Personal Stories: Charles Francis

Hi, I've looked at several stories and can now tell mine. I was at home and fit - I'd given up working for a FTSE 100 company in the UK and was renovating houses with my brother. I was reasonably fit, going to the gym a few times a week and the work was keeping me fit. It was the 5th January this year. I had just moved my son's car and as I got out of the car to walk back into the house just didn't feel well.


Struggled back into the house and rang my wife who was shopping in Tunbridge Wells, said I didn't feel well. She said she would be back in 10 minutes! When she got back asked me what I needed? Did I want to lie down etc. For no good reason I said call the doctor, a very good friend of mine, I've never said this before in my life. Luckily Mike, the doctor, was on his way home and came in to the house within 5 minutes. Even more surprising he diagnosed "ascending, thoracic, grade A aortic dissection.


He had never seen it before, he's 59 and about to retire. He got me off t o kent and Sussex hospital, who ran some tests and realized there was nothing they could do, way out of their level. I was sent by ambulance with doctor and morphine to St Thomas's in London. Luckily there was a surgeon and team available, plus a free theatre, plus an intensive care bed - all on the National Health Service.


My wife Rosie was told I had less than a 50-50 chance of survival and that was good as I appeared to be reasonably healthy.

Five days later I woke up, been in a drug induced coma - 2 hours later I was out of bed, just a couple of steps to prove to myself that I was alive. I had no idea how lucky I was to have had the ascending part of my aorta replaced with man made pipe.

I'm really fine now - I go back for another CT scan next week and could add to the story if anyone is interested.

I hope you are all well - best of everything.



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