Guerdon Smith-64

Name: guerdon smith
Age at time of Dissection: 64
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 2 March 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

In the middle of the night I experienced the most painful event I have ever had without blacking out. I knew if I lost awareness it would be over and there were still lives to embrace. After vomiting quietly so as not to wake my wife, I crawled back into bed, which woke her up. She wanted to know if I needed anything. I asked for a hot water bottle. Instead I used a bag of cherry pits which had been microwaved. I believed this saved my life, because the pain was reduced and I could concentrate on my breathing and Gods’ love. We decided to go to the medicenter the next day “just to be safe”.

She thought a walk would help before we went there I tried to follow her lead, but after a few blocks I knew whatever had happened had used up my body power, so we headed for the clinic. It was closed. I decided to go home and lay low until the next day. The next day we went to my Doctor, who I see every five years. He asked me to describe my condition, I didn’t get to finish when he said I was describing a major heart attack. He was disappointed that I hadn’t called him at home on Sunday night. I told him I didn’t think I should bother him,and the reason I loved him was that he cared enough to be mad. We immediately went to ER. He had called ahead telling them that I was having a heart attack, and to expedite me through.

Three hours later I was in a room with a M.D. I have since found out that you need to tell them you are in acute pain to be taken seriously. I was in ICU for ten days with every possible test done. It was the head of the Heart Section who told me they couldn’t help me further. I takes a great Surgeon to send you another hospital. If you read the statistics on A.D. You know I should have been dead. They dumped me into an ambulance and shipped me to the Stanford Teaching Hospital, a six hour trip. I looked at my records and they said I was delusional, but I could see the sadness in the surgeons face.

My job as I saw it now was to be the best patient. I greeted the new crew at Cardiac ICU,with good cheer. I asked The Head Guy” Are you any good at this?”. A stunned silence fell over the crew of ten specialists. He said “Yeah pretty good.” “Let’s do it then” I said.

Eight hours later I was assembled, but I had to go back for another three hours cleanup. Then I was in ICU for several weeks till I was well enough to be released. Now I am at home and getting better slowly. My goal is to be the poster child for healthy recovery. Note, no one does this alone. My Wife NEVER thought I wouldn’t make it. The caregivers never told us anything negative. For this I am grateful, when I am asked what happened, I tell them that I had Aortic Dissection and then smile at my good fortune. Best wishes, Guerdon


Roelie Pomstra-Melein-47


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  1. Guerdon Smith

    sat.August15,2015 update. I am now able to go a full day without a nap. I no longer worry about not being depressed. I realize the word discomfort has many meanings to different people. It is really cool to meet A.D. Survivors. The ones that have longevity have a special love for life. If you are taking B.P. meds be aware of Raynauds Syndrome. I had numbness from my profound hypothermia and when I got back into freediving my hands were not warming up. I mentioned it to my Doctor, who described it exactly. He looked up the warnings in the PDR, for the meds I was on, and bingo one of them can cause this illness. We changed one of mixtures and now I can warm up again. I hope this helps someone. Love, Guerdon.

  2. Rose Fekech

    You are doing great and an inspiration to our family. My husband has a Type B aortic dissection descending and I am so happy I found this site. I need to hear from people like you that there is hope! Keep getting healthy and you have helped us!!! Love Rose

  3. Guerdon Smith

    Rose, You can look at this event many ways. It was made clear to me when the ICU air nurses {retired} wanted to talk to me after the latest Cat Scan. “Your the first one we could talk with. Everyone else didn’t make it.” Since we made it, it would be prudent to enjoy our recovery. I asked them how many people they had tried to save, “a lot, over the years”. When people want to know how your doing tell them you are getting better. Improvement is a matter of direction. Where you are headed determines how you feel,so if you are always getting better at some point you will enjoy perfection. We all have this opportunity.

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