What Next

What Next

  • libbylaz4's picture
  • libbylaz4
  • 05/23/2012
  • Posts: 3

Thursday the 17th of May ( this is day 10) My husband suffered an SCA. It was 5am. He suffers from sleep apnea and I heard him making those noises. I thought he was dreaming. when I tried to wake him there was no response. I got my son who immediately started CPR and the ambulance arrived in 6 minutes and defibrillated 4 times. They spent 45 minutes on the floor of my bedroom making him stable. When we arrived at the hospital they put him in a coma. Thank God he woke up and he is very disoriented but things are coming back to him. I am not seeing anything that scares me at all. We are just so happy that he is alive. There seems to be no problem with his heart. His brain is fine. But he does suffer from severe sleep apnea. His diagnosis was hypoxia. The day before his SCA he was starting to feel unwell with a chest infection. I live in London. The hospital has been phenomenal. He will leave ICU on Monday if all continues to go well. The doctor is not going to give him an electronic defibrillator device. My concern is that the doctor said it could happen again. Ok anything can happen in life, but I can't lie. This experience has left me feeling so vulnerable and I am terrified. How will I ever sleep again. Ok it is just day 10 but I feel as if there are a million things to do and I do not know where to start. I am terrified. I am blessed and happy and thrilled that he is alive, I just don't know how to prevent this again. How will I ever know if he has hypoxia? How will I know if he gets in to trouble again. I know this is not about me, it is about him but I want to get everything right. Any suggestions?

You are not alone

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 124

We are happy to hear your husband is on the road to recovery. Please know you are not alone--you are part of a larger community now with a personal connection to sudden cardiac arrest. We invite members with similar experiences to reply to LibbyLaz4's post.

The shock wakes us all up!

  • Heart2Good's picture
  • Heart2Good
  • 05/06/2008
  • Posts: 13

Libbylaz4 I know how you feel.
My wife went down at a conference in Dallas, six weeks after our wedding day!
She is fine now, but does have an ICD, even though they can't say why she had a sudden cardiac arrest.
I still worry about her despite this happening over 10 years ago!

You may like to consider getting your own AED for the home so if it ever happens again you can restart his heart immediately. Get one just for the peace of mind that it is there?
Also learning how to perform CPR, like your son has, could help you feel able to cope with the shock of it happening again.

Jeremy Whitehead
Director of National Survivor Network
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

No ICD? Get another opinion...

  • Heart2Good's picture
  • Heart2Good
  • 05/06/2008
  • Posts: 13

LibbyLaz4,

I'm a Sudden Cardiac Arrest survivor like your husband. There is nothing wrong with my heart (that they can tell), but because it happened once, they say it will happen again, so they gave me an Implanted Defibrillator (ICD). To be honest, I still struggle with the concept of having this lump of titanium in my chest with a wire threaded through a vein which goes directly into my heart, even though I've had it for 10 years. However, I think deep down inside, I kind of feel "protected" that if my heart ever stops again, this device will save me. I fear that it will hurt, but I rationalize that a kick in the chest for a second or two is better than dying.

It's not clear in your post why the hospital did not send your husband home with an ICD,especially if they said "it could happen again." I would urge you to get a second opinion from a different electrophysiologist. Also. my husband's recommendation about purchasing an Automated External Defibrillator for home and learning CPR is sound advice. It reminds me of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

"Don't waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

All the best to you, your husband and family.
Carolyn Whitehead
SCA Survivor (2002)

Darling, I think I have some

  • pol61's picture
  • pol61
  • 11/01/2012
  • Posts: 1

Darling, I think I have some idea of what you're going through. My husband collapsed on our kitchen floor less than 2 months ago. I had to keep him alive with CPR while the ambulance came!

It turns out that he had Wolf Parkinson Whyte syndrome - he had surgery to correct it (ablation)

Long story short, he lived, he had surgery, I HOPE that nothing like that will ever happen again, we have 2 young sons that he could have left, one is 3, 1 is 4 months!!! Scary stuff, we"re lucky our men survived. I feel for you - but have no advice, other than time heals - and makes us forget.

