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DH nearly died and I'm a nervous wreck

(54 Posts)
Dressingdown1 Mon 15-Aug-16 14:12:19

Four weeks ago I found DH collapsed and unconscious. We were blue lighted in the early hours to a hospital with a specialist unit, where he had an emergency operation. 80% of people with his condition die without regaining consciousness.

He is now home and recovering well but I am totally traumatised. I simply can't stop remembering the horror of it all and if I don't know exactly where he is at any time, I go to pieces. I know this can't go on long term, but for the moment, I can hardly get through the day.

We have plenty of family support, but I feel that everyone thinks we should just be glad he's ok, and I should be getting back to normal. One or two friends have suggested going out for a coffee or on a shopping trip, but really I can't bear to leave him for long. He is still quite physically dependant on me, though improving all the time.

Am I reacting normally do you think? Do I need to get a grip ? If so, how???

YouAreMyRain Mon 15-Aug-16 14:14:05

You may have ptsd. No grip needed but a GP visit might be useful?

DollyBarton Mon 15-Aug-16 14:14:25

Counselling? You probably have PTSD after it all. Maybe time will give you some calm about it all but I think it might be worth looking into getting some counselling.

Sparklesilverglitter Mon 15-Aug-16 14:15:34

I think it is a normal reaction to having feared you was going to lose the man you love 💐

I think it will just take time to be your old self again.

Go for a coffee just for an hour with friends if he can physically cope alone, just to get yourself use to leaving him. Small steps

WilLiAmHerschel Mon 15-Aug-16 14:16:03

You have had a massive shock and people all react differently to things like this. Give yourself some time to get over it, it's only been a month and he isn't even fully recovered. Nobody who hasn't been through similar knows how they would react. I imagine I would be scared too. I'm really glad your dh is ok. Xx

CatsAreLikeChocolates Mon 15-Aug-16 14:16:56

Of course you don't need to get a grip! You've been through a traumatic experience, (it's often equally traumatic to be with a loved one when they go through something life and death, as it is for the poor sod who's actually going through it!). It doesn't really matter what other people think. They have no idea what it's like to be you. Take some time. Go easy on yourself. It might be worth speaking to your GP about things. Maybe there will be a counsellor that you could talk things through with?

RevoltingPeasant Mon 15-Aug-16 14:17:25

Ah OP poor you. You might try mindfulness/ meditation if you're that kind of person, but if not, and your GP is friendly, it can't hurt going to talk.

WilLiAmHerschel Mon 15-Aug-16 14:17:49

It could be PTSD but it's so soon after the event that personally I'd wait longer before seeing a gp. It is normal to need some time to recover after a big shock.

ineedamoreadultieradult Mon 15-Aug-16 14:17:55

Go and see your GP you are not the first person to feel like this they will know how to help.

Eatthecake Mon 15-Aug-16 14:19:52

I think it is a perfectly normal reaction to having feared the worst flowers

I was with my dad when he had a heart attack a few years ago and I remembered the horror of the whole thing for a while afterwards but I found as dad got better and I could see his health was improving I started to feel better and it time it has gone away.

Take small steps to start leaving him for 1/2 hour, an hour if he is able to take care of himself for that long. Once your life gets some normality back I think it will help you

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 15-Aug-16 14:20:06

Of course you don't need to get a grip!

When my mum was diagnosed with cancer I just happened to read a thread on intrusive thoughts on here. It struck a chord so I read up on them and it really helped me get things under control. Just being able to say to myself 'this is an intrusive thought, it's not necessarily true that DM is going to die, I am not going to torture myself with it, I am going to go and fold the washing' (or whatever) really helped. Then I went and did the other thing and tried to really concentrate on it.

I do hope that helps and that you are getting support irl. what about asking friends to come to you (bearing coffees of course), if going out is too much of a step?

toadgirl Mon 15-Aug-16 14:24:00


What an awful experience! You've just had the most massive shock, of course YANBU! It's everyone's worst nightmare that something like this would happen out of the blue to a loved one.

Four weeks later isn't enough time to have processed the event, especially as you are so busy with DH' aftercare.

Please be kind to yourself and see your GP as PPs have suggested. Also as a PP has suggested, start off by having short social breaks outside the home and build up from there.

It's common for people to report various friends and relatives putting a time limit on someone's grieving process. Don't worry about what they think - this has happened to you, not them.

Dressingdown1 Mon 15-Aug-16 14:24:31

So many quick and thoughtful replies, thank you all. I hadn't really considered talking to my GP, or meditation, I can see they could both be helpful.

Thank you for making me feel I'm not unusual, I was beginning to think that I'm a bit odd!

GiddyOnZackHunt Mon 15-Aug-16 14:24:34

If you found him collapsed then it's not surprising that you fear recreating that situation. Just take baby steps, being in the next room, being out of earshot, going down the garden etc.
Did he feel unwell before he collapsed? Is it likely to recur?
flowers because it must have been utterly awful.

JinkxMonsoon Mon 15-Aug-16 14:28:50

I wouldn't say PTSD, but a totally normal and understandable fear of the same thing happening again... or worse.

