Name: Mindy/Branden Bloom
Age at time of Dissection: 32
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 19 October 2011
Tell Us Your Story:

Hi, I wanted to share my story of my beautiful Husband, Branden who passed away from his second aortic dissection which involved his ascending aorta this time. I am 32 years old and have 2 kids Kaylee 9 and Madyson 6. We lost my beautiful husband, Branden, on February 28 of this year. He was a wonderful daddy and amazing husband. He was a very hard worker, working at a cabinet place for 12 years. I got to be a stay-at-home mom. Last year I enrolled in college to be a social worker, but since all this I had to stop to take care of him and my family again. Sometimes I don’t know what I will do without him.

He had a long hard health struggle after having 2 aortic dissections. The first one happened on October 19, 2010 and the 2nd which took his life was on February 21 this year. Back in October he was opening the refrigerator door and got a sharp sudden pain in his shoulder blade area. He hunched over on our kitchen table in a great deal of pain. We assumed he pulled a muscle so I rubbed it and he dealt with it over the next couple days. He continued to work with all that pain he had until October 14, he had to pull over because he started getting back spasms that shook his whole body. He pulled over on the highway and waited 30 minuets before coming home, he hasn’t worked since. We decided it was time to go to the ER; they diagnosed him with back pain and sent us home with medication.

That day we went to the chiropractor to see if this would help his pain. After a couple days, the pain just got worse and his right leg would go numb off and on. On the 6th day they messaged his right calf to try and help his leg which was in a lot of pain and completely dumb at all times for 2 days. During the message it hurt even worse, really irritated it. When we got home he couldn’t even walk, he was swarming in circles in our front yard and not even able to really stay awake. I called the chiropractor and asked if this is normal after deep muscle message? He said “No, you need to take him to the ER, sounds like a stroke.” I waited a little because we just went to the ER for this. The chiropractor called back and asked if we left, I said “No” and he said “If you don’t go now I will call 911.” So we went.

Once there his health kept declining, he suddenly had really bad stomach pain to where he was moaning; he was not making much sense and couldn’t stay awake. After being in the ER for 7 hours they finally ordered a CAT scan of his stomach. Branden was in the bathroom trying to have a bowel movement when the doctor came in and said “I found what is wrong.” I wanted to know now but he said we have to wait until Branden was done in the bathroom.

I figured the news is probably not very good news. I will never forget the doctor saying “He is having a descending aortic dissection.” I ran to the computers there in the hospital to look it up and started to cry. Branden got transferred to our Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls and had a 6 hour surgery to repair his aorta. The aorta, our main vessel in our body has 2 layers and the inner layer split so blood started going between those layers and cutting off blood supply elsewhere. We kissed, hugged and said our goodbyes just in case.

When he woke up he was screaming in pain in stomach still so they had to do another 7 hour surgery because blood flow was still not going to the stomach. We found out the reason it hurt so much at the chiropractor was due to no blood flow to the legs. Also, the doctor said he was spinning around and acting goofy in our yard because he was dying. I also found out this is what John Rider died from immediately. Branden had no blood flow from waist down for 5 days! He lost his right kidney, part of intestines but his leg was saved. After the second surgery they put him in a medical induced coma to rest. 5 days later he woke up but was not his normal self. After 12 days of recovery in the Heart Hospital he was sent home.

After being home for 5 days he had to be re admitted because the wound became infected and he got an infection in his blood stream. Another surgery to remove infection and a vacuum seal to clean out the infection and he was home again. During the next 3 months we went to a wound clinic to get the bandages cleaned. He also had physical therapy 3 times per week. He was very weak could not do much but was slowly recovering.

During the last 2 weeks of his life he was starting to look really white again and even weaker. He started canceling physical therapy because it was too much on him. I wish we would have gone to doctors. On Feb 21 we just got home from a great weekend together him, and our girls and me. We stayed in a hotel, swam, and had a blast. On Monday we got groceries and Branden was putting them away while I picked up upstairs. I came down and he was laying on the living room floor I asked him what was wrong and he said “I don’t know I got a sharp pain in my ear that went down to my throat and I got dizzy.” So I told him to lie down while I finished upstairs. When I got down him and my daughter Kaylee were taking out the trash he said he felt better. Kaylee came back in but Branden wasn’t there. I asked “Where is daddy?” she said “He’s coming, I raced him and won.” So I waited a few minuets and asked Kaylee to make sure he was coming and she said “Mom, daddy fell!” I ran outside a nd Branden was on the ground in snow saying he could not get up, it hurts again.

I called 911 and it took them 40 minuets to get to our town outside of Sioux Falls! Once in the hospital ER his blood pressure was only 60/40 and they were running IV bags through him fast to raise it. They said he had very weak pulse in the right arm and asked me if he has always had a bad heart murmur? I said “No, he never has” so they ordered a cat scan and found a ascending dissection possibly up to his brain this time.

He was transferred than to our heart hospital again. We got to kiss and hug and say our goodbyes and love you because we knew this could be the last time. The doctor had to do open heart surgery and run the bypass machine to stop his heart. It was a long 8 hour surgery and he lived. The next day into the night he was wiled trying to wake up and pull stuff out of him. That next night they sedated him to rest. The next morning he was not moving any body parts and his head was stuck looking right. The doctor said he was worried about his brain. They did a CAT scan and found he had a massive stroke in his cerebellum and part of brain stem. They couldn’t tell us how much of the brain stem was involved because CAT scan doesn’t show that good. He had pacemaker wires in his chest so they couldn’t do a MRI which would tell us how bad it was.

He got transferred again to out hospital and put in the ICU which was Feb 23rd. On February 25th we had a big meeting with doctors and they all said he will never come out of this he is to sick. He will never be the same person you knew. We decided to have another palliative care meeting on Monday and we would decide what we would do. Over the weekend he just went downhill. He got a blood clot in the right arm, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, couldn’t regulate his temperature it kept falling, no gag reflexes, no pupil dilation and he was a very sick man. On Monday we decided Friday we would let him go. That Friday the whole family was there and we took the ventilator off of him. I crawled in bed with him and held him as he passed away. I knew it was the right choice because it took 6 minuets for him to pass only.

There was no autopsy done because they knew what he died from. For the past 15 years I’ve known him we have tried to get answers on the scary, rare health issues they have. I wanted his aorta looked at under microscope but all they came up with is it dissected. His dad was diagnosed with some form of marfans syndrome but all the doctors here don’t think that’s what Branden had. He was tall and skinny, long fingers and toes, family history and flat footed but he was not flexible, in fact he was stiff almost, and his arm length did not measure longer than his body.

I need answers! I have 2 little girls left here for me to take care of and I have not gotten any answers on what he and his dad had. Another thing the doctors said Branden’s aorta was not big, it was normal in size with both dissections. It’s all very strange and scary. They both died so young and both had 2 separate aortic dissections, I have never heard of that. I hope you can help my family!

Contact Mindy

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