As a preface to describing my AAA experience, I should mention that I have been treated for high blood pressure for several years. And, in April of 1994 at age 57, I had what was diagnosed as a small stroke. I was fortunate, in that it left me with only a slight numbness in my right hand. I am a graphic artist, and am thankful this is just a "gentle, constant reminder" of the stroke and not a hindrance in my work. After this episode, my medication was increased and my doctor began checking me over every 2-3 months.
During a routine exam in November of '94, he felt something in my abdomen that he wanted to know more about. I was scheduled for an ultrasound scan and several other tests. It was determined that I had an aneurysm measuring approximately 6cm.
After several more tests and consultations, I was scheduled for surgery on Dec. 2, 1994. The surgeon did a bypass from my mid-chest area down to each leg. Before surgery he showed me the bypass. It reminded me of a small vacuum cleaner hose, ribbed, flexible, etc. I have recently learned it is called an aorta-bifemerol Dacron graft. The surgery was supposed to take approximately 3-4 hrs, but I was in surgery for 7+ hours. The circulation into my legs was worse than expected. After 3-4 days in intensive care I was transferred to a private room. I went home after 10 days, and took 6 weeks off work.
I was very satisfied with my doctors. My regular doctor is a very concientious and deliberate man, and I have complete trust in him. My surgeon was friendly, informative, confident and, as it turned out, very able. Although I live near Mayo Medical Center, I felt confident in having my surgery done here.
I thanked both doctors for saving my life. The nurses at the hospital and the general hospital care was very good.
Approximately 1 year after surgery I am doing well. I do notice that I tire much faster than before. A physical chore that in the past was no problem, I sometimes now find leaves me with an unusual and sometimes "kinda scary" tiredness. My doctor wants me to get some exercise on a regular schedule, and I admit I haven't been very good at that. That would no doubt improve my stamina.
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