Bill DiGaetano’s Story

My name is Bill. I am a married to my beautiful wife Lori and the father of 2 fantastic children, ages 16 and 13 and this is my story. I can’t include everything that happened because it would read like a novel, but in a nutshell, here it goes!

On April 7, 2007 at 12:15 AM, I was in the kitchen of my home eating a buffalo wing. You see, the day before was Good Friday and I had stayed awake and waited until after midnight so that I could indulge in eating some chicken wings, one of my favorite foods.

As I was eating, I fell to the floor. Initially, I thought that I had simply tripped. The dogs started barking and my wife yelled down to me from upstairs, asking what happened. “I think I tripped” was what I said and started in on another wing.

Within a few seconds, the headache from hell started(like one that you can’t describe) and I began to vomit. I then fell to the floor and screamed out to my wife to call 911. I did suffer migraines on a few occasions, but I knew that this headache was different as my vision was almost gone and the pain was much more intense than any other headache I had ever had.

I vaguely remember the rescue squad taking me to the hospital (thank you to those who come out in the middle of the night), but my wife told me that when we arrived at my local hospital, it took some time before I was seen. When I was finally admitted, I went into seizure.

According to my wife, I was given a CT Scan which revealed bleeding in my brain. I remember the physician saying that a helicopter would take me to Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, as they could not do anything for me at their facility. The last thing I recall was the lift off.

I then awoke at Jefferson and I actually felt pretty good. By my bed was my neurosurgeon, Dr. Erol Veznedaroglu and his staff. They asked me how I felt and explained what had happened to me. To say the least, I was shocked as I could not believe that they had actually already done a surgical procedure on me. Dr. Vez (as he is lovingly called) told me that 8 platinum coils were placed into my aneurysm through a cut in my femoral artery and that I would be staying in the ICU for at least 12 days. This was to make sure that I recovered from the ordeal.

The first 3 days I had some pretty bad headaches along with some vomiting. I also was given a spinal tap to remove some of the pressure from what I guess was fluid build up. After that, my progress seemed to really gain momentum. I began to get my appetite back and even felt like walking around. The staff told me that even though I felt well, I needed to take it easy and follow hospital orders as the risk of vasospasm was still there.

After 12 days, I was released from Jefferson. The wonderful staff there told me that I may have some challenges ahead of me, like fatigue, irritability and short memory loss but that in time, I should make a full recovery. It has been almost a year and while I do still deal with some memory loss and fatigue, I consider myself as lucky as a man could be. I am back to watching my daughter ride her horse and playing golf and baseball with my son.

I have always been a big believer in fate and that all things happen for a reason. As strange as this may sound, I view my battle with a brain aneurysm as a gift, something that has taught me to now live my life to the fullest and appreciate all that is around me. To those fighting the after effects of what we went through, please don’t ever give up, as it will get better. Stay strong and continue to fight, not only for you, but for all of those who love and care about you.

Let me end with this. To the staff and Dr. Vez at Jefferson Hospital, I owe you my life and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your skillful hands are a gift from God, not to you but to patients like myself.