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Lost & Unsure
My 47 year old husband had a heart attack on Sunday (9/13/2020); he had 3 arteries almost completely blocked and had stints placed. All the doctors and nurses said that if we had waited any longer, he would not have made it. One nurse commented that in her 15 years at the hospital she had only see higher troponin level two times.
Because of Covid protocol it was extra scarry becaue they would not allow me in with a minor (we have an 8 year old). She and I sat in the car waiting for news. I droped her at our best friend's house while he was in surgery so I could enter the hospital.
In the ER he confessed that he is a daily smoker- i'm disappointed and alarmed at his ability to keep this secret. His diet is not good and I have been reasonably active in trying to get him to improve in the past. Now he needs to make drastic changes in his lifestyle and diet choices- I get that this is not fun. He didn't ask the doctor any questins when being discharged (I could not be there due to covid restrictions). We don't know how high his cholestrol or blood pressure is and have no idea what damage was done. I have always managed most of our daily lives- doning the reasearch and planning for daily life is different than managing a health crisis. He is home and not really particiapting. He expects me to understand his medicine and make the call on what he can eat. I am not in the medical field and relying on google. He is forgetting his medicine and needs reminders to set up his followup appointments. I'm doing what i can and want to support him but want him to particiapte in his care. He is distant and silent, seems angry- which i understand but we should be in this together. I don't want to be in his face, making all the decisions or abandon him- we need to fine balance. Am I expecting too much too soon?
I'm working full time from home and our daughter is doing online school. My job is not easy but they are understanding and supportive. I feel like if i stop or think too much, i'm going to break. I am not ok and have no idea what to do.
JamesPL, September 20, 2020 9:20am EST
You are definitely not expecting too much too soon or at all. Your husband must take action in his personal care. It's certainly okay for you to help but he must also make the necessary changes. What he went through is a shock, no doubt, and it's not easy to accept but changes are necessary. It doesn't mean that life will not return to normal, it will. But it does mean that in order for that to happen, he has to take the steps to progress to that point. There are few ways to get there. First off, he MUST quit smoking. That's extremely important. Has he or you inquired about cardiac rehab? If not, I would strongly suggest you talk to his cardiologist about it. It's an excellent way to start the process of getting his heart back in shape. It is also a great way to experience what other heart patients are going through. This is a good way for him to realize that he is not alone. I would also suggest that if you suspect he is experiencing any kind of depression which is common, that he seek counseling. I was warned about this after my own event and although I didn't experience it, I was encouraged to speak to counselors anyway. I did and they were very supportive which was helpful. You may also want to speak with his cardiologist on your own and ask all the questions your husband did not. Verify what meds he should be on and what he should be doing during his recovery.
It's important that you don't lose hope. His life can and will return to normal as long as he is willing to make the effort. Remind him of what he has in his family. The ultimate goal of getting his life back could be the best inspiration.
I wish you all the best!
AHAASAKatie, September 22, 2020 10:00am EST
Good morning, thank you so much for sharing this with us. Caregiving is very hard, especially when the patient seems to be struggling as an active participant in their own recovery. In addition to what Jim said, would you consider counseling for yourself? That might help you figure out how to create your next steps and give you support from outside the house.
Please know that we are here to listen as you need us.