LVAD recipient and Depression

Posted by bsparkee47 @bsparkee47, Oct 1, 2019

My partner had LVAD surgery in May of this year. He has been active and his health has improved, but he has been questioning whether this surgery was a good decision. He's very good at hiding his emotions and is very proud and would never seek counseling. I need to know how a caregiver can support and encourage him. Is this common after this surgery?

Hi @bsparkee47 I'd like to say welcome to Mayo Connect and while I am sad to read of your partner's recent surgery I am glad you found Connect.

While I am not particularly knowledgeable about LVAD surgery, I know when my dad had heart surgery and then my wife's surgery during her war with brain cancer, they both often questioned their decision. This continued with other decisions in their healthcare journeys, too.

In both their cases while fighting significant and chronic health battles they often had times of questioning their decisions, hiding their emotions, and just how scared they truly were. Sometimes my wife covered hers with bluster, sometimes with anger, sometimes with silence. The silence was always the toughest for me, as her caregiver to manage. I don't know that I ever came up with a workable solution, but what I would do is over communicate at those times. Not prying about her feelings, condition, etc., but about everything and anything! I viewed it the same as I was taught in crisis management classes while in the corporate sector. "In the worst times, over communicate!" Many times while talking about other things she would all of a sudden share her feelings and what was bothering her most at that time. Just some trigger, memory, or just feeling safe and comfortable enough to bring it up. I know, too, in my wife's case it took a long time before many of her concerns and fears were verbalized to me. She once said to me "Scott, when I am busy contemplating my mortality, I'm usually not in the mood to shoot the sh*t with you."

We caregivers need magic wands for these times!

As I frequently say 'caregiving is the toughest job I never applied for.'

Any chance your partner's physician might be able to suggest counseling?

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Thank you for the suggestions.. it is hard being a caregiver and dealing with the feelings of helplessness on my part as to what I should do for him, I’ll give this a try and I’ll try to talk to his doctor at the next follow up appointment

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@bsparkee47

Thank you for the suggestions.. it is hard being a caregiver and dealing with the feelings of helplessness on my part as to what I should do for him, I’ll give this a try and I’ll try to talk to his doctor at the next follow up appointment

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Hi @bsparkee47. I was wondering how your husband is doing. Have you had a chance to talk with his doctor? How are you doing?

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I'm doing fine, I have been talking with him about things and he does open up once in a while and will share his thoughts. He has a doctor appointment in November so I hope to talk with his Dr then. He seems better some days and then he gets depressed again. I take it one day at a time and try to keep him involved with "projects" that we work on together. That seems to help, but he gets frustrated having to be hooked up to batteries and to deal with the bag getting in the way. I try to point out that it's just a new way of life and that he's still the same man I fell in love with. I appreciate you checking in on us. Thank you for reaching out.

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