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rhiannonmb
@rhiannonmb

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 14, 2016

open heart surgery phobia

Posted by @rhiannonmb, Oct 14, 2016

hi my husband needs open heart surgery and will die if not done … how can we help him get over his phobias of being afraid. this will save his life and he acts like nothing is wrong. i need so much someone to help me through this . He is only 50 yrs old and stubborn and i understand so scared.. but i don.t understand why he will jeopardize his future from this fear…

REPLY

Hello @rhiannonmb and welcome to Mayo Connect. I can so relate to your husband’s fears and concerns about open-heart surgery. I’ve been having discussions with cardiologists about this as well. One suggestion that I would offer is that you get some support for yourself in this matter and Mayo Connect is a great place to start. As you just posted your concern a couple of hours ago, I’m sure that other Connect Members will chime in today and share with you some of their experiences as spouse’s or family members of people who need serious surgeries.

Also, if there is a chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA) in your area, please contact them. They also have an online support group (like this one at Mayo) and it is specifically geared towards heart problems/surgeries. I’ve learned a lot on that website regarding the recovery process, etc. When I called the AHA in the SE Michigan area, I was told that I could be put in contact with someone to talk with by phone if I needed further assurance or needed to have more questions answered. All this to say, you need to get a lot of resources on your side, you probably can’t do this alone.

As to your husband’s fears, would he be willing to get a second opinion? If he hears the same news from another doctor it might help him.

Have you contacted your husband’s primary care doctor or another person that he trusts? They might be able to talk to him in a way that would help him in this decision.

Also, remember that time is important. It takes us all a while to adjust to major life changes and being told that we are at a serious cross-roads in life and surgery is our only answer is a “difficult pill to swallow” if you will. My best wishes and prayers go with you both! Please keep in touch with Mayo Connect and feel free to keep sharing. We will “travel this road” with you.

Welcome @rhiannonmb.
Let me introduce you to a few members who can share their experiences to help you help your husband and yourself.

Please meet @lyndamm @jackj @crhp194 @thankful who have all had open heart surgery. I’m sure they will share the fears and concerns they had and maybe give you some insight how to support your husband. @cynaburst, too, has had major heart surgery at a young age. She also more recently supported her husband through a heart attack, surgery and rehab, so she can share from 2 perspectives.

You might find this discussion between @callalily74 @jackj useful too: “husband’s open heart surgery” http://mayocl.in/2eb9MQt

Rhiann, I think to help your husband, the first thing is to meet him where he is (fear) and not where you want him to be (doing the operation). I can understand your urgency, but he may need more time to process and he shows this by denial. I don’t think this means it’s not on his mind. His denial must be a hard thing for the two of you to get beyond. Does he talk about his fears or does he refuse to talk about it altogether?

Rhiannon, I can relate to you and your husband about fright. My own experience was so much less scary after the procedure. Whatever he imagines, it is not that bad. As for pain, the meds are so good that it was never an issue for me. Other after effects were again much less than I imagined. Perhaps someone he knows personally who has had the procedure can reassure him. I had both an large aneurysm repair and a total arch replacement and by one week, I was not in pain, just sore taken care of by Tylenol. At 4 weeks I started rehab with no discomfort whatsoever. In fact my husband had to remind me not to do certain things like lifting. I can only hope your husband can find a friend who has had the procedure. It sounds much worse than it is. Please take care and if you have specific questions, I will try to answer them.

@colleenyoung

Welcome @rhiannonmb.
Let me introduce you to a few members who can share their experiences to help you help your husband and yourself.

Please meet @lyndamm @jackj @crhp194 @thankful who have all had open heart surgery. I’m sure they will share the fears and concerns they had and maybe give you some insight how to support your husband. @cynaburst, too, has had major heart surgery at a young age. She also more recently supported her husband through a heart attack, surgery and rehab, so she can share from 2 perspectives.

You might find this discussion between @callalily74 @jackj useful too: “husband’s open heart surgery” http://mayocl.in/2eb9MQt

Rhiann, I think to help your husband, the first thing is to meet him where he is (fear) and not where you want him to be (doing the operation). I can understand your urgency, but he may need more time to process and he shows this by denial. I don’t think this means it’s not on his mind. His denial must be a hard thing for the two of you to get beyond. Does he talk about his fears or does he refuse to talk about it altogether?

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Thank you so much for your love !!!

@rhiannonmb Thank you for your love & concern for your husband. Although I did not need open heart surgery, my Heart Attack was what is called the “Widow Maker”. I am so blessed to still be here in that I had a 100% blockage of my LAD and with no signs prior to that event, it would have been easy to disregard things, but the pain was incredibly bad. I had a stent placed in that artery which saved my life, but left me with an EF of 35%. I started rehab about 3 weeks later and feel really great now. Having the surgery is far better than putting things off and having a HA especially because of the damage that is done to your heart let alone the risk of death.
I know men don’t like to talk about our feelings & fears, but I want to encourage your husband to move forward with this. Having open heart surgery has become an everyday procedure. The doctors that do this work are wonderfully skilled and most understand that although they do these procedures regularly, most treat you like you are the only thing that matters. I just had a friend have to have triple bypass and he is doing great and is nearly done with rehab and was given the green light to start driving again a few weeks back.
I will keep your husband in my prayers and you to as well!
God Bless you both.
@thankful

Thank you so much for your love and prayers.. will keep you posted…

@rhiannonmb We look forward to hearing from you again!

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