All my love xxx

Alone

  • Greandoc's picture
  • Greandoc
  • 08/04/2011
  • Posts: 2

Libby
as the others have so passionately stated..there are many of us out here for support. I totally agree with the comment to look into an AED for the home.
The other comment I have is that you will have to be patient with your husband. I have had 2 incidents of SCA and survived both and now have an ICD which has fired 6x in 5 years (most for apparently no reason). However, my point is that your husband will also be very nervous now about a re-occurance. That is my biggest challenge-worry about another incident. Be patient with him as he wanders this path ok.
Steve

Thank you

  • libbylaz4's picture
  • libbylaz4
  • 05/23/2012
  • Posts: 3

I have not signed on for months. I have been on daily strength many times and it helps but I have joined the PE board. It seems the reason for the SCA was sub massive bi lateral pulmonary embolisms. I am so so happy to be back here with people that have been through SCA because there are far too few people that live to tell the story. So I will update you all. Its been a long and slow road to recovery. Its been full of peaks but mostly valleys. I have never been more exhausted even though I am not the patient! So many thoughts go through my mind. It seems that the people I care about most are strangers united by SCA and PE's and board like this one. Today reading the responses made me feel good for the first time today. Its not all bad, its just that I am tired. Tired mostly because I have not been able to sleep because I keep reaching over in my sleep to see if he is still alive and breathing! I know my anxiety will diminish with time. I am going to get a defibrillator for sure. Have not done it because have been focused on the fact he is on warfarin and that the blood clots to the lungs caused the SCA. But since he does not have an ICD I will get a defibrillator. I have been learning CPR. Back to my husband. His heart has not sustained any damage, his arteries are in great shape, all the blood clots have dissolved and most of the doctor appointments have been unremarkable. He has suffered memory loss and asks me some strange questions, like how do you spell John! I am fascinated by the brain and how there are little gaps in general knowledge. It could have been so so so much worse. Brain injury could have destroyed any chance of a good quality of life so he is so blessed to have mild issues to deal with. I thank God for that. I guess my biggest comment after all this time is that his recovery seems overshadowed by anxiety and almost a negative attitude which I find completely disappointing. I am giving him the benefit of doubt since he has been through this but it is frustrating. SCAs as you all know involve the entire family. He tried to go back to work in October he lasted 3 days. That was a very very difficult period of time because it was an excellent contract and he has not worked in a year. That has also not been easy because we have 4 children. But money is not important next to health. Selfishly I feel like I have aged so so much and that does not make me happy. I also feel as if life will never be carefree and happy like it used to be. He got another job and is due to start in 2 weeks. I am very nervous. I do not know how he will feel and if he will be ok. I have a tendency to want to baby him which I know is wrong. I also struggle with resentment toward friends and family because none of them seem to really appreciate or understand what going through this has been like so I feel disheartened. Anyway, I think I am just having a very bad day but naturally amd THRILLED that we have made it this far. It has just been an uphill battle. God bless all the survivors out there. You are part of our "family" and it is a huge comfort to read my messages. I thank you all and I hope all of you are feeling well and feeling happy to be alive! I am happy to email any of you or help anyone in in way possible. God bless you all.

Atrial Fibrillation

  • libbylaz4's picture
  • libbylaz4
  • 05/23/2012
  • Posts: 3

Forgot to add, after the SCA, the pulmonary embolisms and months later ( Oct/Nov) about the time he tried to go back to work the first time he has developed atrial fibrillation and this is a new challenge. He never had it before.Or he never felt he had it and he is due for a cardioversion in Jan at some point. He is amidarone and I hope it will get his heart back in sinus rhythm. This is a totally new issue we are dealing with and I cant believe I forgot to mention it before! I probably want to forget about it.

It's a long road

  • Red V Rover's picture
  • Red V Rover
  • 07/16/2012
  • Posts: 2

Hi Libbylaz4,

I suffered a cardiac arrest on 8th May 2012 in my office in Liverpool, England. It was a bad week for me and your husband that!

