December 29, 2007 10:54 AM Subscribe
Experience with Pump-Head Syndrome?
My uncle had triple bypass surgery about 2 years ago. He was on the pump for over six hours. In the year following his surgery, he lost both his mother and father-in-law. Also, he and my aunt retired and moved to a new home in a different state.
He has never been an emotional person - dry sense of humor, voluble and upbeat for the most part, but very guarded emotionally. Now, he cries alot and, to both mine and my aunt's dismay, he's become very morbid. He talks often about his own imminent death as if it's a foregone conclusion. Just this past week during our Christmas visit, he pulled me aside on two occasions and asked me, in grave tones, if I would accept the responsibility of being the "keeper of the family history after [he's] gone", and made me promise to be like a daughter to my aunt "during the twenty or so years she'll be around after [his] death."
His cardiologist has attributed this change in his temperament to "Pump-Head Syndrome". My uncle rejects this diagnosis out of hand; of course, this is part of the syndrome, according to the docs. Do any MeFites have experience with this? Did yours or someone you love's personality change this notably post bypass surgery? Has the change been permanent?
I would expect that many of the huge upheavals they've experienced over the past couple of years would stress anyone, particularly a heart patient. I'm curious what coping strategies you may have used - my aunt and uncle eschew talk therapy, plus my aunt believes the stress of that would be even worse for his health. Any advice or shared experiences are welcome. Thanks.