098 Kelly’s Aortic Dissection Adventure

Listen to “098 Kelly’s Aortic Dissection Adventure” on Spreaker.

On this episode of the podcast Kelly sits down to tell the story of her aortic dissection and subsequent emergency open heart surgery, that took place on November 25, 2016. We also take time to thank all the people who helped us, especially the doctors, nurses and staff of Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center and you, our readers and listeners, who sent so many kind notes and prayers. Some important links:

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.


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  1. I just finished listening to this episode of your podcast. Kelly–Your account of your surgery–as well as the events before and after the surgery–is very meaningful and instructive for us all. Thank you for your willingness to share these experiences. Prayers for your continued recovery–and prayers for Erik–the excellent caregiver.

  2. Erik and Kelly just finished listening to Kelly’s before and after surgery event. Thank you Kelly for telling your story every little detail. Will continue to keep you in prayers for healing.

  3. Thanks for explaining what happened and lessons learned from your experience. One of the things I’ve learned from you is to look into our medical insurance; we do not have managed healthcare- ours would probably be the 30% deal, and since I have some health issues, that would be something that could kill us financially.

    I wish you a speedy recovery!

  4. Thank you for this, it was very cathartic to read. My mother had this happen to her a number of years ago and it took over a month after the first initial incident until a doctor that stayed on this got another review of the scans and the dissection was noticed right away. It was putting pressure on a nerve causing her to have Horner’s Syndrome, a condition she will never be cured from (also extremely rare). They kept telling her it was bels palsey but it wasn’t. He called her and told her don’t move your neck and get a hospital right away. Stop what you are doing, she was like well i could be there in an hour and he was like no, if you don’t go you could die. I nearly lost my mom to this and so yes, i don’t know what else to say. As an avid reason of many years, I wish you the best and hope your recovery goes well. She had Type B but it was the artery going to her brain.

  5. Wow, Kelly and Erik–thanks so much for sharing this with all of us. Besides being interesting and helping us understand what you’ve been through, it will probably save at least one life!

    I’m so grateful that you’re doing okay, Kelly, and hope that you’ll heal quickly and smoothly. From experience, I can say that brain fog and inability to concentrate are completely normal after something like this. Be patient…your brain will gradually recover.

    In the meantime, perhaps you can do some more podcasts. It’s such a delight to listen to you!

  6. Kelly, it was wonderful to hear your voice again! I am so glad you are pulling through all of this. You sounded good. Keep up the recovery. And yes, you will get past the brain fog and be able to concentrate again. I have a friend who almost died of a heart attack who for a year or more afterwards could not concentrate to read a book or write an email. She is finally back to her old self. You and Eric will continue to be in my prayers!
    I enjoyed hearing you talk about your anointing. Catholics do this too. And what you said about being ‘death ready’ really struck home with me. I am going to start to be ‘death ready’…thank you for all your insights and for your willingness to share your ordeal. And thank you to Eric. Blessings to you both.

  7. Holy crap! Kelly, thank you for this, I found it riveting and horrifying and uplifting and basically, all the things! You poor thing, and poor Eric!!! You are amazing, and I am so glad you are getting better.

    I might need to change denominations so that I can receive “extreme unction” – agreed, that is BADASS. (I’m sure the church I want to join will be totally cool with my reasons.)

  8. I’ll echo everyone else in saying thank you for sharing and I’m also glad you are ok! What a traumatic experience and so grateful you were able to be taken care of so quickly.

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  10. Thank you for the openness you showed by sharing both Kelly and Erik’s side of your story. A little over two years ago I had open heart surgery to replace a heart valve and as it turned out the ascending and arch of the aorta. Your story took my wife and I back to that event. You helped each of us remember certain days in the recovery process. For me you helped clear some of the “fogginess” I still have. Thank you and may your recovery continue.

  11. Welcome back, Kelly–and this podcast was AMAZING. My husband and I have not listened to anything this intently in ages. IOHO, this ought to be required listening to anyone recovering from serious surgery of any kind. Wishing both you and Erik better times ahead!

  12. Wow! Many prayers and I am so glad for your recovery. I just finished your book. Very inspiring. Extremely happy you will still be with us, praying for a very very long time. God bless you both!

  13. Thank you both for sharing such a meaningful and personal story. Your account of your experience is incredibly powerful and moving, and leaves listeners with a lot to think about. I’m so so glad you’re alive and I’m wishing you the best of continued healing and recovery. I look forward to reading your blog posts again when you’re ready.

  14. Thanks to you both for sharing this experience with your readers. I was particularly moved by Kelly’s openness about the psychological after-effects of such a profoundly traumatic physical event. And of course, as always, her fantastic sense of humour!

  15. I’ve finally got a chance to listen to the podcast and WOW! It’s made me realize that I need to be ‘death ready’ and ‘prolonged-not-functioning-at-top-form’ ready especially since I live rural and have livestock and multiple pets.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery-brain fog sounds irritating as heck!

  16. Love you Kelly. That was such an amazing trip through your experience of near death. You shared a lot of very good advice. That was the longest week of my life and I know I aged at least ten years. The thought of losing a child is a parents worst nightmare. So grateful you are still with us and Eric you are the best. You were a rock that week and was so grateful to have you. God bless both of you and know you will have many great years together. Cheers

  17. Kelly, I’m so happy you are okay, but I think it’s important for your listeners to know that if you are facing an ambulance or hospital charge, that most important thing for you to do is to not admit that it’s a legit charge. If you enter payment arrangements or acknowledge the debt as legit, it gives them more power, legally.

    Your credit will be ruined if you don’t pay everything immediately anyway. So, let go, live credit free.

  18. Hi, Kelly! I finally listened to the podcast – thank you for sharing. I am so glad you are recovering and you’ll hear from me soon via email.

  19. Love and goodwill to you both. Thanks for all you have given to me, and to this community.

    Life is so precious, and so fragile. we must tell everyone we love them, all the time. I’m so glad you’re both still here!

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