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Getting someone to listen - Carers UK Forum

Getting someone to listen

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I'm having a bad day, so please excuse the rant.

My husband has multiple chronic illnesses but his heart is causing the most problems just now. After 9 hospital admissions in 12 months, two trips to Birmingham for surgery for stents and more outpatient visits than you can shake a stick at, he's deteriorating fast. He can't eat a meal, stagger to the loo, get dressed or sleep without a serious angina attack. He's having about 8 - 10 at least during each 24 hour period, day and night and getting through a gtn spray every two days. During his last admission, at the beginning of September, he was a bit depressed at being back in CCU again. The consultant promptly discharged him with the diagnosis of "anxiety" and within 24 hours we're back to the multiple angina attacks throughout the day. Telephone calls to the GP, cardiac rehab team, consultant are being dismissed and I'm sure it's because of that "anxiety" diagnosis. In the meantime, he's getting more depressed and refusing to go to the hospital again.

If there's nothing more they can do for him, wouldn't you think at least someone would say and perhaps try some medication to reduce the pain a bit? If you let an animal suffer like this, you'd be in court for cruelty. It doesn't seem right.

How do you get someone to listen to you once you've had that "anxiety" statement written in your notes?
Is your husband having treatment for the depression/"anxiety"? I do not think that a degree of depression and/or anxiety are either surprising or unusual in someone with the conditions which your husband has and the restrictions which these conditions impose on your husband's daily life, in fact I think that they are a perfectly normal response. Only you and your husband would know if they appear to be accurate diagnoses and if you think that this is the case he needs to be properly assessed and the condition(s) treated but they should not be used as an excuse for excluding him from treatment for the conditions which give rise to the anxiety and/or depression and without proper diagnosis to either exclude or treat the anxiety it is all too easy for clinicians to attribute angina attacks to anxiety attacks and deny appropriate treatment.

And I do think that when someone is so unwell it is a matter of trying to ensure the best possible quality of life within the physical constraints and that dealing with any psychological impact is a very important aspect of this, for example, my father became very depressed when his heart suddenly stopped functioning properly and having been extremely fit and able he found himself struggling to do things which he had previously done with ease, trying to alleviate the depression was an important aspect of trying to improve his quality of life during the short time which he had left.
Can you get either the GP or Consultant to refer your husband to the palliative care team for your area?

Your husband may have anxiety, sounds normal to me given his condition. Most doctors are quick to dismiss someone who is suffering from anxiety, especially once they've exhausted all medical treatments appropriate for the condition. What they should be doing is referring the patient for palliative care. The palliative care nurses understand anxiety better than anyone else on the medical team. AND - they understand when there is something more than anxiety that needs attention.
Ok, lets buy this "anxiety" diagnosis for a second here. They say that all anxiety issues have an underlying cause, what's the doctor doing to try to loccate and deal with it?

Remember that you are entitled to a second opinion as well - don't be afraid to excersise that right no matter how absurd the things you have noticed might seem. You are his carer and no one knows him better than you. I'd advise that you jot down each angina attack he has in a book - date of attack, time of attack, attack duration and number of sprays needed to get it under control... then take it with him when you next go see someone about his angina.

And, as frustrating as it is, keep on at them like the old "stuck record" every chance you get.

I had to do this to get my caree's limb shortened (it was 2 and a half inches too long) and they wouldn't listen to him. Prior to this I wasn't actually allowed in the treatment room with him because of making the other amputees uncomfortable but since then, they've opened the children's room for us each time we've been to that centre

*Edited cos I need a new dictionary Image *
This must be so frustrating for you. Next time you go to the hospital, let the consultant know very clearly that you think it is angina and if he doesn't try to treat this problem and something should happen to your hubby and a report finds angina to have been the problem, then you will have a veryy strong case for medical negligence. See if that gets him moving.
I know you shouldn't have to threaten such radical action but sometimes these professionals need a rocket up their bum
Just to update those who posted on this last month, my husband died last week. After a post mortem on Tuesday, the pathologist confirmed the cause of death as left ventricular failure - all consistent with the symptoms over the last two months. Thanks to all for the words of support.
Can I offer my deepest sympathy on your loss? We will still be here for you anytime you need us.
Liz, I cannot begin to imagine. So sorry for your loss. You were right to fight and you did everything you could. You are a great wife and your hubby had your support until the end. xx
LizK, there are no words which can express what you must be feeling, but please know you are in our thoughts, and we will all be here if you need us.
I am so sorry. As Excalibur and Paulingreece said, we're still here when you need us.