Name: Michael Moyer
Age at time of Dissection: 51
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 30 September 2010
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Istarted The Day with a 4 mile walk on trails through a local forest preserve. In the late afternoon, I played 18 holes of golf, walking and carrying my clubs. The exercise regime was consistent with my usual 4 days of the week schedule.

That evening, I attended a fund-raising raising event at a local ice cream parlor for my neighbor’s daughter’s high-school swimming team. It was at this event, as I pulled a sip of milk-shake through a straw, that I experience what I thought for an instant was an ice-cream induced “brain freeze”. In an instant, I said to my table-mates through the haze of intense pain, “Something is Very Wrong”.

I tried to stand up from the table, but the pain was too intense and I was assisted to the floor. Within 10 minutes paramedics arrived to transport me to a local hospital. I was given glycerin in the ambulance and was asked numerous questions about my medical history, cardiac in particular. There is no history of cardiac issues in my family, and just 2 weeks prior I had an annual physical: my BP was 122/80, and the results of extensive blood tests and screens were all normal.

In the ambulance I recall the medics relaying to the hospital that I was experiencing intense pain, “too much for a heart-attack” and also, as I conveyed to the medics, that I could not feel or move my right leg.

I arrived at the hospital at 8pm. At 11pm, I was taken to surgery where I remained for 14 hours. On my way to surgery I was momentarily cogent enough to inquire of the doctor that, “the plan is to see you after the surgery”. The doctor acknowledged my comment in the midst of conversation with nurses and other doctors accompanying us from the emergency room to surgery. I was present in that moment. I was able to reach for the doctor’s hand and ask again of the plan to see him after surgery. He said, “Yes, that is the plan and I am going to need your help”. I had an ascending aortic dissection that required a Dacron graft to repair. My aortic valve was replaced with a mechanical valve, and the descending dissection was deemed treatable with medication.

I was in intensive care for 5 days, and in the hospital for 11. My first recollection post surgery was waking to the sight of my immediate family, all whom live airplane rides away from me, and thinking to myself that, “This must be Serious”.

Recovery is difficult, but most a blessing. I wonder each day, more often than once: “What happened”? I had been healthy and lived for 51 years an active life. I am attempting again to lead an active life, filtered by beta-blockers, Coumadin, awesome scars, an imbedded tympani or cymbal depending on my position relative to gravity, serene acceptance of one day at a time, pursuit of ‘far niete’, abhorrence of majoring in life’s minors, and attempting to do the next right thing for and with those whom I love.I

Contact Michael

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