DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My grandfather is a pretty fit guy, but sadly he ended up with heart surgery after having a heart attack the beginning of this year. I was away at school while all this was happening, but my mom kept me in the loop.
Now that I’m home, I keep seeing things about how my grandfather acts that make me think either he’s losing it or the meds he takes for his heart are whacking him out. He does things like leaving important papers out where they can get seen or lost. He keeps falling asleep during the day, when before he would never sit down until after dinner. I see that when he tries to read the newspaper or a book, he just ends up staring off into space. And he is more nervous than I ever remember him being.
Whenever I say something about this to my mom, she makes like it’s nothing and I should just let it go.
I am worried about my grandfather and don’t know what to do about it. --- CONCERNED GRANDKID
DEAR CONCERNED GRANDKID: Both heart attacks and heart surgery are both physically and emotionally traumatic, life-altering events with a whole host of aftereffects. From what I’ve seen, mental health counseling and treatment are a common part of the post-operative care plan for cardiac patients.
Check to see if your grandfather is receiving psychological support services as part of his cardiac rehab program. If not, it’s certainly something to suggest. Sadly, with all the ripple effects of the pandemic on healthcare, it’s possible your grandfather hasn’t had ready access to some of what’s usually available to those facing what he’s been going through.