What a grand notion. I’m a
survivor too and always felt I owed someone something.
To me, the biggest problem
is misdiagnosis. I had no warning and was teaching my class at Miami
University when it hit. There was no question in mind but what I was
in trouble. I went down on the floor from the intensity of the thing.
My students got an ambulance and I was taken to the hospital in
Oxford, Ohio. They concluded I did NOT have a heart attack and was
held over-night, I was released Friday AM (14 November 1997) and
instructed to return to the hospital Monday morning for some tests
(certain to include a treadmill).
This, as you will
understand, was a death sentence. I, on the other hand, felt just fine
and drove myself 20 miles home.
By accident, I received a
call from a friend in Dallas who – when I told him the story – begged
me to get of the area and go to Cleveland Clinic (about 30 miles from
here). He made arrangements, my sons flew in from Florida and
Massachusetts and drove me there Sunday. I walked in to CC Monday
morning and began routine tests. All of a sudden it hit again. I told
them to stop their tests because I was going down for the second time.
I remember the transesophogeal electrocardiogram and nothing further.
I was immediately in OR and recall nothing further for two days when I
awoke, filled with tubes and 100% paralyzed on the right side of my
My surgeon was Dr. Patrick
McCarthy, one of the relatively few at that point in time who could
have repaired me. The stroke occurred, at least as I understand it,
when my blood was turned back on and re-entered the brain. I’m now 95%
recovered from its effects – effects I shall NEVER forget.
I’m not sure why I’m
writing except to tell you I’d be happy to help you if there were some
way for me to do so – particularly on this misdiagnosis front (though
the intervening 8 years may have improved that situation). The shock,
however, in discovering that an untreated dissected aneurism of the
ascending aorta carries with it a probability of death of 1% per hour
– which I understand remains the case – and yet large #s of MDs could
send one home to be tested next week for pleurisy – still astounds me.
If that remains a problem, I WOULD like to help fix it.
Lewis G. Pringle (Lew