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Caregiving With COPD: Husband Undergoes Triple Bypass

It’s been hard seeing my husband trying to do things around the house, and errands. Having COPD myself makes this especially tough.

I told him that I was going to the doctor with him. “That’s fine” he responded. “Can I talk?” I asked. His response, “Yes”. He looks sad, almost defeated.

My husband's need for triple bypass surgery

His appointment was with a C-PA (Certified – Physician’s Assistant). I must have had a different look on my face, she looked at me with questions in her eyes.

I said “Yes, he’s been short of breath. He says it feels like his heart is dying.” She responded with, “That’s what I’ve been waiting to hear.” Right away, the nurse did a blood draw, a tech did an EKG, and they took him to x-ray. "It didn’t look good", the C-PA said.

The traveling cardiologist was in our hospital that day. He reviewed my husband test results. He will have surgery to insert stents next Monday.

He was told no lifting over two lb. A gallon of milk is about five lb. No exertion and limited everything.

The following Monday, the cardiologist greeted us. It wasn’t long before they took my husband to surgery.

Navigating uncertainty

Soon after, the cardiologist came to talk with me. He said that the heart doesn’t look good. Stents won’t work, and he will have to have a triple bypass. When they do this, they will stop the heart, remove a vein from his leg and use that vein to replace the arteries.

The next time we went in, it was time for the triple bypass. The cardiologist said that surgery went well. The cardiovascular surgeon will be in soon. It was good that your husband got that done because his heart wasn’t good.

There was difficulty getting him off the intubation tube. My hubby couldn’t maintain oxygen. One of the nurses commented “You aren’t even flinching; most couldn’t watch this”. I wasn’t leaving his side, I knew that. I touched his hand and told him that I was there for him and how much I loved him.

My husband was always so strong and vibrant. My heart broke watching him. Thankfully, he was doing better. In the evening his youngest daughter and her husband came.

I was glad my husband was sleeping. I needed to rest. I was wondering if I should go home. We planned for that, since I hadn’t been feeling good.

My husband must have been less asleep than I thought. He must have sensed that I was wondering if I should go or stay. He said it was late and a long drive for me, so I should go. I told him that I had some of my meds, so I can stay. I said that I would come back the next day. He told me to stay home and take care of myself.

Responsibility in challenges

My daughter Brandi was my puppy sitter. She’s always so helpful. She left before the sun came up, to surprise them. I think I fell asleep about the time that she left. Thankfully I showered and nebbed as soon as I got home. Traveling always brings a need for nebbing, pills, sinus rinse and a shower.

I woke myself coughing, with a tight chest. I used my inhaler, the bathroom and went back to bed. My pups beat me there. I slept hard. My allergy eyes said no driving. It was too soon for a neb.

I called my hubby and he answered, sounding so miserable and in pain. He wanted me to stay home and take care of myself and my babies. The youngest claims my husband most of the time, the middle one claims us both, and the oldest with a bad heart is my baby.

COPD management while caring for a loved one

I’m attempting to do a thorough cleaning, it’s actually rewarding, I usually get little done because of back spasms. Time for a heating pad. In another hour, I can take meds, nebs and sleep.

Living with COPD while caring for my husband after his triple bypass surgery comes with its own unique set of problems. Managing COPD requires careful care for my own symptoms, which involves consistent medication and monitoring. Now, as a caregiver, I must juggle the added responsibilities of post-operative care while also attending to my own health needs.

We face each day together with hope and drive, enjoying the times of comfort and encouragement in the middle of the unknowns.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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