Week Two: Post Heart Attack

Most of the care of Mr VOW has fallen on me and The Daughter. The Son has contributed substantially as well.

The Daughter is close to a nervous breakdown. I sometimes have murder in my heart.

On the plus side: medications are being taken, with care to spacing and with food. He’s eating damn-near sodium free food, with no complaint. He hasn’t had a Coca-Cola in over a week, hasn’t even WISHED for one.

Negatives: well…
He doesn’t like being told what to do. He doesn’t want to use the walker. He doesn’t want to keep his feet up all the time. He insisted on showering without help, and he refused to use the shower chair.

whine after all the hassle I went through to get that damn chair…

He’s lost ten pounds in a week from diuretics!

And he’s here with me; I’m not planning a military funeral.

Oh -VOW, It will get easier.
I’m happy he’s home with you. The coke thing amazes me.
Take care, friend.

Yeah, I can identify. But it will get better, right? Keep a sense of humor and do your best not to pummel anyone! :smiley:

It’s so hard to relinquish control of your person. I have had to learn this, this last year.
Somedays, I wanna run away.
Just this morning I slept very late. I awoke to 4 people looking at me. I was perturbed to say the least. On reflection I understand they were concerned about my well- being. But still my head sez my privacy is invaded.
Mr.VOW will come to understand. It might take time. He might not say it aloud, but I betcha he appreciates the help and concern.
As he heals you’ll feel less anxious and more at ease.

It gets better and spring is coming.

IANAD, but I can relate my own experience. By “cardiac catheterization” I presume you mean percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), the new name for what used to be called angioplasty with stenting.

The procedure itself is remarkably safe and non-invasive, done with a thin tube through the arm and with only moderate sedation. It’s possible though very unusual for it to trigger a heart attack itself, but they can deal with that. It must have been very scary when Mr. VOW’s heart stopped during the procedure, but they dealt with it. At least they didn’t propose arterial bypass grafting, which is open-heart surgery with long recovery times.

FWIW, I had PCI done a few years ago (three stents were inserted) with no ill effects. Not sure why Mr. VOW needs an extraordinary amount of care right now but perhaps it was the nature of the original heart attack. The critical thing with stents is to maintain the prescribed medications, particularly blood-thinners like Brilinta, low-dosage Aspirin, blood pressure medication, and whatever else was prescribed, with the first year being absolutely the most critical. Cholesterol medication like Lipitor or its generic equivalent might be part of the mix. There appears to be a medical study showing that blood pressure medication statistically provides the most safety and efficacy when taken before bedtime rather than in the morning – take that for what it’s worth.

Hang in there, VOW, it will only get better!

My sister got me a shower chair after I had a stroke and got back home. I don’t use it for the shower. I hold onto it when I get into the tub/shower, but it sits outside the tub.

But I do need it to help me get up off the toilet.

I had to use a shower chair following my heart surgery and my knee replacement surgery. I hated it. I never really felt as clean as with a regular shower. But it was necessary.

And a raised toilet seat.

Mr VOW is considered to also have Congestive Heart Failure, because of the amout of fluid he had in his feet and lower legs when he was admitted. Our Primary Care Provider was a little bewildered at that diagnosis, because she had examined him about a month and a half prior, complete with all bloodwork, and she didn’t see it.

And she is a very competent doctor.

Anyway, because of the CHF, he is on very low sodium diet and restricted fluids. He had an in-home evaluation by a Physical Therapist, and his rehab will be gradual. To drive the point home, the PT used the “finger-oxygen” monitor to get his resting O2 percentage: 95. Then they took a little walk from the living room, around the kitchen, and back to the living room. The O2 percentage had dropped to 83. The PT explained that as the percentage lowers, Mr VOW could suddenly weaken. Without the walker, he could fall. So, take the walker everywhere. He will get stronger, but for now, use the walker!

Mr VOW, with that infernal “Y” chromosome, thinks he can conquer any weakness with the awesome power of his mind.

So I wander over to SDMB, read a little nonsense, make some smart-ass remarks, and I continue onward.

I don’t know about blood pressure medication being more effective if taken at bedtime, but years ago a study showed blood CHOLESTEROL medication was more effective if taken at bedtime. I prepare the pill caddies for both of us, and we have been taking our statins at bedtime ever since.

He had his blood pressure drug changed, his diuretic changed, his cholesterol drug doubled in dosage, and two heart drugs added, one of which was, in fact, Brilinta.

I added the new drugs to his pill caddy the night he came home from the hospital.

He’s got a whole houseful of people who are around to make sure he complies!

Friend VOW,

I know I am a lurker, and not usually in the forefront of any discussion here. That being said, I have been following your crisis closely and Mr Vow has been in my thoughts daily. I am glad to hear that he is on the mend.

Maybe you should call Beck’s family over to give him the Silent Stare. Seriously, maybe he’d compromise and allow the shower chair to be in the shower in case he does feel weak. He could also choose between the walker and holding someone’s arm. I’m guessing that he’d see the walker as giving him more autonomy.

If he fell, would you and DD be able to lift him (assuming he wasn’t injured)? I’f not, that’s a good argument right there.

Do you have any friends who have gone through the same thing? Sometimes the only person a guy in that situation will listen to is one who’s also been in the trenches.