I was sat at my desk feeling no ill effects whatsoever - I felt fine and normal. I had a little "flutter" as my heart went into an arrythmic beat, but this has happened to me thousands of times before so I didn't think anything of it initially. Unfortunately, the flutter didn't stop after a couple of seconds and I felt dizzy and light-headed. I stood up to go to the loo (I was already bursting to go before this started) and felt very dizzy. The colour apparently drained from my face, and a collegue asked me if I was ok. My dizzyness got stronger and I started to lose peripheral vision. I said, "I think I'm in trouble", and then hit the floor.

Two of my work mates performed cardiac resuscitation on me until the ambulances and paramedics arrived, and after 45 minutes of CPR and 7 blasts with a difribrillator, I eventually came back to life. I recall everything that happened to me from the moment I hit the floor to the moment I woke up on a stretcher moaning like a banshee. I felt uncomfortable, but there was no pain.

I too suffer from sleep apnoea - have done for a good while. I was diagnosed about 5 years ago after becoming very ill with Atrial Fibrillation. I was given a respirator to wear at night (very attractive it is too) and this has helped me ever since. I recovered after being ill for about six months, but I had been back to my old self for a good four years until the cardiac arrest came, and it was completely out of the blue.

I have recovered pretty much completely, although I do get tired a bit easier than I used to. This may partly be down to the recovery and partly down to trying to haul my fat behind around (I am endeavouring to improve my fitness and get my weight down though). I was fitted with an ICD at the very well respected Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital and it a great comfort most of the time to know that it is there (sometimes though, I just want it out of me. It's a weird feeling).

My girlfrield went through a few sleepless nights when I returned to the house, just wondering if I was going to make it though the night, and I had many myself for the same reason. But now, nine months on, we often just forget I have this issue and we lead our lives normally most of the time.

I am very appreciative that this forum exists, and it's nice knowing the anxieties that you are suffering are felt by others as well. Obviously though, there doesn't appear to be many Brits on here, so if you or your husband want to chat at all from a British point of view using the NHS , you can email me at neil.pritchard4@btinternet,com. That of course goes for anyone on here

Good luck to you both

Thank you for sharing!

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 124

We are glad to know you are doing well. It is great to see that this forum is providing a source of support.

Hard time coping

  • spmiddle's picture
  • spmiddle
  • 08/14/2013
  • Posts: 1

In April 2013, my husband suffered SCA. I thought he had simply fainted. He began breathing on his own again and we got him to the ER where he experienced another SCA. He had pacemaker surgery a few hours later. While I know that he is fine now, I still flash back to the image of him lying on the living room floor, not breathing, looking calm and peaceful. Everytime that image comes to mind, I imagine that is how he will look in a coffin. Does anyone else have feelings similar to this? Any suggestions on getting over this fear? ( Like others, I find myself staring at him if he is napping to make sure he is breathing but am happy to say that that fear is lessening with time. )

Thank you for sharing

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 124

You are not alone. We have heard from other spouses of survivors who experience similar fears. We hope they will provide you with some helpful insights.

When Seconds Count -Timely Alerts is the key to survival

  • iheartalert's picture
  • iheartalert
  • 07/22/2013
  • Posts: 5

The biggest reason for the astonishingly low 8% of the victims surviving an SCA, could be that the victim just could not alert anyone, because it is like an instant death, so no button can be pressed, no yelling, screaming for help or calling 911. If only somebody could have been alerted to send help PRONTO, so many lives could be saved. Think of people alone who have an SCA event - travelers alone in hotel rooms, elderly parents alone at home .......
Unfortunately only when a celebrity dies in a hotel room it makes news.

A dear uncle of mine was found dead in the shower still holding his bar of soap, the door had to be broken down after we realized he had been in the bathroom too long. Made me wonder, why couldn't he have yelled ? That when I started to realize the implications and deadly results of an SCA event. Since then I have invented and developed the i-heartalert system. It is not a medical device, but it will automatically alert pre-listed contacts immediately and automatically, without any prompts - it will send alert SMS.
This device will close the critical time gap between an occurrence and help arriving.

Please check out this life saving device at www.i-mobilealerts.com

A very small price to pay for peace of mind that a loved one may be reached in case of an SCA.

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