife...she had to clean and bandage everything for me for
weeks, in addition to showering me, helping me eat, giving me my meds
and helping to stabilize me when I attempted to walk. I got winded
easily (and still do). I am 'healed' up now, but still face days when I
struggle just to get out of bed. I sleep off and on most days and my
energy levels have dropped. I also now have chronic pain and am being
treated by a Pain Management clinic. I wear Fentanyl patches for 72
hours at a time.
doctors say I have nerve damage as a result of my surgery, which will
more than likely never go away. During the aortic replacement my left
side vocal cords were paralyzed, so I've had 3 surgeries to repair them.
For some strange reason I also lost 50% of my hearing in my left ear,
which no doctor can explain. I had been tested prior to the surgery and
had perfect hearing. I've gained about 30 pounds since this all happened
due to the inactivity. The most recent CAT scan shows the abdominal
section of my aorta is now expanding, though slower than the upper
facing another surgery within a year to replace the abdominal portion of
my aorta. It is riskier, because we're dealing with the chance of
paralysis when the legs are involved. The doctors say they may put a
stent in there or have to replace that section...they won't know until
the time comes. I haven't worked since 12/2003 and am in the process of
trying to get Social Security benefits. I have been turned down once
already, but have just re-applied. I think the fact that I am only 41
years old may have something to do with the SS Admin.'s decision to turn
down my request.
one of those SS workers spent a day in my shoes, they'd see things
differently. I am thankful for a supportive wife and family. I am lucky
to be alive and I thank God and my lucky stars every day. My life has
changed completely. I use to hold down two jobs at a time and now I have
trouble holding a couple of books! I still drive, but sometimes the meds
prevent me from getting around due to tiredness and fatigue.
every aspect of my life has been affected. My moods fluctuate from good
to bad. The pain patches don't work 100% of the time, so I'm having to
deal with constant pain and discomfort. Thanks for reading my story.
Felt good to share it with people who understand what I've been through.
| Contact Us |
Link To Us
2003-2008. All Rights Reserved.