British Heart Foundation
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Heart attack/ ICD hope, Hoover dam, Nope! Lol

Hi, this is my first post, I’m the wife of a heart patient that went from zero to 100 with his health in the blink of an eye.

His cardiologist has no real answers, apart from the fact he is diabetic and adopted so we don’t really know much of his family background re health.

He suffered a heart attack in September 2016, had 7 stents as every main artery was blocked, and had a pacemaker/ internal cardio defibrillator fitted.

He is back at work and has been for over 12 months, he doesn’t talk much about things, he’s not depressed but more like, “ out of sight out of mind” until we have to speak about the “ elephant in the room” lol

It bothers him that the icd does limit him to a a few less things, and we are over the holidaying abroad now, as that was a hurdle we felt we needed to get over.

We have done a couple of 3-6 hour flights and a cruise( he’s never been frisked so much) our travel insurance soared from about £30 to about £700, but we deal with that.

We are hoping to do a long haul flight in September, that’s our next hurdle, feel a bit apprehensive, but it’s got to be done.

Our down time is going on holiday, we work hard, save hard, and don’t smoke, like an occasional drink, mostly while on holiday, but could take it or leave it,

the day before his heart attack we were packed and ready to head off to Mexico, obviously we never got there and thankfully I still have my husband, because had we been on that flight .....

So although it’s not me that’s had the heart attack, I have felt the tremors, much like a Sunami or a volcano eruption, and our blissfully ignorant good health before has been blown up and rearranged into a jigsaw puzzle I now feel like I’ve done many times but the pieces don’t fit right, I’m 50 years old and have been with my husband longer than I lived with my parents, ignorance is bliss, but heart problems makes you stop in your tracks and re evaluate everything.

SO.. we now treat every day however it comes, enjoy time off together, don’t worry about the little things, and are getting back on that holiday mule and riding it all the way to Las Vegas in September, although we will be avoiding a Hoover Dam visit due to his ICD !!!! Lol

I’ve just read this back and it sounds a little bleak, it isn’t meant to be but just an honest reflection of how it effects everyone, my husband had the heart attack, but it changed mine... if that makes sense xxxxxx

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It makes absolute sense. It surprises me how few partners of we hearties, post here, but it should not be under estimated just how wide the fall out from an individual’s ‘cardiac event’ is.

Enjoy Vegas - the ultimate in plastic culture- fascinating place., just watch the purse strings! I can recommend taking an early morning light aircraft tour over the Hoover Dam and the western end of the Grand Canyon

Steve

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Hi there martyred, thank you for the post.

Firstly I agree with all of it , especially the elephant in the room piece. I also like the downtime that holidays bring and love planning things. I'm lucky that my work has been good to me currently four days a week and aim to retire early next year having been asked to stay on for one more this year!

Can I just point you to the pinned posts a little up on the right, there is an insurance one take a read as you should be able to find travel insurance for a lot less than £700.

Take care Mark

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Hi Maddyred, I totally understand where you're coming from. My husband had a massive heart attack 20 years ago resulting in cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, his heart was quite damaged & inoperable so he's taken medication since then to keep it under control. Additionally, he has a slight brain injury due to lack of oxygen. He had an ICD fitted 5 years ago due to heart failure. We didn't go abroad for about 13 years due to the fear of "what if".

Like you, I'm very grateful for having this 2nd chance, so many people don't. However, there no getting away from the fact that his condition impacts on me. Not only because the plans we made for our future had to change drastically but also I worry bout him daily, which he doesn't understand as he just gets on with it.

This reply really isn't really a moan either, just an acknowledgement that us "other halfs" are often forgotten about.

I hope your husband continues to keep well & that you also continue to consider yourself.

Enjoy your holidays xx

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Hi, It is so refreshing to hear the stories from the other halfs, I do sometimes think that people forget the impact it has on us too. My husband had a triple bypass last July and an ICD fitted in November.

He is generally well, medication controlled etc, however when we have approached the subject of holidays, it is me that shys away from it. I think I am concerned that something may happen while in a foreign country and that he may not then receive the appropriate care. My question is, do you all feel I am being over cautious? Should we try and continue our travels as we have for many years? We have been married 40 years this year and had been due to do a cruise in the Carribean in January which we cancelled. My husband is keen that we should still do this, but I am so uncertain.

Any thoughts or experiences you could share in relation to this would be very much appreciated.

Linda

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I always feel a little nervous, but we’ve done a few flights now, and a med cruise,

we are having problems getting worldwide annual insurance, something that we did last year with avanti ftravel, they have changed their underwriters so they will only insure on a single trip base.

