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Denjen2001, November 24,  2018  11:51am EST


My 44 year old  husband had open heart to replaces aortic valve he was just released from the hospital on November 23rd it was extremely rough night last night. Is it normal for them to become angry and agitated with people who are helping them? I just feel horrible that he's in so much pain and I don't know what to do to help him. 

5 Replies
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, November 26,  2018  9:27am EST

    I am so sorry that you both are experiencing this. My thought is that the pain, anxiety and generalized stress from the entire situation are weighing on him and causing the anger.  It must be hard for you as well. Is there someone that can spell you in the caretaking department so you can have a breather at times? Thanks Katie 

  • llorenz1221
    llorenz1221, November 26,  2018  9:44am EST

    My husband was 33 when he went through open heart surgery, also to replace his aortic valve, and I understand what you are going through.  My husband was also very angry and agitated when we made it home, especially with me, his main caregiver.  I think as Katie said above, the pain, anxiety and stress from the situation had a part to play in all of it, the weight of the situation, what they just went through, wearing them down and making them realize they aren't invincible (as most men are prone to think).  But I also found a part of my husband's problem was the medicine, they give them some pretty powerful stuff for pain management, and it really made my husband a different person.  I always started seeing the shift in his attitude when he took the meds and they started to kick on, or when he was coming down from the dose and needed another, if that makes sense.  He hated the way they made him feel, and I think that just made it worse too.  When he finally came off the meds, which he did a lot earlier than the doctors said, mostly because he hated them, he finally started getting better.  It wasn't all hearts and rainbows, but it was at least the "normal" upset that I was used to, more the frustration with not feeling better as fast as he wanted to, and still needing help with things, and being dependent on others.  I hope that helps, I know it doesn't stop the anger or agitation, but at least know that you aren't alone, it does get better too. 

  • jerzeycate
    jerzeycate, November 26,  2018  11:24am EST

    Good morning and welcome. You are part of a club that no one wants to join., Having been on both sides of the bed (caregiver and patient) I decided that the caregiver has a much more difficult load to bear. 

    Since your husband's illness seems recent I can tell you that when I was going through the initial stages of treatment I was not a pleasant person to be around. One thing, cardiac meds can make you quite jittery and irritable. That's because of what they do inside your body. Your husband has no control over that it will take time for his system to adapt. Another thing is that especially if the issues came on suddenly this is a huge adjustment emotionally. One day your health is okay and you are busily going about your business, Then you hit a brick wall and immediately everything changes--because it has to. What also changes is how you see yourself. It can be a crushing blow. So many fears about what's to come next.

    You are also dealing with major changes and, at the same time, trying to make this work so your husband can recover. In our case, we were making plans to rent an RV and go cross country to see the Grand Canon etc. I got a "respiratory thingie" and within 6 weeks I had gone from a perfectly healthy heart to find out I had just 11% heart function, DCM,, COPD, Kidney Failure and other numerous diagnoses that the CHF Monster brings with her when she goes visiting. I'll never forget the look on Gary's face when a Cardiologist came into ICU and after speaking to Gary (ignoring my presence in the bed that was between them, his treatment plan was (and these were his exact words when Gary asked what he recommended) "Take her home, Make her comfortable. Get her affairs in order."  Gary was devasted. I was enraged. Anyway.

    When talking about the last 6 years and the rollercoaster we've been on I say that it's much worse of the spouse/caregiver for many reasons, not the least is the fact that when things go bad (as they often do) we, the patients, are given drugs that either numb us to the activity around us, or as happened when I went into SCA, we are given drugs that completely eliminate any memory of the situation. Again last week someone asked me what it had been life to be resuscitated 5 times in one day. I know he didn't believe me when I said I have o idea. They gave me the "magic drugs--supersized that day) so I would not remember. Gary, my husband can tell you verbatim what went on that day. They never offer you guys and drugs to make you forget. I write a lot. I wrote a blog about how my illness had impacted my husband. IT may or may not help to know that you are not alone in dealing with this and that, even if we don't say so, we appreciate all you sacrifice to help us recover.


    We all know someone who has had a Stroke.

    For many, it’s a friend.

    For some a relative.

    Maybe a spouse?  A partner?

    A Parent?

    Maybe even a child.

    Stroke is one of those illnesses everyone (rightly so) fears.  

    Maybe it’s because so many times Stroke seems to come out of nowhere. It strikes a person down without warning.

    Once it makes an appearance, Stroke shows no mercy.

    It leaves families in ruin. Transforms people.

    Changes lives forever. And that’s a "best-case scenario."

    Though more is known about Stroke than in the past. It still holds many secrets.

    One thing we know for sure; Stroke loves to take prisoners.

    When Stroke comes for a member of a family; everyone, especially the spouse, partner, (aka caregiver)-- is thrown into a turmoil of sudden, drastic, change.

    If you think my message is that life will "eventually" get back to normal; To the way things were “before the Stroke,”  Sorry, to be so blunt, but with Stroke that’s the truth. Things will never be the same again.

