Spouse of Young Survivor

Spouse of Young Survivor

On August 1, 2014...My wife was just 36yrs old at the time of her Sudden Cardiac Death. Just five weeks earlier we welcomed home our third child. I was out of town for a new job and I encouraged her to load the kids up and head to her parents for help with the kids while I was away. She made it to her parents and that night at 1AM she suffered a cardiac death. Luckily she was up talking with her mother late into the night and there was a witness to the event. CPR was started and once EMS arrived they continued with CPR. She was shocked several times and finally a faint rhythm was found. Once in the hospital she fell into a coma and was on a ventilator. On the third day we decided to begin to ween her off the ventilator. As she began to get stronger and breath on her own, we decided to remove the propofol drip in hopes she'd regain consciousness. Propofol is quickly removed from the body so we expected signs of consciousness within about ten minutes. Three of the longest hours of my life later, she began to slowly come out of her coma. In the next few days she had a one wife ICD implanted and we headed off to rehab to learn how to walk, eat, etc., as it was obvious she sustained anoxic brain injury. Therapy went really well and she returned home two months later with a long road of recovery.

During the next few months she received several defibrillations.

On January 6th 2015, she went into V-Tach storm and received 53 defibrillations in a 3hr period. After this episode, we were medical transported to Duke. On arrival to Duke and during her initial evaluation there...she suffered 2 more shocks. She underwent electrical heart mapping and several ablations. During recovery her femoral artery ruptured, but was caught quickly and handled with no further issues.

To date, she has received 76 defibrillations. She exhausted her first ICD's battery during the v-tach storm and subsequently Duke installed a 2 wire ICD as she had a few episodes of A-Fib. Her latest shock occurred on 11/26/17.

Meds are increased each time she's shocked, to control PVC's...where everything starts from I her case.

I guess I'm just looking for support. It's hard to be a spouse and caregiver at the same time, and raise three young children at the same time. We have good days and great days...I'm very thankful and fortunate to have her still today.

chrisb's picture
chrisb wrote 13 weeks 1 day ago

I too understand your

I too understand your difficulties. My wife also 36 went into cardiac arrest on 2/19/18 and my whole world is still in turmoil. Fortunately she is recovering very well, I was present during her event and was able to intervene very early. However my struggle is the depression she is facing, in truth I am also facing.

She will not talk about it but I think she is facing her mortality and fears another similar event. I too fear this and have anxiety about leaving her alone. I need to work to care for her and our kids and have returned to work but find my attention on her and not work. I work in a hospital as a registered nurse and worry my inability to focus may result in the harm of a patient. I'm also unsure how I will respond when the next patient comes to the ER coding.

I'm hopeful that time will allow us both the heal, but in the meantime its difficult to manage. Sounds like if your wife's mother had not been present you would be a single dad. I suspect your mother in law is also struggling with your same pain. Not sure how close you are with your mother in law but perhaps you two can draw strength from one another. My heart goes out to you and your family.

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