Name: Michael Johnson
Age at time of Dissection: 60
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 1 June 2010
Tell Us Your Story:

I’m a long time Boulder resident, before that Eugene, where my family still lives. At sixty, I had given up on controlling my blood pressure. One clinic would try this, another that, drugs which didn’t help much. Often it would be around 200/140, and I wouldn’t feel much like working. I took atenelol and Tikva.

So one fine June morning, as I was driving by Boulder Community Hospital, my chest started to explode with unbelievable pain. I drove the 1/2 block to the emergency room and stumbled through the entry door bellowing “I’m having a heart attack right now”. Luckily they didn’t believe me, and my excellent cardiologist, Dr Nelson Trujillo, figured out that I was having an aortic dissection. They watched it progress down my aorta all the way to the iliac junction (arteries to my legs). (Is this too wordy?)

I was lucky that a cardiac surgery had been made ready for a scheduled bypass operation. The cardiac staff was all assembles, and they were able to get me on the table very quickly, and saved my life.  Tamponade had begun and I had only a few minutes to live.

Now seven months later, I am recovering well.  I feel so lucky to have retained nearly all of my facilities, and my biggest physical problem is reduced blood flow to my hips and balance muscles, which makes walking a block a real challenge.  I am getting back to work a few hours per day.  Often I come home in the mid afternoon for a long nap.

A quote from the ICU nurse who came by every few minutes–I croaked out the question–“Do you think I can have a normal life after this?”.  She replied “Well Mr Johnson, these bodies aren’t made to last much more that sixty or seventy years,  I suggest you enjoy every day you get!”  Then “That’s my words of wisdom for today”

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