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PTSD
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PTSD

My husband just had open heart surgery on Oct. 18th, did very well but now having arrythmia. Not my question; want to know if going through a major event like that can cause PTSD, not only for him but for me also. We knew he had to have the surgery for over a year so spent a lot of time stressing-affected BP- was unsually high for me all year-but seems back to normal now. I know he is depressed and also very bored with physical limitations but does not believe in counseling. What can I do to help besides try to be understanding and not get feelings hurt when he snaps or is in a "mood"?  Really think we both need some major help but don't know how to convince him; any ideas?? Help would be greatly appreciated. I have been clinically depressed (genetic and lots of personal and family crisis for years) and am taking antidepressant but not working too well with all that is going on. Hope its not hopeless!!! Thanks, Tired55
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes! This can definitively happen after open heart surgery. My mother went through the same thing for awhile after her surgery. That was 12 years ago and she has been a volunteer at the same hospital helping heart patients every since. She sees this quite a bit. No, I don't think it is hopeless. I know you may feel a little selfish about what I'm going to recommend. You have to take care of yourself first or you can't help your husband. If he refuses to go to counseling then maybe you can go by yourself. Check with the hospital where he had his surgery to find out if they have support groups for family members of heart patients. Or, you might want to ask his Dr about it. Your husband may go through this for weeks or months. It's really hard to tell. I take it his surgery was a success? Like I said, my mother had hers 12 years ago and she is as healthy as can be. I just wanted to let you know that your husband can lead a very happy productive life.
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Yes! This can definitively happen after open heart surgery. My mother went through the same thing for awhile after her surgery. That was 12 years ago and she has been a volunteer at the same hospital helping heart patients every since. She sees this quite a bit. No, I don't think it is hopeless. I know you may feel a little selfish about what I'm going to recommend. You have to take care of yourself first or you can't help your husband. If he refuses to go to counseling then maybe you can go by yourself. Check with the hospital where he had his surgery to find out if they have support groups for family members of heart patients. Or, you might want to ask his Dr about it. Your husband may go through this for weeks or months. It's really hard to tell. I take it his surgery was a success? Like I said, my mother had hers 12 years ago and she is as healthy as can be. I just wanted to let you know that your husband can lead a very happy productive life.
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Avatar_f_tn
First of all call your doctor and let him know that your medication isn't working for you, he will know what to do.  Have you tried discussing the whole thing with your husband?  I know you're very empathetic but he needs to know that taking his anger and frustrations out on you is not right.  He doesn't mean to do this, he just doesn't know where else to direct it.  Let him know that you're not the enemy, and are on his side.  See if he will talk to you about his feelings and try to get him to see the positive side of all he has survived.  He needs to fight and fight as a team with you.  You may have to be very blunt with him about how this is affecting you, because YOU can only take so much as well.  I would talk to his doctor and ask him to recommend therapy for your husband, they will often listen to anyone but us. His doctor can say that it's very common for heart patients to feel this way and he always recommends they talk to someone about it. I had to do this with my son, because he too refused therapy but once his doctor recommended it, he was good to go. It's understanding that he would have some issues under the circumstances but he has to understand that it's not good for either of you. I feel bad for both of you, but don't take anything your husband says personally, he's talking out of anger and frustration.  I hope this helps and big hugs to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, what great advice and wisdom! Thank you so much for responding to my question; I agree in theory to your wonderful advice but sometimes it's just hard to put yourself first when he's the one who had to undergo the surgery although I really believe that mentally it might have been harder on me. I tend to dwell on things and worry about everything whereas he just usually accepts things for what they are and deals with it. Don't think he has really dealt with what happened as I stated before but know after being together for 40 yrs. that he will not seek help for any psychological problems; it's tough to get him to get help for physical problems....you know how men are! Thanks again for your help,nice to know there are others out there somewhere who care about others!!! Have a great Tuesday!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I thought I could nominate the both of you as far as best answer because you seem to really know what you are talking about, you're advice is precise, informative and very well written,thank you very much! Sounds like you might be a health professional and if not you should be! I don't think he will listen to even the Dr. when it comes to matters of the mind, he's old school and thinks psychology is just a bunch of "hobbi-gobbi" His words obviously!  I am really worried though because he really seems to be in a "funk" although the surgery was very successful and his recovery is amazing me. He also has a lot of support, can't count how many friends he has plus family-mine and his.                                                             I hesitate to bother my Dr. about depression as he is really only supposed to be my rehab physician for fibro and herniated disc, but I don't even have a PCP so the burden of most of my issues (besides cardiac) fall on his shoulders. He is a great Dr. but I know he gets frustrated with my lack of progress as far as feeling better or functioning at a greater capacity. I know I am my own worst enemy but don't want to end up as my husband's also!
