Posted by: lizard | 2009/08/07

atrial fibrillation

My husband is 78 years of age. This year he started going downhill steadily. He had a bad fall in Feb and tore ligaments, then he had a bad reaction to anti-inflammatories with very bad diarrhoea, then recently he had flu followed by bronchitis. He recovered from the bronchitis but he now seems to have dementia. I took him to doc but he refused to get out of car. He is a very difficult man. Doc prescribed Risperdal which has made him more manageable. I took him back to doc and she did lots ot blood tests that came back normal but she also did an ECG which showed that his heart is in very bad shape. She said it is pointless sending him to a cardiologist which will only upset him. She said he is going to suffer cardiac arrest and that' s it. I don' t want to put him in frail care and am looking after him at home myself. I can cope fine apart from what I call his " ugly talk"  when he says I am sleeping with other men and other ridiculous things. I am caring for him night and day, washing him, dressing him, preparing his meals, helping him at the toilet, etc. All I really want is a time frame. I can do all this to the very end if I only knew for how long it is going to be. Sometimes I wish that I could bring on the cardiac arrest and end it all as he is not happy and his quality of life is nil.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Shame, he has indeed had an awful year. I actually know what i's like. I wonder if you might find a shrink you might agree to do a home visit under these circumstances. Ot whether your husband might agree to go and see a shrink, if he felt the main reason was so he could advise the shrink about some problem you had, or which he had with you ? Risperdal can indeed help greatly, though there MAY be a small increased risk of heart attack or stroke, the improvement is generally worth the risk. There can be many causes of dementia or something very like it. Some are mainly physical, and for instance if there is heart failure not under control, reduced oxygen supply to the brain can make one very confused. And something like that if only happening ocasionally, can cause such Ugly Periods, which could be helped by managing the heart failure.
I understand, from personal experience, the despair you can feel, especially as the time-line is unpredictable. He copuld die tomorow or in 2 or 3 years time. Don't you deserve to get someone to help you care for him, and to give you some of the support you need ?

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