Personal Stories: David Cusack told by Maria Cusack
My name is Maria and this is my husband David's story.
My husband became ill on the 6th February 2000, he started with
severe chest pain which progressed to his back very quickly. He was
taken to A & E by ambulance with the friends he was with at the time. I
arrived just as he arrived (22.00) to find he was in terrible pain, they
gave him morphine which had no effect.
At 5 0'clock in the morning of the 7th I finally went home with the
information that he had probably got a perforated ulcer that would be
treated with antibiotics and fluids, he would be going for a CT scan
later that morning to confirm the diagnosis.
At 10.00 or there about (7.2.2000) I received a phone call to say
that David had an aneurysm and may be transferred to another hospital.
It was later that day I was told it was a dissected aorta (a tear)
and may be treated by surgery, but control of the blood pressure was the
treatment for now, which was 200/240 when he first arrived and life
David spent 2 weeks in Coronary Care and for the most part was still
in some discomfort. He was on morphine via a intravenous pump. His blood
pressure was not under control varying from 150/98 to 180/110 and every
time a reading was taken this put him under more stress as he had been
told he could not go home until it was stable. David became very
depressed and needed to come home. Finally it was agreed that he would
be better at home. The staff in Coronary Care ward were fantastic and we
are very grateful for their support. With the help and assistance from
family and close friends David came home.
David was very weak and could not eat very well if at all, he said
nothing tasted right. The only thing he survived on at one point was
Complan and rest.
After 6 weeks at home he began to pick up, but he's in pain every day
We then started the road to looking for answers, why it happened,
what can be done and how.
We were told this was probably caused by high blood pressure and
surgery is not an option at the moment. We were also told that the Aorta
was not likely to change and his condition would probably be stable
providing his blood pressure was controlled. Which it is now as long as
he does not get over anxious or stressed.
Over the years he's had MRI scans, CT scans, X rays, 24hr blood
pressure monitor readings and many consultations with various doctors.
David's condition changed in 2003 and he started having problems with
his legs, they would both go numb at the same time for a period of
seconds this has now progressed to minutes.
A scan was arranged and a consultation with a Cardio Thoracic
Surgeon. It was confirmed that David's condition had deteriated and he
now had an aneurysm as well as the dissection. The Surgeon said that it
was now out of his field of expertise and he referred him to a
specialist in Birmingham about 100 miles away.
The appointment arrived and we traveled to see Mr. Bonsar at the
University of Birmingham Hospital. He was very nice and explained what
he would like to do in the first instance. You've guessed it more tests
David had an angiogram May 2004 and this confirmed that the
dissection has extended. The false lumen seems to have taken over from
the primary, there is now no possibility of a stent being applied to the
Aorta which Mr. Bonsar hoped to be able to do.
It was also confirmed that it was likely that this was caused by the
fall that David had on the 30th December 1999 from a telegraph pole. He
fell 26ft onto his chest and broke his left wrist, there was no check
for any other injury at the time and to be fair there were no signs.
It was decided that for now we would do nothing until another MRI
scan had been done to check progression. The scan was done on the 15th
March 2005 and we are waiting for the results.
The only operation David can now have is to replace the Aorta, as you
can imagine we have lots of questions but are almost afraid to ask.
On the positive side we do not sit and mope, we get on with our
lives. We enjoy our 4 grandchildren who keep us amused. We have a good
family and a close circle of friends who we know will support us and
help us whenever we need it.
We know we will have to make a decision sooner or later whether to go
ahead with the operation, but this is one that only David can decide. We
know the risks and the likely outcomes, God willing there will be an
answer that we can all live with.
Thank you for the site and the many stories I have read, they have
given me hope that there is an answer for us and a life still to lead.
Regards to you all and best wishes for your future health