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Avatar_m_tn
Both of you follow this technique to relax the mind and get extra oxygen into the brain. Just to distract the mind for 5 minutes, you will notice the relaxation. Your husband will love this, as it is something he can do himself.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.

Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 10 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.

Bhramri Pranayam -Close eyes. Close little flap of ears with thumb,place  index finger on forehead, and rest three fingers on base of nose touching eyes. Breathe in through nose. And now breathe out through nose while humming like a bee.
Repeat this  5 to 21 times.
November 25,2011
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for the relaxation exercises, will definitely be trying them! Thank you so much for your help, nice to know people still care!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I know it can be so very hard to put yourself first in this kind of situation. But, you really should because your husband needs you right now. Like I said, my mother went through the same thing as your husband. The mood swings and depression are not uncommon after open heart surgery. I had a heart attack myself back in May. I only had one stent, thank goodness. But it was a full blown heart attack and I already have depression and anxiety, but it was worse after the heart attack. I'm just getting to the point of feeling better mentally and it's been over 6 months. It was hard on my husband, daughter and Mom but I wanted them to not stress and to take care of themselves. Yes, it's a little selfish on my part because there were been times when I needed them and needed them to be healthy and happy for me. It stressed me out when they were stressed out about me!
I do believe your husband will get better as time goes by. It seems like men do worse with open heart for some reason. Maybe because they just don't want to deal with it like you said.
Yes, he was the one the went through the actual surgery. But you 2 are a team and of course this is going to greatly effect you too.
I told you about my Mother volunteering at the hospital where she had her surgery. She still does that and I think it's helped her so very much. It's been 12 years and she is so healthy and happy. Maybe you can let your husband know that you have talked to people that have loved ones that are doing so great many years after a heart attack and surgery. It may help.
You do need to take care of yourself. If you don't want to leave your husband alone, ask a friend to come over and visit him. You can go have lunch with a girl friend, do some shopping or see a movie.
Sorry my post is so long. This is something that hits close to home for me after what my Mother went through and I love to tell people her story. She is turning 70 in February and has a trip planned with my daughter to Costa Rico. My Mother already had a bikini bought and plans to wear it on the beach. She is loving and living life to the fullest 12 years after having open heart and I could not be happier for her!
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Avatar_f_tn
Just caught your post and how refreshing it was! Thankyou! I want to talk more but right now its about or after 3:00 AM. Need to go to bed. Please don't apologize for long post, you should see some of mine!! Just ask my only email friend, she'll tell you. Thanks again ,will write back tomorrow because you are so nice to share both you and your mother's stories and also give me encouragement. Bye for now, Tired55 (Going to be really tired now)
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Your very welcome. Please feel free to send me a private message any time you want to talk. I come to this site everyday.
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Hi again,can't type tonight, my back is killing me, on the computer too long last night and carried in some groceries( seemed really heavy but probably not as bad as I think) so will talk tomorrow if ok with you, have a good night (you're probably asleep like most sane people at this time of night!) so that probably sounds a little stupid. Oh well, had a long day!
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Avatar_f_tn
Actually, I have a really strange schedule. Sometimes I go to bed early and sometimes I go to bed late.It depends on how my anxiety and depression are.
I'm so sorry your back is hurting. It might help to put a pillow behind you when your on the computer and try not to hunch over. I'm bad about that and catch myself doing it all the time.
I'm here at all different times throughout the day usually so send me a message anytime.
I hope your back feels better today.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi again, so sorry,just read your post. I need to get better at checking my emails but have been really busy and husband is here all the time as he had open heart surgery on the 18th of October. He is doing well though,we drove up to Christopher Creek (in Az.east of Payson on the beautiful Mogollon Rim) to get his truck so he will now have a little more autonomy. Yeah, he is not an indoor or inactive person and has been going crazy from boredom these past few weeks. Things are returning to normal slowly but surely. I am just very thankful he did well with the surgery and his recovery is also going pretty well although just recently developed an arrythmia; cardiologist doesn't seem to think it will be problematic and can be controlled and hopefully irradicated with just increasing his beta blocker. Have my fingers crossed! It seems the better he feels physically is in keeping with how his mental attitude is. Still having some rough patches and hurt feelings but getting a little better, I'm still grateful to you for responding to my initial post. Hope to talk more soon, very late and back can only stand so long on the computer. Thanks again, Tired55
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Hi to you again also. I'm so glad to hear you and your husband are getting out and about. It's not surprising he's been feeling the way he has with having the surgery and then not being able to get outside.
His meds may have to be changed a few times so try not to worry about that.It all depends on how he's doing and how his body reacts. If he does'nt do well on the new dose of beta blocker they might put him on a completely different one. My fingers are crossed for him too.
What he's going through is common, like I mentioned before. It's really great to hear he's finally doing better!
