Friday, July 22, 2016

Aorta Day, 6 years later.

I didn't even think about it until the last day or so...but July 12 was the 6th anniversary of "aorta day."

Short version: in May 2010, I was running 290/180 blood pressure. The ER staffers were amazed I was walking upright instead of lying on a morgue gurney after a massive stroke.

Then, on July 12, that crazy-high pressure finally tore a hole in my aorta and tore the inner lining along the full length, all the way to where it branches to the left & right legs. Hurts like hell. First there's a horrible burning across the shoulder blades, then a feeling of metal bands constricting your body as the tear makes its way down. Everything goes haywire because blood flow is interrupted along the way--so your guts feel like they're knotting up (they're dying for lack of blood).

I did a week in the hospital . Lots of doctors, CT scans of the aorta every 6 months, on BP meds the rest of my life, a full-length aortic stent...and the physical fallout: swollen legs, get out of breath just walking out to my car, screwed-up sleep cycles, all permanent.

Long way of telling anyone reading this: KEEP THAT BLOOD PRESSURE CONTROLLED. I got "lucky"--there are two versions of aortic dissection. Mine goes down, away from the heart. The version that killed John Ritter goes toward the heart. Either one can kill.

Don't think you're too young, either. I was 42 when it happened.

(echoed to my Facespace page...)

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