British Heart Foundation
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Heart attack then cardiac arrest after lobectomy

My husband is almost 78 and has had 3 MIs, the last one in 2008 when he had 2 stents fitted. I'm also a member of the lung cancer forum because, as well as having COPD, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in September after a CT scan for digestive issues because he has lost over 2 stone in a year. The lung cancer was a 3cm tumor in his upper right lobe and had not spread so keyhole surgery was recommended and he had loads of tests to make sure that his heart could stand the shock of surgery. He had his lobectomy on 29/11/17 at Papworth hospital, the best cardio/thoracic hospital in the UK, and his lung collapsed, as expected, but he was discharged home with a couple of portable chest drains on 19/12/17. On 23/12/17 I called an ambulance as he had pains in his arms and the ECG showed that he was having a heart attack. He was rushed back to Papworth and had an emergency angioplasty where they repaired one of his stents. On 25/12/17 he had a cardiac arrest and had to be given CPR and shock treatment but was fine when I visited in HDU that day. He now has a chest infection, has bruising over his ribs due to the CPR and is in extreme pain controlled by codeine and paracetamol. His condition is complicated because he cannot eat. He vomits every time he tries and the doctor has told him that he is being sick because he isn't eating...a catch 22 if ever I saw one! I am taking him his Aymes Complete bottles that our GP provided when he couldn't eat due to nausea while he was at home, and he is attempting to drink them. (He had investigations into why he had nausea, but only GERD was found) He was told, he says, that his chest drains are doing more harm than good and that they will be taken out today and he may be allowed home on Friday.

It sounds very unlikely that he will be allowed home but I have been unable to speak to any of the doctors or nurses concerned...when I phone they just put me through to my husband! He expected to be in the hospital for 4 days or a week at the most and has now been there a month. I feel so sorry for him but, whilst I would dearly love to have him home, how likely is this do you think?

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Hi Sylviesinc, i am sorry to hear of your husbands illnesses. I also think like you do, given that he isn't eating i'd be very surprised if he were home on Friday.

I think you should persevere with the phone calls and try and get a nurse or a doctor to talk to you and tell you what is happening

best of luck

Mark

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Hi Sylvieinc, I am so sorry you and your husband are going through such a bad time. I am also a member of BLF forum as I had a tumour removed at St George’s Hospital in 2015 by a brilliant cardio/thoracic surgeon. Hubby is suffering from numerous problems but we are hoping to sort these out in the New Year. I know it is very hard but you must keep pushing to speak to somebody even if it only to get an update of your husbands condition. I had to have an argument with the sister in my husbands ward to get answers. I didn’t like doing it but we were being totally ignored for at least 7 hours. We do what we must for our loved ones.

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Sorry it's been so long but he was discharged home on 2/01/18, mainly because he was refusing food and not sleeping and they were very short staffed I think. Since being home I have had to arrange for a district nurse to visit as he still has a dressing and stitches where the chest drains were. He isn't mobile so I borrowed a wheelchair from a friend to get him to the car to come home. I also borrowed a commode from the Red Cross and bought a urine bottle. I wash him, dispense medications, use a small wheeled computer chair to drag him into the bedroom at 11 pm, then I drag him back to his recliner chair in the early hours as he can't sleep because of his chest infection, and I try to get him to eat and exercise. He is too weak to stand, however, and I had to call an ambulance on Friday because he was panicking and unable to get his breath. They were terrific, but his vital signs are OK and they think the GP should be visiting him. I'm going to ask for a GP visit tomorrow as I think he needs a visit from a physiotherapist to get him on his feet again. The district nurse has been great and ordered a pressure cushion to prevent bedsores and something to prop him up in bed. I was told by a nurse before he was discharged that they would arrange a "care package" but I haven't heard anything since and he won't let me make a fuss in case they take him back into hospital. He sleeps a lot during the day and uses nourishment drinks. I am persuading him to eat a couple of spoonfuls of soup and half a boiled egg but I don't really know if I'm doing enough!

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