Name: Ann Busby
Age at time of Dissection: 29
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 27 April 2008
Tell Us Your Story:

It’s been just over three years now, and in some ways every year gets easier and in some ways harder. I was at my Grandmas doing things for her when I started having horrible chest pains.I left her house and called my husband, told him something wasn’t right and that I wanted to go to the ER, crazy me I drove myself home to pick him up, then drove to the nearest hospital, the pain just kept getting worse.

Once in the er, I had a bp of 63/44 the nurse said that couldn’t be right, that it had to be faulty equipment, the ekg came back normal and they said that they wanted to do a stress test just to be safe.

Four hours later they came in and said they saw an abnormality on the stress test but that it was most likely breast tissue and that it was nothing to worry about.They decided to admit me for the low blood pressure, they figured three different machines couldn’t be wrong but they had no idea what it was.

The next day was a Monday, I had an echo and ct scan that day, they said there were some things that weren’t normal but that I was really young for anything cardiac, again they decided to keep me. Tuesday I had chest xrays and they thought they saw a mucus plug so they had this nice nurse come in and beat on my back every 6 hours to break it up.Wednesday I had what we thought was a horrible asthma attack, my pulse ox dropped into the 80’s and I was put on a by-pap machine.

Thursday the Dr’s came in and said they thought I had pneumonia, that they were going to do some more testing but that they thought I’d be fine, they ordered another ct scan to compare to the first one.

Friday they came in and said that the pneumonia was clearing up, that they’d do more xrays but that they didn’t think there would be any complications, the Dr’s said they’d be off over the weekend and that they’d see me Monday. Saturday and Sunday passed in a blur, xrays every few hours and more of the back pounding.

Monday yes a full week later I started coughing up something that looked a lot like blood, I’d been having horrible back pains but the nurses and Dr’s all said that it was from the hospital bed, but they did another ct scan just to be safe.
Tuesday I was sure it was blood, the Dr finally took me seriously and asked me to get a sample for him, but by this point Tuesday night my chest was so tight I couldn’t cough anything up.

Wednesday they came in and said I was doing better that they’d be sending me home the next day that there were just a couple of tests they needed to run first.

I was taken down for an echo, the tech was totally professional, she did my test and put me in the hall for transport to take back to my room, I heard her on the phone saying “her chest is full of blood, she’s dying you have to do something” I remember feeling so bad for whoever that was.

By the time I got back to my room there was a Dr I hadn’t seen before in my room asking if my husband was coming up that day, it was the first day he hadn’t been there all day, I figured since I was going home the next day he could go ahead and go to work.
He took my phone into the hall to talk to Adam, I should have known then something was really wrong.

He came back in and introduced himself as a Vascular Surgeon, he said I needed surgery but that they weren’t equipped to do it at the hospital I was at, that I was being transferred, they’d wait for my husband if they could but that as soon as I was medicated and stable we were going, the emts were already in the room ready to take me, again when one said to the other “she’s lights and sirens all the way” I should have been scared but I wasn’t.

I didn’t get scared till my husband Adam got there, he started crying when he walked into the room and I knew something was terribly wrong, that’s when the shots of who knows what started flowing.
They sent a Dr and a Nurse in the ambulance with me along with the emt so there wasn’t room for Adam but I could see him through the ambulance window the whole way.

I got to the second hospital and it was like being on er, I was wisked through the er doors and into what I now know was an or, there were Dr’s and Nurses everywhere, I was taken for another ct scan and then back to the OR, the Surgeon looked at me and said “I have one question for you, do you want to live?” I said yes and that’s all I remember except for one partial memory of the Dr saying “we’re loosing her”

I woke up two days later (Friday) to my Surgeon asking me if I could move my fingers and toes and being told I’d need to be sitting up by that afternoon that they’d let me sleep long enough.

I found out that evening that I’d had an Ascending Aortic Dissection that went from the root through the arch, I’d had over two liters of blood in my chest and had had seconds to live whey they got me on bypass, they replaced the aorta through the arch and had done valvoplasty to save the natural valve but that I’d have to have it replaced at some point.

They did what they could to save my life, I’ve been told that I’ll need more surgery and I’m ok with that, I’ve been through the stages of grief for the things I’ll never do, the children I’ll never have and I’m on the other side now, waiting to see what will happen next.

I think about the dissection every day, how can I not, but I think about it differently now, like it’s the start of my new life. I now have two special days, my birthday and my rebirthday, I died and was brought back 5-7-08.
There’s another flap of dissection past the arch that they’re watching very carefully, because of the family history I’ll have it replaced if it hits four rather than the six they normally wait for.

It’s a strange way to live life, but at the same time I’m so grateful, I know how close I came to dying and I want to live more than anything else in the world, I know it sounds cheesy, but even on the bad days the Dr appt days, testing days etc, I’m just soo happy to be alive.

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