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Carer for a post heart attack Husband

(25 Posts)
Nanny41 Sat 12-Jan-19 21:07:50

This proably sounds ridiculous, but I want some advice from ladies on GN who may have experienced the same thing. At the beginning of this week five days ago to be exact, my Husband had a heart attack in front of me ,he survived and was given a stent in the blocked artery, he was discharged two days later reasonably fine after the event.I have believe it or not,been a Nurse for fifty years, but after this happening I feel inadequate.I help with his medcations and encourage him with things he is allowed to do, and wants to do, he will soon be going to a support group once a week for four weeks to meet various medical professionals to help him.I feel suddenly isolated, and fear not having any time to myself etc,I am not worried about the situation the attack, because I know what has happened and know what to expect for the future, and things are going well, but I dont sleep well, feel restless all the time, and really cant explain how I feel, but I dont feel as if I am doing anything although I am running around all the time.If anyone else has experienced this I would be grateful for some tips please.

Doodle Sat 12-Jan-19 22:08:31

It’s shock nanny41. Something happens out of the blue and at first it’s just a matter of coping and getting things done and then when the initial panic is over the worry about what happened is still there.
When my DH had a stroke, I felt life would never be the same. I was terrified to leave him. Lay awake at night listening to him breathing just to make sure he was alive. I watched diligently for any sign of recurrence. Any time he mentioned a slight pain or numbness anywhere I was thinking is it happening again. Over time things settle back down and you relax a bit. It is natural to have the feelings you are experiencing so soon after the event. Another few weeks and you will begin to feel more normal. I wish you and your DH well.

EllanVannin Sat 12-Jan-19 22:26:34

Nurse or not these things are still a shock to the system when it's your own who's suffered. Just take things a day at a time as it's only early days for you yet. Once you get back into your own normal routine you'll be alright.

Nanny41 Sat 12-Jan-19 23:11:20

Thank you Doodle and Ellan for your encouraging words, I am sure things will get better and return to normal in a few weeks, and I will have my normal routine again..
DH seems to be fine.

Humbertbear Sun 13-Jan-19 09:52:46

My husband was seriously ill, in intensive care for 9 days, in and out of hospital for months. I found it is important to be kind to yourself. Don’t try to do too much. Allow yourself some treats and don’t try to carry on as if everything is normal. You have had a great shock and are under a good deal of stress. Best wishes

dragonfly46 Sun 13-Jan-19 09:58:34

I agree with the others - it is initial shock because you think these things happen to somebody else. I know from personal experience. As the shock wears off you will feel better able to cope and probably better than most due to your training.
Be kind to yourself as well things will soon settle down to a new normal.
Best wishes

Fennel Sun 13-Jan-19 12:02:20

From the other side, as someone who had a heart attack and stents, my husband was also very shocked. Before that we had both been healthy and never thought about sudden illness etc. Your husband is also probably in shock, as I was. Thinking of yourself in the past as here forever.
But we both quickly adjusted and TG I've been ok since.

Marilla Sun 13-Jan-19 12:45:27

You describe how I feel so eloquently. It can be overwhelming and you are left wondering is this my life from now on? It does get better, though to be honest it’s been 18 months since my husband had his quadruple bypass and I still feel insecure.

He is well and getting on with normal life but in the wee small hours I listen to his breathing and worry. The first time I allowed myself to go out with a friend for a coffee, I was a worry wart and couldn’t wait to get home. I have gradually allowed myself to get out for a few hours, but always make some excuse to phone home just to check all is well!

I am not so good at offering advice Nanny41, but I hope you don’t feel quite so isolated knowing that there are others who understand exactly how you feel.

Nanny41 Sun 13-Jan-19 13:01:50

Thank you all for your kind remarks and advice, things will improve I know, I just needed a bit of encouragement, which I received from you.Many thanks.

Grannyknot Sun 13-Jan-19 13:04:44

Hi nanny41 I had the same experience, excepting my husband had 3 stents. I just remember feeling proud of myself for the part I played (keep calm and call an ambulance), gratitude to the doctors and the NHS. He was relatively young (54) and bounced back quickly.

My husband found a new "tribe" when he went to cardiac rehab and 10 years on we seldom think about it.

Isn't modern medicine wonderful?

Cabbie21 Sun 13-Jan-19 13:11:13

This is something I too have been thinking a lot about recently. Nothing as serious as a heart attack, but my husband has a heart condition and other health issues and has recently been unwell with bronchitis and chest pains. It set me thinking too about my role and our future. Will I have to become his Carer? Should I give up my numerous activities and stay by his side? Normally we would be thinking about holidays but I daren't broach the subject at the moment. A friend has just had to cancel a booked holiday of a lifetime as her husband has had a heart attack. None of us knows what is round the corner, but when you are in good health it is hard to envisage a different life style until it hits you.
I take my hat off to all who care for a loved one.

paddyann Sun 13-Jan-19 14:04:06

My OH had his second heart attack in the middle of the night ,he got up,called NHS24 and did what they told him to.He opened the doors for the ambulance and then woke me saying" dont panic I'm having aheart attack but you'll have to get up to come with me"
To say I was shocked doesn't explain it and when we got to hospital they said he'd had at least one other small attack in the previous week.I was in a daze for days until he came home and then fear took over.I was scared to leave him alone ,even in a different part of the house.
Thankfully he has much more sense than me and he was back at work with an assistant to drive , carry his gear and organise for him(he's a wedding photographer) in just over two weeks .Went to the cardio rehab classes arranged by the hospital and hasn't really looked back.He walks at least 8 miles a day ,does all sorts of DIY for our children and his mum as well as our own and has a good social life .Sometimes I think he should slow down but I truly believe the less people do they less thay are able to do ,so I keep quiet .I still worry though and he is retiring later this year as the stress of the job leaves him exhausted ,its what to fill the space with that bothers him .Good luck with your OH but be guided by what HE wants and not what you think he shoule be doing .

