It has been more than 6 months since my husband had a heart attack. The mental anguish both of us suffer has not gotten any easier. We have finally been able to give our mental anguish a name—Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We were not warned this could be an outcome.
Let me clarify. In the literature the hospital put in my husband’s fold and later in cardiac rehabilitation, they said he might become depressed that he had had a heart attack. That is not why either of us became depressed. He had prostate cancer in his early 50’s and that was really a hard one to accept but we did. The C word is an ugly one but we survived, made adjustments, and life went on.
Late last summer, he suffered a heart attack. He was healthy otherwise. He did not have high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure. In other words, he was a healthy man who had a heart attack. Even though I am not religious, I knew he would be okay. It was just a feeling I had that I cannot explain. I got him to the hospital as soon as I realized what was going on despite him saying it was nothing. For both of us, it was not the heart attack that has caused the PTSD but rather the medical community.
I want to share our story of what brought about for us both to suffer from PTSD. I have in other blogs, told some of our story. I will tell some of what my husband is feeling but I will deal mostly with my PTSD. I would have never thought that as a spouse of someone who was hospitalized, that I too would suffer from PTSD. Of course, I would have never thought about someone whom is a patient getting PTSD from hospitalization. It is not something the hospital makes you aware of even in all their CYA literature.
We knew that each of us was deeply affected by what had to him. In talking, we both realized it was not the heart attack in itself. Rather it was all the things that happened because of the heart attack. We came to realize that both of our PTSD was centered on the standard of care/treatment we each had endured during his hospital experience. We each suffered through different issues but some were overlapping. We knew we were suffering but was not able to identify what we were suffering from until I talked in length of MadManBanterings or Archie Banterings who is an expert on hospital related issues.
I described some of the thoughts and feelings we were suffering from and Archie said he thought it sounded like PTSD. He had links to articles on PTSD and I have done a lot more intensive research. After months of both of living with something we had no clue of having, what we have finally has a name. Just knowing has been a big relief for us.
In my next article, I will go through the definition of PTSD and how hospitalization can attribute to this disease. I will also from time to time blog on our thoughts in living with this disorder. c=d.hea