top of page

Survivor Story of Velda MacKenzie

February 8, 2020

One year ago I called 911.

Then, I went down.

Spent next 6-7 hours at ER.

They were puzzled but someone figured out my Aorta was dissecting and I found out a year later it was Dr. Joseph Wonnacott who diagnosed me, such a smart doctor. I’m so grateful.

February 9, 2020

I remember being on a medevac airplane with paramedics.

Then 4 days later trying to wake up but kept drifting back to sleep. I wasn’t strong enough to think or keep my eyes open.

Each time I’d go back to sleep my delusions would begin again and they were scary. But they seemed very real. From watching someone trying to shoot my best friend Bella to watching my house burn down- I was terrified. And a whole year later those delusions are still vivid. I think that’s called PTSD.

I went to sleep one day and woke up 4 days later a different woman. I have tired to wrap my thoughts around it all but the nurses, doctors, family, tubes, meds it was all way to much to comprehend.

My world as I knew it had all changed. I couldn’t think past the thought of being thirsty but with tubes I couldn't drink. I wasn’t concerned as that took more energy than I had so I just tried to sleep hopefully not have more delusions.

I can vaguely remember my daughter and her kids and my brother and his wife and my sister with me most times upon awakening which was very comforting. They reassured me everything was okay and the surgeon Dr. Chedrawy was a comfort for the family. The dear soul spent over 11 hours fixing my Aorta. He’ll forever be my hero. The aorta was dissecting the third and final layer during surgery so it was very close to the end for me. I’m sure that’s why I’m finding it a challenge to cope sometimes.

I was hooked up to the heart and lung machine during surgery and my body temperature was decreased to 18 degrees to avoid brain damage.


Dr. Chedrawy tells me to stay on blood pressure meds, stay away from salt and sugar, keep cholesterol low and walk everyday. Oh and definitely do not smoke and I should be fine. Also no bench pressing. Dr. Ed Chedrawy saved my life.

It’s been one year and I’m still working on getting stronger but very grateful for my life.

So when someone tells you they had open heart surgery consider them to be a warrior who survived.

And if you have high blood pressure take your meds every day.

I wanted to write a book about my AD (Aortic Dissection) the whole time I was conscious while in hospital. It’s amazing what we take for granted. The care I received was excellent in Halifax, where Dr. Chedrawy and his team of experts put humpty dumpty back together again.

What I remember was very little but the care was the best one could receive.

68 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page