Hang in there and keep reminding yourself it’s good he has a fighting spirit.


Not enough room in the shower for a “standee” and the chair both. It’s a stall shower.

Would DD and I be able together to pick him up? No. And she’d have to keep her wits about her to call for help, since I can’t use the telephone.

Friends and relatives all have a variety of “we’re getting older dammit” frailties, but he’s the first heart attack. It would be nice if he could talk with a fellow sufferer. I have read everything I can get my hands on, but he stopped listening to me years ago.

Thanks for the hugs. I love them.

I sure do know how panic stricken everyone is over this. For you and your family, this is a life changing event but for the medical folks you interact with…its just another Tuesday. They might be kind and helpful and all, but they don’t usually remember how new this is for their patients and families. They remember to tell you about the big things, but forget about the small stuff.

About 9 years ago, the man I was dancing with long distance told me that he was feeling “funny and breathless”. I “gently encouraged” him to see his doctor and due to his desire to maybe someday have sex with me, he went to the doctor. Doctor told him to go to the ER because he was having a “cardiac event”. My Beloved Butthead of course said he was far too busy to deal with that, he wasn’t having a heart attack, he just felt funny and a little breathless.

Long story short, my BB didn’t actually have a heart attack. He did have a quad by-pass (open heart surgery). He was a horrible patient, I had the vacation time to fly to Texas and nurse him. I seriously spent all of my time there stopping him from doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing. No reaching over his shoulders, no picking up anything heavier than 5 lbs. and OMG, yes, the shower issue. His home had a nice large shower with a built in bench, but no grab-rails. At that time, we were just talking about someday getting naked together, so me getting in the shower with him was a serious issue.

All the time I was dealing with this, I was also talking to folks who thought it was just another Tuesday. You have my sincere sympathy, its not just another Tuesday for you.

Can you start carrying a pen and some paper in your pocket so you can write questions down as you think of them? That was helpful for me. I also learned to take a short walk while my BB was sleeping, it helped me clear my head. You really do need to do something besides hovering over Mr. VOW once in a while, its good for both of you.

I love you, flatlined.

End the mystery, though. Whatever happened with you and BB?

To settle any of your curiosity, Mr VOW and I have been married for 45 years. I told him in no uncertain terms, I fully expect us to make it to at LEAST fifty!

Nothing but best wishes your way VOW. I sympathise. I have had to look after two parents recently with ailments (nothing as serious as yours thank God) and yes I get it, it’s very difficult.
VOW, look after yourself. Don’t let the stress of this make you ill. This is something I have seen happen too often with partners of ill people.

LOL, of course you want to know the fun stuff!

After his 3rd day post surgery, he was going home. He told the nurse he didn’t need lunch because he was going home. I helped him get dressed, boots on because he was going home as soon as he got checked out. Folks came in, checked him, agreed that he could leave and gave the discharge instructions to a gold digging floozy (me, 30 years younger and so poor that I had to chose between buying cats good food, or doing the same for myself). So, I am helping him out of bed and a nurse came in with a wheel chair and told us that my BB had to use it to leave.

Cue outrage: I walked in here, I am going to damn well walk out!!! Nurse said soothing words, and left.

The next person who came in was also pushing a wheel chair, but she was a little old lady DAV volunteer, wearing her red vest with her service medals. My BB quietly got in the wheel chair and the nice little old lady let me push it while she walked next to us and talked about her time in the military.

Was that genius or what?

Also, his cardiac surgeon told him that he couldn’t have sex until he could walk up 3 flights of stairs at once, so we went to the mall every day and used the stairs there. While I did buy and carry a yoga mat and promised him that we would use it to have sex on the 3rd floor landing, there was a big sale happening the day he did it and I learned that he was shy.

His surgeon also told him that he couldn’t shoot a “real” gun for 6 weeks, so we had to go to the gun store for a .22 pistol. Doctor’s orders, don’t ya know.

He wasn’t supposed to ride in the front seat for the car for 6 weeks because an airbag would split his chest open again. I bought a limo driver hat and black suit to be his driver. We have been married for 8 years now, I love my husband, we have a good life together. He sold the .22 as soon as he was able to carry a real gun.

I still put the hat and skirt on at times, he’s imprinted on that.

Not sure if Mr VOW would feel that a different style of walker might be more usable? Have they started him with one of those basic aluminum frame walkers? As someone in his 40s who needs a walker I can affirm that those suck!

I am in my 40s but need a walker and tried a few. For me a rollator style walker that can fold side-to-side has been what works best for me. This is the one I use and at only about $70 it didn’t break the bank. If I get too sore or tired to keep moving the walker has a seat and I can stop to rest.

Hope you can find an option that Mr VOW will want to use.

Lookit that gorgeous thing! Do they make one with a sidecar, so I can ride along? It’s even RED, my favorite color for a car!

Alas, the aluminum jobbie will serve as motivation to do the exercises, get stronger, and dump the walker. Suffering is a wonderful motivation!

Thanks for the info, I’ll keep it in mind if his recovery takes longer than expected.

The grandkids posted signs in the hallway: Parking for Grandpa’s Walker ONLY, and outlined the space on the floor with a square of tape. I’m still giggling over that!

Awww. I love a Doper love story. Very sweet.

Best wishes. You can survive a heart attack many years and live a happy life. I know.