It has changed me , since my other half’s heart attack, and fitting of his Icd, I still feel a bit like a swingometer, while I’m at work, my mind is occupied, when at home I find myself checking him over if he’s asleep, or just stopping him from doing things he gets on and does if I’m not around.

We haven’t yet been able to attend a twice yearly “ get together” of icd patients that his hospital run, I might feel a whole lot better talking with others in the same boat, and the pros and cons of his ICD , at the moment he can only see more cons than pros as most things but a health device.

I came home from work to find him having his attack, I thought I was going to lose him there and then, I was wrong , he’s no different now to how he was the day before it actually happened, other than medicated and stented, and his defibrillator/pacemaker.

I don’t think there are answers to anything, we can’t read the future, and who’s to say the next healthcare is going to be them, just because they were the one to set the wheels in motion, it will probably be me! Lol

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Much applause to you and your hubby for not allowing his heart disease to define you...and I know from experience it is easier said than done. I’ve lost my blissful ignorance twice; once to cancer, and most recently to a mild heart attack 4 weeks ago. During cancer treatment my wife and I went to Europe. People thought I was nuts, and I had to go slow at times. Today my wife and I are getting ready for another trip. A little unnerving for me, but I only had one stent, am on meds and have been exercising regularly so I feel well physically. It’s a battle to overcome the fear of the next shoe dropping, but a battle well worth fighting. Keep it up.

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Hi Maddyred

Lovely to hear from you am so pleased to hear from partners. those of us with heart conditions live it directly whereas partners live it indirectly. Both equally stressful in their own way. When I was in hospital my partner just sat and watched me! I knew he was stressed so I got his mates to text him and get him to the pub which helped him I think. He is such a rock. Sadly I feel bad and guilty that I have let him down as I still am too much of a scaredy-cat to go on holiday. Not sure when/if I can ever go on holiday again and I know it’s something he really wants I hope I can as he is such a wonderful man. In the meantime you look after yourself because sometimes partners forget to take care of themselves whilst focusing on the person with a heart condition. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and enjoy Vegas. If you’ve never been before then no matter how big you think it is. It’s ten times bigger! Take care. Best wishes Zena

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Hi Maddyred,

I understand where you’re coming from, I was the same as your husband when I was diagnosed with Heart problems. I had gone from having an active lifestyle and operational job to being told I had a poorly heart and then my whole world being turned upside down, none of it made any sense and I didn’t get any answers as to why it happened.

I ignored it and didn’t talk to my husband about it unless I had to, I hadn’t accepted the diagnoses myself and thought if I just got on with it everything would be fine. Plus the guilt I felt was so overwhelming - I just kept thinking my husband didn’t sign up for this and hated the fact I was putting him though this.

When I ended up in hospital again I ended up just pouring out everything I’d been keeping in and he wished I’d spoken to him earlier - and of course said I had nothing to feel guilty about.

It took a while to get there but talking about it really helped in the end for both of us. As I suppose I didn’t really appreciate he was just an anxious and scared as I was.

Enjoy your holiday, have a brilliant time and take care xx

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Hi Maddyred! Can understand just how you feel. My husband had a heart attack 25 years ago aged 37 and an ICD fitted three years ago. We got on with things and he has been a 'fit and healthy heart patient.' Thank goodness. However, last week his ICD shocked him. Our world has been turned upside down. He can't work at the moment (he has a manual job), can't drive for six months and can't claim any benefits (he is self employed). Although we are so grateful he is here and money doesn't come into it, it all adds to the stress and unhappiness. He is depressed and I am tearful. We used to love our holidays and can't see us being able to go again. We just want to feel 'normal' again. Thank you for listening to me rant on. Chris. X

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It makes perfect sense . . . 21 August 2017 - the day my whole world fell apart! My husband too went from 100% good health to almost zilch in a matter of seconds. He suddenly collapsed in front of me with what I later found out was a Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm which I was told he would probably not survive and to inform his family. He did survive the emergency surgery but unfortunately suffered a Stroke during the operation, he also had kidney failure, a collapsed lung and Gangrene in all his toes. To cut a long story sort, he spent many months in hospital and was home for just two weeks before I found him unconscious in bed on Xmas Eve . He had now suffered a major seizure which has now left him with Epilepsy. He has now been home for just over a month and is doing ok but the toll has really been awful on me . I am now his Carer and have no life of my own anymore, being a full time Carer is the hardest job I have ever done. I can’t do any of the things I used to do - there just isn’t enough hours in the day. I feel that I don’t have a life anymore. It’s tragic for my husband but it also has an awful effect on the rest of our family to. Holidays are out of the question at the present time so we have nothing to look forward to. And, as you say you just live from day to day not knowing what tomorrow will bring and to cap it all I also have had and still do have heart problems.

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What a wonderful lady - stay strong.

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