    I had a mild Stroke. My recovery was swift and (comparatively speaking) quite successful. Yet I still suffer from some leftover troubles (aka residual symptoms) –

    ·      fear of another Stroke

    ·      random bouts of depression

    ·      loss of self-confidence

    ·      increased anxiety

    ·      a total inability to multitask--even trying to talk while doing something else is a useless endeavor

    ·      Short-term memory problems emotional swings sometimes so overwhelming I worry they may "take me over the edge."

    ·I am considered a “Successful Recovery.”

    I had my Stroke quite a while ago. 

    For me, like many Stroke patients, it was weeks, maybe even a couple of months before the haze cleared enough that I could see the effects the Stroke had on my life.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, my husband saw them immediately.

    The morning I had the Stroke Gary rushed me to the hospital from the Ophthalmologist's office, where we had gone when I woke up with a strange, awful pain inside my eye. While my eye was fine, the Doctor said I was having a STROKE,

    By the time we reached the Emergency Room (about half-a-mile from the doctor’s office), I had the telltale facial droop, my right hand could not grasp anything and I was dragging my right leg behind me.

    My husband spent hours-- days, anxiously pacing the hospital. Looking for all the information he could find about stroke. Quizzing doctors and nurses about my treatment. Watching my therapy sessions as I, figuratively and literally, got back on my feet. Checking for signs that things were getting better or getting worse. Talking to the doctors, the nurses, the therapists and the caregivers of other patients about my progress… About “What to expect.”

    He encouraged me. He held my hand. He promised me that I would be "fine." He repeatedly gave me the Hope I needed; telling me that everything would soon be "back to normal."

    All the time fearing, knowing, it wouldn't. Preparing himself for the worst.

    Then, as suddenly as the Stroke had taken over our lives; I was declared stable. It was time to go home.

    Once home we were each at some point struck by the realization that things would never be quite "the same" again.

    This was a major upheaval in our lives physically, mentally.  A crisis at the very core of our souls. We both knew that even if I had a full recovery - Everything had changed.

    Gary had faced his worst fear- that I was going to die. He stood nearby while doctors examined, assessed, then treated me. He sat nearby while therapists worked with me. And then he took me home.

    That is significant. It changed us. Both as individuals, and within our relationship.

    Eventually, a "New Normal" comes for each of us recovering from the aftermath of Stroke. It comes as a new way of looking at situations, accepting limitations you may have, and working to get through them or go around them.

    But while everyone is working with us to make these transitions, our partners are left to fend for themselves. The attention of the doctors, the nurses, and the various therapists; both in the hospital and then at home was on me. Not on my husband.

    No one asked him how he felt "about the Stroke." No one held his hand for comfort. No one examined him. Explored, "What hurts?” Questioned him about his concerns? No one checked his vitals. No one cautioned him to watch his level of stress. No one brought him meals or checked to make sure he was getting the proper sleep. No one suggested scheduled breaks, or that he rest when he gets tired.

    He heaved a sigh of anxiety and relief and took me home. He got me settled, found someone to stay with me; and headed to work or to pick up groceries. or to complete one of the hundreds of chores necessary to keep a household going.

    All the time panicking each time his phone rang. Wondering if he would return home to find his worst fear come true.

    The bottom line is, with the "New Normal" I recognized my life had changed.

    I was struggling.

    I was learning to adjust.

    I was mastering ways to adapt.

    So was my husband. But in his case no one noticed.

    Caregivers spend a significant amount of their time, energy and attention focusing on the needs of others. An unintended consequence of this is that they risk losing sight of their own needs. Leaving them broken and depleted.

    How can we work together, patients and caregivers, so we will be able to recognize one of us have stopped paying attention to their own needs?

    How can we work together so we will recognize it quickly if we are becoming lost?

    I'm not sure of the answer to that. But I believe if we can focus some attention back onto each other, our feelings, our needs. If we can reconnect, even a little, to the people, places, and activities that support health, restore energy, and bring some happiness back into view;

    It can be Invigorating.

    It can bring some joy back into our day.

    It can fortify us as we continue our journey on the long road home.

    I pray both you and your husband have a successful recovery. In the meantime be gentle with yourself, you have a lot of weight on your shoulders.


    It's a great day to be alive...




  • Rebekah
    Rebekah, November 26,  2018  12:46pm EST

    Hello,  My husband had surgery in Arpil.  At first he was very euphoric and happy to be alive.  I think everyone has their own journey in different ways.  Now in November he is very depressed and yells at me all the time.  I havebeen  telling myself it is because I am the safe person in his life.  The one he knows loves him and will be there for him.  It is very hard, harder every day he denies it is occuring.  FInd something that brings you joy and someone you can talk with, (like here)  and keep your chin up and cry when you need to.  It all sounds corny but it is all that is keeping me going right now.  THe doctors tell us that people go through so many emotions and that they can become like different people.  I can't imagine what he is going through, I just keep on trucking along.  May your journey have an upswing soon.  take care, Rebekah


  • DolphinWrite
    DolphinWrite, February 12,  2019  12:55am EST

    Absolutely normal.  People react differently.  People often go through a range of emotion's and some have private ways of coping.  Some people don't go through the gamut of emotions and seem to endure the difficulties serenely.  I think other people don't want to feel helples's so they move away from concerns.  This is difficult.  For me, I would be there, but if someone didn't want the attention, I would be there but talk about other things.  I hope all the best.  God bless.

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