Personal Stories: Raul Rodriguez



My name is Raul Rodriguez; I am a 33 years old from El Paso Texas. I am 6'2 210 (now 198) pounds I have for the most part been healthy all my life except for my high blood pressure that has gone almost always uncontrolled since I was about 22 years old.


On November 21, 2007 I woke up and as I got out of bed I felt a sharp pain that seemed to rotate from my chest to my back. I thought for sure I was having a heart attack, so I chewed an aspirin and drove myself to Las Palmas Medical Center's ER.


I arrived and after the verified my health insurance they took me in my vitals where all ok my BP was 185/120. They did an EKG, blood work and chest X-Ray and gave me 6cc of morphine for the pain. After a couple of hours a doctor went in and told me I wasn't having a heart attack all I had was high blood pressure and it probably gave me a sore heart muscle. He told me he would give me a prescription to control my BP and to make an appointment ASAP with a primary doctor.


I called a Dr. I know German Reject and I was given an appointment the following Monday. I felt very good because of the morphine and the fact that I was told that my heart was ok. So I went back to work. That was the week of Thanksgiving and I didn't take care of myself at all I exercised, drank alcohol, didn't sleep well and stayed out vary late every day that weekend.


I didn't even take the medicine prescribed to me by the ER doc because he wrote for me to take 1-4 pills a day and the pharmacist at Walgreen's told me that didn't t make sense I called the hospital so they could clarify but they where very rude, the PA didn't let me speak to the doctor. They told me I had to go back to the ER pay another co-pay so they could give me another prescription.



Monday morning I was going into work a little late to because I had my Dr's appointment at 8:00 am. I woke up at 7:00 am and got up to brush my teeth; suddenly I felt like someone stabbed me. The pain was back 10 times stronger again in my chess and back. I have never felt something so terrible in my life. This time I could not drive myself I was literally rolling on the floor but somehow I managed to get to a phone and dial 911.


In minutes Firemen and Paramedics where in my house. They gave me something for the pain and rushed me back to Las Palmas Medical Center. I thought I was going to die! I got there and again I went trough the same thing. EKG, blood work and chest EX-RAY and I were told everything was OK. My BP was 167/89 this time, but they where going to give me a CT scan. It took a few minutes and a nurse told me the doctor ordered that I not move until he read the results of the CT scan. A PA walked in and told me not to move or panic but I had a hole in my aorta and I was going to need emergency surgery.


I remained calm but scared. After about an hour a heart surgeon Dr. Lyn said I may not need surgery that they where going to put me in ICU and control my BP. A few days later I was told I had a Type B Descending aortic dissection that went from right under my heart to my right leg, but with medication to lower my blood pressure it would heal in time. They also did some test for my kidneys and discovered one was not functioning because of reduced blood flow.


After a few days it seemed to go back to normal. After 11 days (a Friday) I got out of the hospital with 3 different types of BP medication. The following Monday I went to see my Primary doctor; he told me I should go to Houston and seek a second opinion. Then he checked my BP it was 170/90 he told me to check my self back to the ER. I spent 5 more days there and I finally got my BP under control with four medications. While I was back in the hospital my doctor was trying to get me MEDIVAC to Houston but was unsuccessful.  My cardiologist said he already got several opinions and at this time he is very optimistic that it will heal and I won't need surgery.


The surgeon and my cardiologist Dr. De Luca both think I'll be OK without surgery but my primary doctor is a little paranoid to the point that Drʼ De Luca told me not to let his anxiety make me anxious. I've been out of the Hospital for over a week and my blood pressure is under control. I have an appointment with my cardiologist in a month and I am scheduled for another CT scan in three months than every six months. I am back to work but I am not allowed to carry anything heavy. Other than having minor pains in my back that seem to come and go I feel great. I almost feel 100%.


The only thing is that I am very depressed but I refuse to take any antidepressants that will alter my mood. I feel that I'm going trough a good phase but something terrible is going to happen to me soon. I have yet to learn about someone who didn't have surgery and had a happy ending. I know I am lucky to be alive and feel great but my future is very foggy to me I was going to get married and I planed on having kids, but now I feel I'll make my wife a widow soon and I won't be there for my kids. I don't know what to expect.


Brain thanks for this website good bless you.




Raul Rodriguez


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