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bahami1019, September 24,  2019  9:20pm EST

Husband doesn't feel he will be in this world very long

I have a weird question but it's concerning me.  My husband had several strokes which turned out was being caused by a faulty valve replacement - the hospital where we live could not give us any answers and kept insisting the valve wasn't the cause.  We took him to Mayo where they immediately diagnosed the valve problem and did emergency valve replacement with a mechanical heart.  He is fine physically although very fatigued but he has severe cognitive issues and no self motivation which is so different than he was before this last stroke which was pretty massive.  He keeps telling me that he feels very deeply that he won't last very long and definitely feels he won't reach 65.  I keep asking him if it's because he feels the mechanical heart beating or if he's not feeling well or feeling depressed but he says that he's not worried or concerned and that he feels fine but he just has this inner feeling that he won't be with us very long.  I've taken him to doctors and psychiatrists to make sure there isn't something going on (such as depression) but he's been given a clean bill of health with the exception of his cognitive issues.  Has anybody else experienced this?  He has been through so much but I have to admit his absolute conviction that he is going to die young is freaking me out - I don't want to just ignore his feelings and he doesn't dwell on it but just says it occasionally during normal conversation.  I am afraid that if I just dismiss his feelings, he will stop talking to me about it

4 Replies
  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, September 25,  2019  3:24pm EST

    I am so sorry that this has happened. It sounds like you have done everything you can to help get to the root cause. Stroke can impact so much of a survivor's personality. I can share with you the information we have regarding how stroke impacts emotions and cognitive thinking. Please know that you can come here and share what is happening, we are always here for you. Best Katie 

  • JKViggiano
    JKViggiano, September 25,  2019  4:13pm EST

    Hi there.  I can understand why he feels this way. He has had a close look at his own mortality. With such lifechanging experiences, I am guessing all he envisioned for his future has disappeared. Perhaps he is wondering why he is alive.

    No one plans for catastrophic health issues. When they happen, all our plans and dreams for our lives go out the window. What's left is a big, empty void. It is hard to even think about filling that void because we are painfully aware of our fragility. To make new plans and dreams is almost too much to risk, in case it all happens again.

    The reality of all our lives is that we don't kinow when our end is coming. It might be today or 30 years from now. I encourage both of you to start small. Live today. Find purpose in today. Let's not waste the days we are given. It took us a long time to even think beyond the week.

    It has been nearly 12 years since my husband's stroke and we still end each day thanking God for the great day we just had together. The big, empty void kinda filled itself in as each day has gone by. Our life looks nothing like it did pre-stroke but it is a pretty good life anyway. I hope your life together grows into something beautiful too.  Good luck.

  • queenbeem
    queenbeem, October 11,  2019  1:25pm EST

    Hi, so sorry you are going through this.  I can understand, because my husband has had 7 strokes and quite a few seizures and he gets depressed at times.  He is doing a little better

    now with the help of his Neurologist and going to all of his appointments for OT, PT and Speech Therapy.  Just be there for your husband, and pray for him and for yourself, God will give you the strength to deal with your situation, he gives me the power beyond what is normal.  I will pray for you and your husband.  God bless you and may his peace surround you always.


  • lin3038
    lin3038, October 24,  2019  10:54am EST

    Hi Bahama1019....I can understand how scared you must feel about your husband's comments. You sound like you have done everything you can to figure out what's going on as far as getting him checked out by doctors. Not sure I can add much to the conversation other than it must feel really sad for you, assuming you have been his major caregiver? 

    My husband had an ischemic stroke three months ago. He is in his early 70's and was in good health prior to this happening at the end of heart bypass surgery. He too is extremely fatigued and lacks motivation (not sure if its impaired cognition or the trauma of it all)? Physically his heart surgery has healed 100% - the stroke damage to his left side is rectifying - his left leg is getting stronger all the time with walking and therapy, but his left hand has tone and his left arm's still v weak. I slept with him in the hospital for 6 weeks. Since getting him home I have devoted my time towards his full recovery; 11 hours of therapy a week. And on 'home days' he/we do as much as we can when he isn't sleeping/resting; which is a lot. I try not to 'help' him too much....just support as much as possible.  I'm pretty tapped out of course. We have a complicated lifestyle and I have had to take on most of the jobs he did before. And emotionally its been a super tough row to how. I vacillate between being really grateful its not a lot worse than it is. And feeling depressed that the lifestyle we have worked towards having in our retirement is currently, maybe permanently? compromised. Emotional rollercoaster!!!

    So back to you.....assuming you have also been spending a ton of time helping your chap for him to say he might not be around 'long term' would, for me, be heartbreaking and probably make me angry too!!  Assuming its true...have you told him this? and have you had some counselling around this issue or just seen a psychiatrist?  My hubster and I have started counselling and it has been helpful...was amazed at how relatively easily my chap opened up to the counsellor. And how he seemed to 'hear' what she said more readily than he appears to hear me!!!! Being a spouse not always easy! So I guess my best suggestion would be to find a really good compassionate counsellor to brainstorm what's underneath his comment....and thereby find a way to either mitigate it or live more comfortably with it...

    And now having written all that....if you haven't already, check out exactly which parts of the brain have been affected by your chaps strokes. If the amigdalla has been compromised that might be effecting his emotional cognition and skewing his thinking?

    love Lin

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