Personal Stories: Patti Cooksey-Fisher


My husband survived the 11 hour surgery to repair his dissecting aorta

nearly 5 years ago. He had respiratory problems coming off the

machine. A year after the surgery he was tested and found out that he

had an acquired brain injury. Have other patients experienced this?

Originally he was treated for depression, but his short term memory,

fatigue, and confusion did not clear up with therapy and medication . It

was after they had exhausted all efforts to treat depression that they

finally tested him for evidence of a brain event.

Also, his vocal cord was damaged in the surgery and paralyzed. He now

has an implant that helps him talk, although he needs a microphone if he

is in a class or meeting. I wonder if others have experienced this too.

Recently, his surgeon said the graft that was used to repair the tear

can last 5-10 years. Do you know anything about this?

Certainly we are grateful he survived and make the most of each day now!

Perhaps some day my husband will write his story--the story of a

hospital chaplain who survived such a horrific event.

Update: June 10th, 2004

Brian, My husband was 58 at the time, had been a hospital chaplain in

the trauma center for 13 years so he got excellent care in the ER.

However, like some of the other stories I have read on your web site, it

took many tests and many hours before they found the tear in the

ascending and descending aorta. He was in surgery and on the by-pass

machine for over 9 hours. His condition was very grave. He also went

into respiratory arrest in ICU and had to be put back under for several

days before they could gradually bring him back up and gradually wean

him from the machine. He has had a host of problems in the years that

have followed, but continues to enjoy and contribute to life as much as

he can.



Patti Cooksey-Fisher


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