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Hello my name is Ian

  • 1.  Hello my name is Ian

    Posted 07-14-2020 00:28

    Hello, my name is Ian. I am a sudden cardiac arrest survivor.  The Drs tell me it was brought  on by a Vado vagal response, which cause my BP to drop, causing VT and then TDP and then arrest. 5 minutes of chest compressions and a few good old shocks brought me back. I don't remember much of it, apparently I became combative and was given a rather healthy dose of Versed to chill me out. 

    They cathed me, found minimal blockage (said was normal for just about any 40 year old) and discharged me 3 days later. All the doctors wanted to come by and poke and prod me because I was an anomaly LOL.

    Life moved on very slow. I was diagnosed with PTSD and mild depression. In the month after my event I was hospitalized twice for what turned out to be severe (I call them savage) panic attacks, where I feel like I am reliving my death so to speak. And the sleep, oh how I miss actual natural non drug induced sleep.....

    So life is a daily struggle, and I wonder if it really does get better. My therapist says it will, and that I'm not crazy, but boy does it feel like I am sometimes. And throw in COVID and I'm like a quivering ball of nerves LOL.

    well, that's my introduction. 

    Oh and I enjoy yard work, building things, fixing stuff, and good movies.

    stay safe ya'll!


    Ian Stuart
    SCA Survivor

  • 2.  RE: Hello my name is Ian

    Posted 07-15-2020 08:19
    Hi Ian, welcome to the group.  Sounds like a pretty traumatic event you went through.  Glad you're seeing a therapist.  If he/she hasn't already suggested it, I would recommend looking into mindfulness training.  It can be very helpful with anxiety.  Good luck!

    Anne Birdsong
    Occupational Therapist

  • 3.  RE: Hello my name is Ian

    Posted 07-15-2020 09:31

    Sounds like you are having a bit of a tough time. My research indicates that approximately 12% of heart patients discharged from hospitals after experience "clinically significant" PTSD. Note that "clinically significant" is an important distinction indicating two things: (1) re-experiencing the event and(2) symptoms of avoidance or emotional numbing. (For a more complete discussion see my book "One Heart-Two Lives.").

    It typically appears within three months and lasts up to six months. Please be aware that the operative word is "typically." There are psychologically and anti-depressants ways to treat it.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Brent Zepke

    Brent Zepke
    Santa Barbara CA

  • 4.  RE: Hello my name is Ian

    Posted 07-15-2020 09:42
    Hello, Ian,

    Rest assured, your post-injury experiences are not uncommon and, indeed, it can get much much better than you can presently foresee. (Admittedly, COVID puts you in a more complicated situation than most of old-timers here.)

    My experiences date back to 2011, when within eight months I had two MIs, was coded twice, received seven stents, and had OHS for a valve repair and bypass. Since then, except for a brief pit stop in 2013 for a defibrillator, it's been smooth sailing. I've felt great, been fully active, and been graced with a new outlook on and appreciation for life that had eluded me before.

    Stay positive.

    Bob Levin
    Co-author (with Adele Levin) of I WILL KEEP YOU ALIVE

  • 5.  RE: Hello my name is Ian

    Posted 07-15-2020 11:13

    Welcome, Ian. Wow, you've been through a very difficult and frightening experience.

    I had a "widow maker" heart attack (100% blockage of my LAD artery) on May 22nd.  I underwent an emergency catheterization that day and had 3 stents placed in my LAD, then a second procedure 10 days later to place 2 more stents in my circumflex artery.  

    Physically, I am doing pretty well. Mentally is another story. Unfortunately, my mother died 29 days before my heart attack, so I was already dealing with some depression....and my attack made it worse.  For the first couple weeks, I would burst into tears several times a day.  My cardiologist changed my beta blocker from Metoprolol to Bystolic (apparently Metoprolol is know for having adverse effects on mood)....that helped some, but I definitely still feel like I am struggling. I've been trying to find a therapist, but it's more difficult right now due to Coronavirus.  That is what led me here, just looking for a place to interact with others who understand what I am going through....hoping it will help me, and perhaps I can help others in return. I hope it helps you as well.  

    For what it's worth....I went through a brutal period of anxiety/panic attacks in my late 20s, and met an MSW who taught me Biofeedback to deal with them, and it made all the difference for me.  Truly amazing how much it helped.  I haven't had any issues with anxiety since then (25 years ago), but I still use the techniques to help with my migraines and even to get rid of hiccups, lol....

    Tracy Rhodes
    Charleston SC

  • 6.  RE: Hello my name is Ian

    Posted 07-15-2020 14:03

    I've only had 1 panic attack in my life so far (and hopefully never more, ever, ever again) when I was in my 20's, so I can't give advice about that, but I've dealt with major depression for most of my life. In my late 40's I finally got a handle on that thanks to a lot of therapy and anti-depressants, and did fine for years - until my cardiac problems slammed me into reverse. For about a year after my diagnosis, I woke up depressed and anxious every morning. I know that a year sounds like a long time. It felt like it, but it's past. As I (oh, so) slowly adjust to my new life, the depression is easing up. I've had some tele-counseling that was helpful. The self-help measure that works best for me are getting out of the house and interacting with other people socially and where I do volunteer work. It's wonderful to get a break from worrying about myself and pay attention to other people and things. I've also been trying to identify at least one positive or humorous  thing, however tiny, every day to remind myself that there is good in my world if only I pay attention. Now that it's summer, those little things have ranged from blossoms in my flower beds to the antics of my pets to the plentiful fruits and vegetables of summertime.

    Hang in there!

    Jean McMillan