Name: Bruce Berin
Age at time of Dissection: 57
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection:  4 March 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

Iam a EMT for many years so this is a very strange story.  I purchased a California king mattress.  I needed a truck, so I drove to my buddies place of work talked with him and exchanged my car for his truck. (I don’t remember doing this).  I drove about 20 miles to factory loaded the mattress on the truck and drove home (remember this).  At home my neighbor whom was not originally going to help says come on lets do this, so we did took new mattress in and brought old one out. (I remember this).  I remember that the mattress did not fit in the dumpster and getting into the dumpster and jumping up and down to make it fit.  I remember making the new bed.

I don’t remember driving the truck to my friend and getting my car.  (He says we chatted a bit I have no memory of that).  I got home and my neighbor asked how I felt?  I said I was tired.  he told me that i looked terrible(Don’t remember).  I laid down I lost track of time, I would say this was about 2 or 3 in t he afternoon.  The next thing I remember waking up face down in the shower and the water running on my face and I was soaked.  I got up went into bedroom (remember this part) and from that part on I don’t. . I apparently called 911, my friends on the ambulance arrived saying that they thought I lived here my car was there but did not know the apt.  The door was locked.  The FD was calling for assistance to get in.. Days earlier I had made up with the neighbor to have an emergency key available. 

She obtained it and let the FD in. (Apparently I called 911 and then called her to let them in. I don’t remember) The ambulance along with the Paramedic loaded me into the ambulance.  I wanted to go to a local hospital Level 2.  It was closer, but something the medic didn’t like and he wasn’t sure.  So at the end of the driveway the EMTs asked which way?  Right to the Trauma center 20 miles away left to level 2 hospital 4 miles away.  The medic decided to go to the trauma center “something wasn’t right” vitals were good.  Enroute I asked why was it taking so long?  Then I began to complain of chest pain, so they began to speed up a bit more, and by the time they got to the trauma center the medic says he could hear the swishing in my chest.  (I do not remember any of this) in the ER a trauma was called, I remember the nurse  telling me that I had to go for a very serious operation. 

Ok I said, and I must have given them contact names from my phone and insurance information and signed the papers.  I don’t remember.  The thoracic surgeon thought I had a aneurysm which I had and he fixed.  As soon as the blood was turned back on I blew the repair and my aorta apart.  The surgeon did not expect me to live.  14 hours later he replaced my aorta and put me in to CCICU.  Where I stayed for 18 days.  I woke up what I thought was that day and did not understand why I wasn’t able to see and why I couldn’t talk.  I reached to see what was in my mouth and felt the breathing tube.

They yelled at me not to touch it. I had no idea why I was there or what happened I thought I was kidnapped.  I was trying to reason why I would have been.  the next time I woke up I remember the tube and grabbed it without saying a word and pulled.  (apparently I was in recovery the first time and the 2nd time I was in CCICU) I stayed in CCICU for 15 days, with that tube in my throat. I remember some things but not alot.  My family came to visit, I did not remember.  My friends tried I didn’t remember. My sister told me that 2 days afterwards I was complaining of pain and they had to bring me back into the OR.  At some point I went into Cardiac arrest 2x they put an external pacemaker on me.

I have no recall of any of this, I tried to communicate to no avail.  What I do recall was waking up and being told that I had been in the hospital for 5 days and that I thought I had a car accident with either my car or my friends truck. I tried to communicate via text but I was not able to get my fingers or hands to coordinate to the proper keys.  I tried a board where I could spell and wasn’t able to push the letters or spell the word correctly.  The nurses seemed to know what I was trying to say.  They explained to me what happened.

That I understood.  My family told me that I looked like I was hooked up to go to the moon. .I had over 12 lines going in and out.  I never saw my family there. 3 more days they removed the tube, I have no memory, and I recall being able to sit up.  My friend told me that I was in a chair in the room. .I don’t remember.  I went to a step down where PT tried to get me out of bed with 5 people supporting me.

I walked a bit but it was terribly painful. From my knees down they were black and blue, from the ankle to the toes they were black.  No hx of diabetes, it was from the blood being off for so long. I went to a rehab unit out of the hospital and stayed there 10 days before being discharged to home .  The rehab unit got me from walker to crutches to walking without assistance.  They helped me gain some of my strength and coordination. 

I wasn’t able to lift the electric razor to my face. I wasn’t able to cut my own food, I wasn’t able to brush my teeth, I had no coordination.  Eventually that returned.  I was discharged and home bound for 2 months.  Visiting nurse came daily and helped me wrap my feet and my neighbor took me to podiatrist whom after 2 months from incident had to amputate the tip of my big toe and the tip of the 2nd toe.

My color returned to my feet but I have some loss of feelings to my feet.  They feel like they are asleep. As time went on I was able to return to full work status.  I can no longer provide care on the ambulance, and I have loss of some short term memory.  I loose words that are common, and forget peoples names.  I have returned to the hospital 2x the following year one for rectal bleeding which I was in for 10 days.  They were going to do a colon resection with a colostomy bag for a year.  I was besides myself and the bleeding stopped.

I was in the Hospital for 5 days for kidney stone.  I have yearly cat scan.  They find that the aorta is good but the descending looks a bit distended and always causes concern except for the Thoracic surgeon.  My blood pressure has increased and they want to put me on b/p meds.  I am on coumadin and do monthly INR tests. But so far 2 years parts are holding. I am driving and ride my motorcycle and work full time.  I do not have the stamina I used to and probably should go to the gym.  My weight is a bit over by about 30 lbs.  Otherwise things seem to be good. .