Charles Gilman-22

Name: Charles Gilman
Age at time of Dissection: 22
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 23 April 1998
Tell Us Your Story:

Happened in a car accident. I looked and appeared normal but my mid and lower back were in intense pain. The hospital said it was merely trauma and would go away in a few days. Then I passed out while waiting for my friend (who was driving). They did an x-ray and noticed the cloudy blood flooding my chest. They gave me BP meds, told my family I might die and to say their goodbye’s (without telling me, to keep me from getting excited).

Then I caught a flight to a major hospital in Portland, OR (about 200 miles north from where I was). The docs there told me what happened and that I’ll die if I don’t get the surgery and I might be paralyzed if I do. So, they did it and everything came out fine, except for the chest tube I had when the nurse forgot to put the plug in which gave me a sucking chest wound.

It’s been 13 years since and I’ve been on BP meds the whole time but, I ride mountain bikes, run about six miles on most days and feel fine otherwise. I get CT scans done every five years to check for aneurysms. My abdominal aorta has gotten out of sync with my thoracic aorta when climbing above 10,000 feet but, after a few seconds of rest, it goes back to normal.

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