Personal Stories: Kim Putnam's Father
We had suspected that my dad had hypertension for years. Combined
with a very unhealthy weight and diet, he seemed to be a health
disaster waiting to happen. He refused, however, to see a doctor,
assuming that his declining health was related to his work with
asbestos earlier in life. One evening, home alone in the shower, he
broke into a cold sweat. Breathing became difficult and he felt a
He refused, still, to be taken to the emergency room, insisting
that he was only experiencing the downward spiral associated with
exposure to asbestos. Finally, unable to breathe well, he consented to
see a doctor. The doctor did not diagnose him properly and ended up
giving him ciprofloxacin to clear up an "infection".
The doctor never took any tests or x-rays. To make this extremely
long story short, he somehow ended up with 2 liters of fluid being
drained from his lung. A test showed the aortic dissection. We have no
idea right now if the two conditions are linked. He will be having
His aneurysm is 6 cm in diameter, and as of this writing, he will
be having surgery tomorrow morning to repair it. I would urge anyone
who has smoked, has a fat-laden diet, is overweight and of an "intense
personality" to go ahead and have the tests done to reveal whether or
not this silent killer is present. My dad is really fortunate to be
Thanks, Brian, for creating this great site that helps family
members know what to prepare for and to expect. Kindest regards! Kim
My dad had his surgery on Thursday morning. I guess the split ended up
going from his left shoulder area down near his abdomen. They did go
in through the side, taking out a rib (which they do not put back).
It was touch and go for a bit. They could not get the bleeding to
stop, nor could they get his body temperature back up after the
surgery for awhile. His blood pressure, even though he was
unconscious, remained high, but they were able to stabilize that last
They took out the ventilator this morning, and although he
has had great pain in beginning to breathe on his own and it's been
difficult, he does seem to be doing better.
Thanks again for putting up this site, and also for your willingness
to answer questions and put us at ease that people do make it through
I guess we have since found out that he "should not" be alive. Two
doctors on staff at Memorial also are friends of his from his Sunday
School class. One of the doctors went in and was a part of the fluid
drainage procedure. He said he went home and cried all night, because
there was no medical way my dad was alive.
He had 2 1/2 liters of
fluid in his lungs, and should have "drowned". That, combined with the
186/110 blood pressure and the aortic dissection should have killed
him loooong before he got to the hospital.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family as
you continue to heal from your own surgery. That you can go through
what you and your wife have been through and still decide to help
other people speaks volumes as to the kind of people that you are!
God bless, and please stay in touch and let us know how you're doing.