Fennel Sun 13-Jan-19 17:59:44

Nanny41 - hopefully I don't think you need to think of yourself as a carer.
If you do the cooking in the house the main thing is to prepare healthy meals for both of you, to keep the cholesterol down.
And if he smokes try to persuade him to stop.

Luckygirl Sun 13-Jan-19 22:22:52

I do hope that things will settle down for you as time goes by.

Different entirely, but just over a year ago I was told my OH was dying and for many months afterwards there was little else I could think about and our lives had no normality at all in them. Like others I was checking his breathing etc. He did not - and still does not - know this was said to me. But the similarity is that after a while it ceased to be my only thought, and I began to lead as normal a life as is possible - I go out and do things by myself. I think their assessment was wrong and their thinking was coloured by his extremely low weight - he is very ill, but I think he will be with us for a while yet.

Like you I know how these things bring you up short and any semblance of "normality" goes out of the window; but I just wanted to say that I am sure things will settle for you when you have got over the first shock.

I wish you both well.

Cabbie21 Mon 14-Jan-19 09:40:44

The fact is, we are all going to die some time, and nobody knows when. It may be after a long illness or a short one, or suddenly with a stroke or in an accident. We don’t know. So I guess we have to prepare as best we can, eg by making a Will, having insurance in place, LPA, etc then just get on with life and make the most of each day.
Hard to do when we are faced with uncertainty.

misty100 Mon 14-Jan-19 12:41:11

I can only wish you both by best wishes for health and happiness in our New Year. My Husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer about 8 years ago. No Cure and it was devastating!!. It was suggested he had about 5 years left!! He's still here and still working!! His treatment seems to be containing his tumour and he firmly believes there is nothing wrong with him!! I am beginning to believe this also - why not?? Enjoy every day you have together and love each other as you always have. with my very best wishes for your future together. M xx

sarahellenwhitney Mon 14-Jan-19 13:09:52

Nannny41 Adult Social Care stepped in when I was in a similar situation as yourself. Contact DH own GP. Don't leave it any longer.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 14-Jan-19 15:26:41

First, I am happy to hear your husband is doing well, and as others have said, you need time to get over a most horrible shock.

I know many wives who like you are nurses, who have found it impossibly difficult to cope with their husbands' illnesses, and my father who was a GP missed some of the implications of my mother's final illness until the consultant and I mentioned them to him. I think this is quite normal when you are closely related to the patient.

It is difficult to keep a professional outlook with close family members, but I feel sure your training will reassert itself once you are over the worst shock.

Nanny41 Mon 14-Jan-19 16:46:40

Thank you everyone for your kind and consoling words, they mean a lot to me.

GabriellaG54 Mon 14-Jan-19 16:55:39

Thinking of you Nanny41 and hopefully, all will be well when you relax into a routine.
Beat wishes to both of you and your husband's continued recovery. flowers

GabriellaG54 Mon 14-Jan-19 16:56:45

*best, not beat blush

Billybob4491 Mon 14-Jan-19 17:51:20

Nanny41 - I think the shock is harder to deal with than the situation itself. Have picked my husband up off the floor with heart attacks, strokes etc. over the years, and dealt with it quite swiftly at the time. But when I thought about events afterwards the shock set in with me. You do find the strength as time goes on to deal with things, and I am very grateful to the NHS that he is still with me. I count my blessings. I wish you and your husband well.

Telly Mon 14-Jan-19 18:55:59

Have been there too. It is a shock and that is what you are going through at the moment. I can remember the first time I met a friend for coffee, weeks after my husband's attack and I was so on edge that I just had to get up and go. It is a question of adjustment and of course time is great for that. My husband made a good recovery, but he has other major health issues too so we just take each day as it comes. I am sure you know that it is important that you make some time for yourself too. Best wishes to you both xx

Fernbergien Tue 15-Jan-19 10:57:51

I have taken this opportunity to say had husband unwell for most of last year. Doctors appeared to think listless symptoms were because of age. Anyhow I knew something was amiss. After breaking hip re fall because weak they then after many months said he had endocarditis. This seems to be a little known dangerous condition where “fungi” can grow on heart. Took intensive antibiotics to cure. Has now to carry warning card. So I urge people to be aware. Hope this helps someone in future.

Magrithea Wed 16-Jan-19 14:39:14

Nanny41 my DH had a, thankfully, minor heart attack in September last year. It happened in the early morning and wasn't dramatic (he called the 111 helpline himself) He didn't have any stents (artery to blame too small) but is on lots of different tablets since then.

You don't say if it was serious or not or how it has affected him otherwise. My DH is managing his own medication and has been to cardiac rehab classes (presumably the support group you refer to) which has helped him a lot. He's certainly taken on board the advice he's been given and has cut back on his alcohol intake (which was high!) and is back to his country walks (he's involved with the Ramblers) which he does on his own, I always ask where he's going and he always takes his mobile phone.

The advice nowadays is to not become an invalid but to keep active unless told otherwise. Please try not to worry, things are so much better these days medically, so he will hopefully be fine