At first, I was alarmed when I'd hear him (he sleeps on the sofa). His 47 year old son passed last year suddenly and I felt he was grieving in his sleep, but now I'm having second thoughts and don't know what to do.

I also feel that he is depressed, but when I ask him, he vehemently denies this. He will not talk to a physician about depression.

He is practically immobile, as he is hesitant to have his replaced knee replaced again. He has congestive heart failure, has a defibrillator and must take diuretics.

Since we were married for 20+ years and are divorced, (we still see each other all the time), would his docs speak with me? I have been to several doctors' appointments with him, so they know me.

I am very concerned here.

There is nothing to stop you reporting your concerns to your husband's doctors, and since they have met you they will take them seriously no doubt; but without your husband's permission they can't talk to you. Doesn't matter - tell them anyway.

It's not the sort of thing I'd normally go in for, but have you tried recording your husband's night-time disturbances and playing them back to him next day? It might bring home to him how big this problem is getting.
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Reply to Countrymouse

One of the early symptoms of Parkinson's Disease is active dreams. Manifested in my husband long before he was diagnosed. He would lash out, rant , rave, scream bloody murder! Still does, but we haven't shared a bed or bedroom in over 6 years, too risky for me. Now I can't even have my grandkids for a sleepover because it would scared the heck out of them and I don't want them to remember their grandfather in that way. Waking hours, he is very placid, subdued. Don't know what triggers the dreams, but it is stressful. Just put him on a new medication, a patch, that is supposed to extend the effects of his primary meds. Fingers crossed it will help with the night terrors and dreams. Best of luck to you and of course prayers!
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Reply to crzyhorseldy

I don't think his doctor's would talk to you. It would be violating confidentiality laws. Even if they know you.

Grief changes the brain and I wouldn't be surprised if your ex-husband was experiencing depression as a result of the death of his son but if he doesn't want to talk to his doctor about it and if he doesn't want to get up and be more active there's nothing you can do. You can't force someone to do something they don't want to do. Although his immobility will bring him down. A body isn't meant to sit still all day. This will exacerbate his medical issues.
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Reply to Eyerishlass

Like said, these sound like Night Terrors and there is medication to help. I used to wake my Mom up, have her open her eyes and go back to sleep. I did this because, for me, if I wake up and don't open my eyes I can go back into the dream I was having. By having Mom open her eyes she was OK the rest of the night.

Night terrors come with Dementia. With heart failure he may not getting enough oxygen to his brain. Sleeping on the couch may not be a good thing either, unless a sofa bed.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Are you listed in his medical files as one that they can contact? HIPAA is very strict in what information can and can not be released. But there is no restriction on what YOU can tell his doctors. But if you are listed on the HIPAA form they might be able to tell you more.
If you are not listed you could ask your EX if you can be.
You could call or send a note to the doctor. Many doctors have a secure patient portal that you could use for this. Explain what you have witnessed. If your ex does not say that he is depressed there might not be much the doctors can do other than looking of other indicators and talking to him.
Many people see "depression" as a weakness. Many people also do not want to "share" and talk about problems I think men in particular have a problem with opening up.
I do hope you can get through to his doctors about your concerns.
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Reply to Grandma1954

First, you are a very kind ex-wife. You are proof once again that not all exes have to be nasty to each other. Your ex-husband is VERY to have you in his life.

RE his issues, I agree with others that you should report to his docs or family members what you witness, but be aware that they do not have to tell you about him because you are not his PoA for healthcare. Do not be offended. The law prevents them from talking to you.

I also agree that he should be evaluated for neurological issues. My husband who has dementia talks and moves his hands and arms in his sleep, but that does not mean your ex has dementia. The doc can determine that with tests. It could be his other meds are causing this strange behaviors in his sleep, so ask the doc too.
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Reply to Worriedspouse

Stress, sleep deprivation, sleep-disordered breathing all can cause night terrors.

Your ex has CHF, which likely means his breathing during sleep is disordered. He may benefit from using a CPAP machine. The keyword there is *using*. Too many CPAPs are prescribed and never used.

Sleeping on a sofa is usually not ideal for anyone. Look into getting him a futon or daybed.

Your ex's son died suddenly. Such stress is inconceivable to anyone whose been fortunate to have it not happen. Your ex may not be adapting to the death of his son, and he may be experiencing complicated grief.

