Personal Stories: JH Rodriquez (Eric)

My name is Eric Rodriguez, I am Latin American, I am  48 yrs, born in the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico. I am also, or better yet, was working as a contractor in the Middle East, Iraq. I was not a very conscious healthy guy and I gain some weight, 290 lbs. to be factual. The stress and the weight were a bad combination, ending in racing my blood pressure unsafely.

Even I ride my bicycle to and from work the exercise was not enough for what I was going to go thru one night. August 5, 2008 that night on or about 10pm I was awaken by a sharp pain in the upper chest area that soon took over my central area in the back, my left arm and leg too. The pain will go for a moment lower but it will come back stronger. I immediately took 3 Aspirins and seek help in a near by Emergency Phone pole. Luckily there was a soldier there and call an ambulance.

At the Air force Hospital I was diagnosed with the beginning of an Aortic Dissection and it was about to burst. The longest and most painful night I had ever live, and I have to say this it was a miracle I made to Germany in 8 hrs flight from Iraq. At Germany the Surgeons conducted the repair of my Ascending Aorta and then I was transfer to an Army Hospital for recovery, almost one month.

Finally the company I was working for in Iraq sent me to my home town, Colorado Springs, CO. Here I have almost a month, by myself, recovering and doing the best I can to get better and go back to work. There were many complications; Sleep Apnea did not help, Sinusitis, and a lot of sneezing took a hold of me. Sometimes I feel like something is loose inside my chest, my surgeon said it was because of the complications I have some loose wires nothing dangerous, if they do not get completely detached from the chest muscles.

The bottom line is; be wise take regular checks with your primary doctor so you can prevent or at least detect the illness on time. Above all live a healthy life, and stay out of smoking. I have learned a great lesson. God knows I thank all the medical personnel who help me and my boss too. One thing very important, be honest with yourself, because once the Aorta is sick it may happen again. Stay healthy and live long happy life.

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