My husband is almost 79, and he’s been in the hospital three times this year with congestive heart failure. He’s lucid and doesn’t have memory issues (he’s been screened for those and passed). But his attitude has been a problem for the past four years since he had a quadruple bypass in 2015.

He’s supposed to walk as much as he can. He has peripheral artery disease to and has had vascular surgery in his lower legs. He has a walker and he loathes it. I buy him “handsome” canes and he doesn’t use them. So he falls and I can’t lift him. Now he is about to be discharged from rehab and he says he’s going to make all these lifestyle changes but I have heard that before. He doesn’t seem to want to push through the actual work of turning things around. Before he left for the last hospital stay he sat around the house silently with his head bent down to his chest all the time. Once or twice I thought he was dead! He rarely bothered lifting his head. He wouldn’t go in the living room because he said it was too cold, but I’m always hot and it’s summer! I can’t remove my skin. He seemed to be withdrawing from life. I don’t remember the last time we slept together. He was sleeping upright in a living room chair (after I turned off the A/C, and the PT just told him she wants him sleeping in a bed with his legs above his heart, which he tried in the past but stopped because “it hurts.”

He really doesn’t listen to me when he’s home and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. We will have home care and in-home PT until he’s deemed ready for outpatient PT. I want to help him but my heart is so low right now.

I realize that lots of you are in tougher situations than this but this is starting to feel overwhelming.

I couple of months ago I booked a first class trip for us to Hawaii for October (we honeymooned there in 1988, and the first class bit is for ease of mobility and comfort rather than luxury - it’s a LONG flight from NJ to Maui, even though we are overnighting in San Francisco - and yes, I bought travel insurance.) I don’t want to cancel it just yet. I don’t know whether he sees that as a goal or just more pressure. He’s not very communicative.

Well, I’m babbling. Happy Independence Day to those who are celebrating and “thank you” to everyone.

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Update: Ray seems to be improving, albeit slowly. We cancelled the Hawaii trip. We can always go somewhere else that’s closer at a better time for Ray.
I did find another elder law attorney. I have to wait until til August to see her, but from all I can tell, she seems to be a peach, and her office definitely does help clients with Medicaid planning.
I had my steroid SI joint injection on Tuesday and so far have good pain relief from it. Hallelujah!
That’s all, folks. I hope you are all well.
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Dizzy, have you checked out any energy supplements? Human consumable hydrogen peroxide can increase energy, I use a product called cell food and it helps my body absorb more oxygen, which gives me more energy, it also has trace minerals that are good.

I would get some liquid b12 and give him some every morning.

Heart issues just mess with our entire system and cause depression. I think that finding natural resources to help build our bodies back up can help recovery. Like good protein helps us heal faster and as we age we need more protein to maintain our strength.

If the beautiful Brazilian housekeeper perks him up, tell him that he can sit on the beach and bikini watch if he will make the effort. Tell him you will give him a free pass for the trip and he can even drool if he wants at all the T&A.

I hope you find something that gets him moving.

Do you have a friend that can go to Hawaii with you if he chooses not to engage? You should go with or without him.
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DizzyBritches Jul 2019
Hi, itsreallyreal. My husband was taking B12, but when he was discharged they wanted to start from scratch with his meds, so they stopped the OTC stuff except for things like Mylanta as needed. Ive never heard of consumable hydrogen peroxide or Cell Food. The housekeeper takes a supplement called Sunny Mood. I take antidepressants so when I see the doctor tomorrow I’ll ask him.

I love Hawaii, but I wouldn’t feel right leaving him behind. I can’t say I haven’t thought about it though.

I try to get Ray to eat protein. He loves eggs and dairy, and he likes meat too.

Lol, the housekeeper is gorgeous, but she’s a married gal who is quite religious. Still, it doesn’t hurt Ray to be surrounded by beautiful, attentive women!

I need to go to bed. The heat wave has made me sleepy. Goodnight and thank you.
I know exactly how you feel. I am in a similar situation with my husband. He has a neuropathy and can't move his legs. Also a mild Parkinsons' and dementia. He sits all day and just stares at the TV. It hurts me to see this. I too, planned a trip to Las Vegas and did get insurance. Don't know if we'll make it. See, you are not alone. So sad. But we must carry on and do our best. I find solace in my cross stitching and other crafts. I do go out to stores and shopping. You must find something to do that pleases you. My husband is in a wheelchair and can barely take a few steps, I dress and bathe him with great difficulty. He wets the bed every night and lives in Depends  (which really does not work well overnight. )  I thought of Homecare for a couple of hours in the morning but many of these agencies require a minimum of 4 hours a day and that's expensive. So I carry on and you must too. Good Luck.   (happy2stitch)
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DizzyBritches Jul 2019
Thank you, Happy, for offering your experience; we definitely have things in common. At one time, I did do some crafting (just some decoupage/stamping/papercraft, nothing very ambitious, but requiring a bit of concentration) and it did help get me “out of my head.” I still have a ton of supplies I can dig out of the storage room. There’s an AC Moore near me. That store is awesome.
Home care is expensive everywhere, I guess. My mom paid an aide off the books to come in a couple of days a week after her insurance ran out. But they had a close relationship. And my mom was lucid and able to care for her personal needs for the most part.
Ray doesn’t need my help with most things these days - just moisturizing his legs and feet and wrapping his legs and feet in Ace bandages every day to stop blood from pooling in his feet. And he needs someone to be with him when he walks or does anything “risky.” He likes the aide and she is good with him, gets him out of the house, unless it’s too hot, and joshes with him. But we won’t be able to afford her for more than a few more weeks.
Thank you again. I have a psych appointment tomorrow, and I’ll talk to the doctor about my mood. I’m sick of watching TV and Twitter.
Thanks all. I don’t know whether I should start a new thread or continue this one.
Ray was discharged from rehab two days ago. He’s lucid but low-energy. The nurse who came by yesterday said his lungs were clear. The private pay aide came 30 minutes early and stayed 45 minutes late because she didn’t have a ride. She must have answered 10 personal phone calls. While she did take my husband out for 15 minutes she pretty much sat around and talked about her family. I had no idea what to tell her to do except to practice with Ray using the tub transfer bench, which she did. I doubt she knows that I have lower back abnormalities from a car crash and I’ve have pain from standing and bending. But they are sending another aide tomorrow and hopefully she’ll be more proactive.