The Center for Complicated Grief defines complicated grief:
"Complicated grief is a persistent form of intense grief in which maladaptive thoughts and dysfunctional behaviors are present along with continued yearning, longing and sadness and/or preoccupation with thoughts and memories of the person who died. Grief continues to dominate life and the future seems bleak and empty. Irrational thoughts that the deceased person might reappear are common and the bereaved person feels lost and alone."

There is complicated grief counseling specifically for the elderly. It's usually weekly sessions for 3-4 months. In my opinion, a regular physician does not have the tools to help your ex with complicated grief.

If your ex is a religious or spiritual man, perhaps having a pastor (or someone whom he respects) visit him at home in order to discuss counseling will help him take the first step toward seeking help for himself. Your ex must want help and participate in order for anything to be effective.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

Maybe yes and maybe no, knowing you and the situation even if they can't divulge any information to you they can listen to you "talk to them" and you have some reasonable concerns they should know about. I might suggest starting with a different objective though with your ex before pushing him too much on the depression (he would be odd if he weren't somewhat depressed). Does he have a POA/DPOA? It occurs to me that might have been his son and it sounds like it could be important to appoint another one if he hasn't already. No idea if you want to take this on but once someone has that designation his doctors can speak openly with that person or people. The other option is him giving his consent to each doctor to speak with you about any of his medical stuff but having something in writing with a designee is going to be helpful in the future even if he verbally gives consent. Then the treatment stuff can be addressed more openly since if he is giving someone that legal authority he is asking them to be a part of his medical and financial life (can be just medical but again down the road...)

Then on the subject of his mental health, as it's been mentioned there are many things that can be affecting this, he has several possibilities going on but asking an adult especially of a certain age who hasn't openly dealt with depression in their lives, if they are "depressed" is likely to get just the response you got. Although it's better now admitting depression has long been considered a sign of weakness not a medical condition that can and should be treated. Grieving and depression get all tangled up in societal pressures especially for a male of his generation so it's not going to be easy to accept. Perhaps approaching it from the angle of grief will help, don't refer to being depressed refer to grieving, no parent should outlive their child and when you combine that with the inability to channel that grief into something physical, especially if he was a physically active person, makes it all that much harder. People really do "die of a broken heart" even if it's in pieces and not all at once. Does he have other children, grandchildren to focus on? The way we approach our LO's with these things really can make such a difference as well as being the hardest part to figure out because it's so individual to person and moment. You and I can easily say why did he go through the knee replacement if he isn't going to use the knee! But that doesn't mean he's ready to hear it that way. Even more importantly and again this involves doctors, using that knee is what's going to help prevent needing it replaced again, use it or loose it applies to many things as we age and that includes replacement parts. Of course not getting exercise, not being active only makes his CHF worse too and it all becomes a vicious cycle so you are so right to be concerned and want to find a way to interrupt the downward cycle it sounds like he's in just try being gentle, subtle even about it if you can first. I feel for both of you and he is VERY lucky to have you still involved in his life and caring for him.
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Reply to Lymie61
Vivian711 Mar 19, 2019
Lymie61, it seems that you know very well how my ex thinks and feels. (I hate to call him that). Yes, depression is a bad word to him, even though I suffer with it. On the other hand, he has seen what marvelous things can be done about it and he's seen me heal beautifully. However, it's me and not him.
I also feel that it all has stemmed from the loss of his son. There are no grandchildren and all that's left is his sister, who's a bit daft and his alcoholic daughter, who is better left out of the situation.
If you've read, I recently learned that both our Medial Powers of Attorney are still in force. Will this help me?
Vivid, strange dreams and nightmares can be a side-effect of some meds.  Aricept is an example, but that is given to slow the progression of Alzheimer's. Check side-effects of his meds list. And do tell his doctor.
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Reply to GrannieAnnie

Record him in his sleep. Turn the evidence over to the doctor with him there. They need to hear the truth. Then ask if your listed as an emergency contact/ individual who can be notified of your ex's condition. If not, ask to be put on as such with your ex's permission.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000
Vivian711 Mar 28, 2019
Your advice about recording him in his sleep is spot on. I began my recording last night. Thanks to you, I will be armed with these audio recordings, as well as the Medical POA when I talk to the doctors.
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