How are you doing?    Remar
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Your advice is helpful as always. He is doing better after his cardiologist increased his Lopressor to one twice a day instead of one/half of one twice a day;he says he has not had an arrythmia since,hope it stays that way. New problem though;his blood pressure is too high lately,he is supposed to take lisiopril at night if it is elevated in conjunction with the one he takes in AM, but hasn't been,don't know why he is hesitant to do so but I guess I will have to contact his cardiologist if this continues. We only have 2 more weeks in this apt. we rented to be close to hosp. as we live in very rural community. I don't want to leave right in the middle of the month,thought we might have Christmas this year as he won't have to return to work until Jan.1st, usually driving a snow plow this time of year, doesn't matter if it's christmas or not. Right now it is very cold even in Mesa, Az. where we are and only in the 30's at home and much colder at night. I really hate being cold! Oh well,I don't mean to take up your time with my self pity,sorry! Have a great holiday season!!! Tired55
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No, please don't ever feel like your taking up my time. I really like helping people whenever I can. My mother has had this surgery so I do understand what you and your husband are going through. My sister and I also have had heart attacks, but no open heart, thank goodness! Both open heart and a heart attack with stenting can be life changing for both the patient and their loved ones. My husband still freaks out at every little twinge I have. And I am always anxious to hear results when my mom and sister see their Drs. It really is life changing. But, the good news is they're making new discoveries every day to treat heart problems! I have my stent placed in May through the groin. Now they can go in through the wrist. Is'nt that amazing? They're also working on trying to go through the ribs, or rather between the ribs, instead of doing open heart. You might find that now you'll be doing research on the heart and treatments. I sure did after my mom had hers.
I'm so glad to hear your husband is doing better with the med change. He really needs to take that extra dose of his BP med at night thought. It's best to keep his BP and heart rate down right now, especially since he had the surgery not that long ago. And of course for life because high BP is not good for the body at all. Yes, you may have to threaten to call his Dr on him if he does'nt take that extra dose. Ha ha! Nothing against men at all. But they can be a little reluctant to take care of their health. I go through the same thing with my husband and he has no health problems that we know of. He's at that age where he should be getting tested for certain things though but just blows it off.
It's very cold where we're at too. I woke up this morning to a little bit of snow. Winter is here for sure.
I'm going to send you a friend invite if that's alright. That way we can talk in private messages if you would like. Have a great day!  
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Hello again, thanks for answering my post. I didn't know that they could go through the wrist to place a stent, they went through the groin on my husband both to place the stent Aug. before last and then again prior to hia surgery to check its patency. Fortunately, it was still good and therefore he did not have to have any bypasses. But, they still shaved his legs just in case, the prep for the surgery was almost as bad as the surgery, I was so relieved when everything was done and we are almost back to a normal life again. His depression seems to be better although mine seems to be getting worse. I just cancelled a nuclear stress test and follow up-  don't feel like messing with it right now and they can't do it if I have a migraine and I have been having several lately. Most are caused by food allergies but these ones lately I just wake up with. I already had to cancel the test once due to a migraine that lasted two days and now have to pay a cancellation fee, understand why but still upsetting. My mom is not healthy either. She has diabetes and still doesn't eat right,was in Mayo Clinic last Nov., choppered her there unconcious, took them 9 days to diagnose what happened, said she was septic due to aspiration pneumonia. Now she has a broken arm and needs help with everything. My sister lives with her but she also has many health issues, needs both knees replaced, has had her back fused and then had to be opened up up both in her back and abdomen to remove the bar and screws as bone was not growing to them and they would not stay in place, it was awful. She also lost both of her children in a fire years ago and will never get over that! Now they are running tests on her heart too, I swear it never ends. She and my mom are up in Christopher Creek where we live and we are down here in Mesa,AZ. for my husband's rehab,can't be two places at once,feel guilty that I'm not there to help but also not looking forward to going back right now, it's too cold! When my husband goes back to work (cleared for Jan. 1st) if it snows he is either out on a plow for 12 or more hours or sleeping. They change shifts every month-midnight to noon and vice versa. That means I have to deal with the storms on my own, inc. power outages. I hate that!!! Anyway...here I go again, whining. Back to heart research- we were aware of the new DaVinci procedure that uses robotics to do the open heart surgery, much less invasive and the hosp. were went to used to have a surgeon that was proficient at this procedure but he somehow dropped off the face of the earth, I spent over a month trying to locate him. His cardiologist and surgeon said that maybe in a few years it would be safer, I guess there are complications associated with it now that need to be worked on. I just found an Institute that is pioneering robotic surgery, can't think of the name offhand but will send it to you if you want. I would gladly be a friend, where is the request,on my profile page? I will look. Thanks again and have a great day.  Tired55
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On your home page it will show a friend request.
I'm getting ready to send you a private message.
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Great, thanks, will look forward to talking with you, thanks again.
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