What’s seemed to work best with Ray? Today we had our gorgeous Brazilian cleaning lady here, and Ray perked up right away! She really is a lovely person. I’m thinking she might be better than the aide! I can help Ray shower (I did it today) and help him dress (he doesn’t seem to need too much help - he just goes slowly) and put the Aquaphor on his legs and feet.
What I can’t do is give him energy. I bought a bunch of fresh food to cook for him so he’s not all salted out. I feel as if I don’t know what I’m doing but I suppose I’ll learn. He told me he wanted Cheerios, blueberries and yogurt for breakfast tomorrow. I told him he knows where everything is and he said “okay.” I don’t know whether I should help him but I’m afraid of his becoming a bona fide invalid. I have no guidelines here. I have a psych appointment on 7/22. Ray has a raft of doctor’s appointments in July. Haven’t set up a psych evaluation. He’s totally lucid.
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anonymous933878 Jul 2019
Let him do things for himself.  If he is as lucid as you say, let him help himself/
A sincerely thank you to everyone who answered.

Alva, I agree that my husband is likely depressed though he will deny it, but I don’t think he wants to die just yet. At least I hope not. He’s been improving at the rehab and has me wheel him outside on nice days before he has PT and he has started doing more group activities (like movies) there. I do see a counselor for med maintenance and I am not exactly sure what I need to accept until it happens. But when the time comes I will see someone if I think it will help.

Sofia, I never thought about looking into antidepressants for my husband! There can be no harm in asking. I don’t know his cardiologist, but his PCP is first-rate. One thing he has is good doctors. I will go with him, so he doesn’t BS them about how “great” he’s doing. (He does that.) He’s on an array of drugs for his heart and lungs, but there might be something that might help.

97yroldmom, a space heater is a great idea! That way we can each have a bit of comfort. Ray is having physical therapy in our apartment for a while (I’m not sure how long, but I have already touched base with a PT that will come get him and bring him back). Yes, he has to get used to the walker. He belongs to a fraternal organization and some of his friends have canes. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone with a walker. His less-close friends will rag him about the walker but to hell with them.

I will get my ducks in a row to be ready to cancel the trip if/when I need to. Maui was where we honeymooned and we’d never gone back. A few months ago, it seemed to make sense to book a trip NOW. He says he wants to go, but I don’t know if he’s being completely honest. I’ve been dependent on him for so much that I think he doesn’t think of himself anymore. I guess I was indulging in some magical thinking - if we’re going to Hawaii, it means that Ray has to be fine in a few months.
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my mom had CHF. It is extremely tiring. Could your husband go to an outpatient cardiac rehab? Ask his cardio. Getting out would do him good.
My mom had therapy three times a week in her home. She would not have made it without. Plus she had a good walk to her restroom. She did not have a HA though so your husband’s condition is probably worse than hers. Although she wasn’t diagnosed until her 90s.
About being cold. Try to make adjusts for him so he can get out of his room. Dress him warmer, maybe a space heater near his chair.
I would be very worried about taking him on such a long trip. But getting in better shape for it could really help him feel better and give you a realistic assessment of how well he could handle it. I think he has to accept that walker to make any real progress.
Happy 4th to you as well!
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Depression is very common after cardiac surgery and it sounds like that is when your husband started to take a turn for the worse. Have you spoken to his MD or cardiologist about antidepressants? This might take the edge off enough to feel some motivation. Maybe you can find an online support group for CHF or cardiac patients ..... you know how great online support can be! Does he have any old friends or family who use walker or who have gone through similar experiences who can come to visit and provide some motivation? Just some thoughts.
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I feel that you could use a few counseling sessions to accept what now is for your husband his reality. It is very hard for those of us who are well to understand that people do, under certain circumstances, find life too difficult to want to go on. It sounds as though your husband is having severe depression. But there is honestly no way to tell someone going into the awfulness of heart failure that "life is good". Because quite honestly, a nurse who worked cardiac for 40 years plus, life isn't good with congestive heart failure. People often do wish to die and they are not free to say that to the loved ones who are caring for them because they feel too guilty to say it. But it is a fact. It hurts me that we cannot be honest with our loved ones when life is honestly just too hard to want to go on. I have known just a very few souls who were content to work on their computer, watch TV, listen to books on tape, and have that be enough. For my own part, with someone with Congestive Heart Failure, this whole Hawaii trip sounds to me like a nightmare. I would have said no at once. But the truth is, though I am healthy, 76, out in my garden, travel because I must to see my bro, my daughter, I no longer enjoy leaving the "safety and security " of my own home. I have seen this world, that portion I cared to see. I did that. I have it in my heart and can walk the streets of a hill town in Italy now in my head without having to make the trek up from the parking below. That's just me. I would ask you to stop pressuring him. To ask him honestly if he is feeling depressed, if he wants to give up and do palliative care only. Perhaps see a social worker who deals with people who are dealing with end of life issues. They are often better than psychologists in this area. It's hard to say Happy 4th to you, because this isn't a particularly happy one for you. So sorry for the suffering you are both going through. My life as a nurse has left me with zero fear of death, but a tremendous fear of end of life.
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