What's the prognosis of this condition? Can another collapse be prevented as long as he takes medication? Or is there a chance of it happening again?

youarenotkiddingme Mon 15-Aug-16 14:29:07

flowers that is tough.

You don't need a grip but you probably do need some counselling.

My Ds has had some scary medical episodes. I didn't sleep well for a long time afterwards and have only just stopped obsessing over the video monitor in past few months.

JohnLithgowsLargeForehead Mon 15-Aug-16 14:30:25

God I would be exactly the same. You are not overreacting... 80% is a very scary number. Just take it slowly and don't let anyone rush you.

shinynewusername Mon 15-Aug-16 14:32:12

By all means talk to your GP but most of all give yourself a break. You are only a few weeks on from one of the most stressful experiences anyone could have. You wouldn't be human not to still be feeling it, especially as your DH is still not well flowers

Mycatsabastard Mon 15-Aug-16 14:40:36

You don't need to get a grip or anything else right now.

I've been through similar, Dp had a terrible motorbike accident nearly 3 years ago and I nearly lost him. I was at the scene of the accident while they were working on him, he had massive internal bleeding, had to be moved to another hospital later for specialist surgery. We later found out that 60% of people who suffer that sort of trauma don't make it.

I found it really hard to leave dp once he was home. I had an awful lot of support, people who would get shopping in for us etc.

You need time to get over what you've experienced and to get used to the fact that you nearly lost him. It will take time but gradually you'll be able to cope with things. Ongoing health checks will help put your mind at ease.

Dressingdown1 Mon 15-Aug-16 14:41:55

We are waiting to see the consultant for a follow up after his discharge. As far as I know the long term prognosis is good, but I'm not sure how likely a recurrence is. The main worry at the moment is post operative problems, eg DVT etc. As we get further down the line, these will diminish of course.

We are both longing to get back to our normal lives, but it will be a while before he is fully fit. I feel that we are going to have to accept a new "normal" in future, mentally and physically.

My brain doesn't seem to work very well yet and I can't really figure out where we go from here. I just keep hoping that the mist will clear and I will be a fully functioning human being soon.

Dressingdown1 Mon 15-Aug-16 14:46:03

Mycats, what a terrible thing to happen, you must have taken a long time to recover from witnessing that. It's very helpful to hear about your experience.

stayathomegardener Mon 15-Aug-16 14:48:07

Similar situation to you, DD and I watched DH have an awful accident (he is fine now)
I went through the stage of not wanting to leave him and when I moved on to being able to go out I would have flashbacks to the event usually if driving or relaxing by myself.
I would see the whole event and have involuntary shivers.
DD was similar we dealt with it in different ways, I felt they were intrusive thoughts and acknowledged it before stopping the thought process. DD chose to repeat the word pineapples until the memory went. We didn't talk to anyone on a professional basis and came up with what worked ourselves
I do have to say it took DD a year and me possibly three before those random flashbacks stopped.
I think DH was frustrated eventually when we couldn't let it go but realistically he wasn't really there and just wanted to forget it and move on.

I hope your DH's recovery continues apace and you find a solution that works for your recovery.

YouOKHun Mon 15-Aug-16 14:53:02

What a tough situation OP. An 'acute stress reaction' is normal after a big shock. PTSD would only be diagnosed after (from memory) about 8-10 weeks if symptoms are not abating and the experience is not settling slightly in the mind, I.e you're still having nightmares and flashbacks among other emotional symptoms. However it would be worth recognising your (understandable) anxiety now and doing what you can to counteract it. So for example, graded exposure to not being with him (10 minutes going for a walk, then 20 mins, then an hour etc), talking about your concerns (not bottling it up), writing down your concerns and disputing them with your rational side - there are lots of ways of avoiding the avoidance which is the big behaviour that helps anxiety take hold. You could try reading 'Overcoming Anxiety' which is helpful It's early days though OP so above all be kind to yourself flowers and recognise that there's no 'should' to feeling better and managing.

pontificationcentral Mon 15-Aug-16 14:54:50

Dh got blown up 15 years ago and given a 20% chance of survival. I was just pg with dc2 at the time - dc1 was 16mos old. We are all still here (including dramatic dc3, whose entrance to the world did give me ptsd).

Take your time, it really does get easier, but do consider a trip to to gp in a few months or so if it is not getting easier. Life was pretty busy so I held it together with the kids and whatnot, but my ptsd crept up on me about six years later. I think as I hadn't dealt with it properly at the time it just got worse and worse.

Best wishes for dh too - he is probably feeling similarly wobbly! Mortality reminders do mess with your head xx

Bishybishybarnabee Mon 15-Aug-16 14:56:40

I had a very similar experience with my DP, truly terrifying. I was similar, didn't want to leave him alone, constantly asking him if he was ok, bad dreams etc. It did get better over time though, we're now a few years down the line and occasionally I have 'moments' that bring it all back, but it has improved infinitely. In the early days what I found really helped was a notebook, I'd just write down almost a stream of consciousness of all my worries etc. I never read it back and I threw it out a few months later but I just helped me to get my thoughts in some sort of order.
Be kind to yourself, you've both gone through a dreadful experience 💐

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