Name: tiger keel
Age at time of Dissection: 56
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 6 January 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

Hi, my name is Tiger and I am very glad to be here today to tell my story! I am 56 and pretty healthy. I did not take any prescriptions of any kind, no blood pressure issues, no cholesterol issues, no diabetes etc., pretty healthy!

On Sunday, January 4, 2015 I attended my parents 50th anniversary party with friends and family, had a great time and felt great! On Monday, January 5th I helped a friend move some furniture from one room to another and spent some time visiting then drove the 2 hours back home to Columbia, S.C.

Tuesday morning I arrived at work ( I am a nanny) feeling great and ready to play and sing with the 2 little ones. After lunch the 2 year old was down for a nap and I was giving the baby a bottle after which she fell asleep in my arms so I continued to sit and let her sleep. About 1 1/2 hours (2:15pm) later I felt a sudden wave of “almost panic” , black spots were swirling in front of me, I got very flushed on the right side of my face and chest ( in fact there was a very clear distinction of the 2 halves of my body, one being normal and the other being beet red) and could feel the heat radiating off the flushed side.

I have never passed out before but at that precise moment I knew either I was going to pass out or die……something was terribly wrong and I had no clue as to what it was! I put the baby on the floor so I would not drop her and called my sister to let someone know that I was in trouble……I called 911 next and asked for an ambulance to come quickly as I had already decided I was going to die.

Unlike everyone else I have read about I had absolutely NO pain and NOTHING to make me believe I was in such a critical state! I did have a shortness of breath and did not want to talk so I hung up on the 911 operator after giving him the address. By the time the ambulance arrived my lower jaw was hurting so bad that if I could have unhinged it and tossed it away I would have. This was the ONLY pain I felt so I assumed I had Lockjaw!
I knew it was not a stroke since I could stick out my tongue and smile and it did not feel like any heart attack pain that I have ever read or heard about.

After being in the emergency department for several hours while they tried to find a problem and came up empty handed they started talking about sending me home…….I said “I am not leaving until you find out what is wrong with me”!

They ran all the usual test and the CT scan showed something they were not able to handle so they told me they were going to transfer me to the Heart Hospital in downtown Columbia where a surgical team was being assembled and I was going into emergency surgery for a Type A Aortic Dissection. I did not know what that was but knew time was of the essence!

My husband called everybody and told they to come quickly because he was told the survival rate was about 10% at that time.

I had decided I was not going to make the ambulance ride, but I did and the moment I saw the surgeon and the anesthesiologist standing there I knew I was going to be ok! He said he had a good dinner and a lot of rest so we should be good and he kept his promise to me!

I went into surgery at 8:45 pm and he finished up at 4:30 am January 7, 2015.
I stayed in the hospital until January 16th and was walking everyday, sometimes much to my dismay but the nurses were relentless and insisted on breathing and walking!

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 I went to meet with the surgeon for the first time since he and God saved my life, and all is good! I can drive again and resume most of my normal life. Cannot go to work for a couple of months but I am ok with that! Everything takes a little longer to do than before and I still get winded if I talk too much or overdo it but I am happy to be alive.

Dr. Scott Petit is the bomb! Not to mention Dr. Baird for diagnosing the problem and getting to the right place at the right time!!!

It has been one month ago today that I awoke from my Dissection surgery and I feel good! Only taking an aspirin and one blood pressure medicine per day, no restrictive diet and plenty of walking! Going to do some rehab just to make sure what I do counts.

Thank you Brian for this site, for all the info and for telling people not to leave the hospital if they are not 100% comfortable with their situation!

Good luck to everyone and anyone may contact me at any time.
My e-mail……I will respond !
Thanks for “listening” to me…..if something feels wrong it probably is and go with your instincts!!!!!!!!
Glad to be alive, Tiger Keel