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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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My Beloved Husband passed the five weeks ago at age 50. I

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Hi my Beloved Husband passed the five weeks ago at age 50. I was asleep when I woke up and called him at 9:00 am, he came in the bedroom with short of breath and chest pain.
I called 911 and when he got to the hospital, the doctor found a lot of injuries which: 2 broken ribs, broken shoulder, and multiple fracture of the skill with brain aneurysm. He passed the way a few hours later. He had a lot of anxiety and in the morning he was not able to sleep, so he paced around the house till I woke up and make breakfast. Yesterday I had the results of the autopsy which says he fall down the banister of the foyer. The problem is also that on that banister there was a polo shirt hanging, that i saw on the floor when the paremedic people came. Since i yelled him a couple of times that week to live the staff in order around the house, I have the feelings that it's my fault that my husband died, because he probabily tried to fix that polo hanging on the banister after he tried to lean on it, and then probabily he tried to catch it. I feel that was all my fault!
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue. In your effort to try to make sense out of your husband's death and find a 'reason', you also try very hard to figure out if the death could have been prevented somehow. This of course, leads to the inevitable conclusion---even if it is not rational, that there MUST have been something we could have done to prevent the death of a loved one. We think about it and think about it until we come up with an 'answer'. It is both a burdensome sense of guilt we then have, but also a tinge of relief, because we want more than Anything to understand the cause or the reason for the death. Actually, we'd rather find a reason that involves blaming ourselves for a death, than to go without a explanation. Humans have a very, very strong need to understand things, be able to control and predict events etc. You don't really know how the accident occurred---because you are speculating----"...he PROBABLY tried to catch it". So you don't actually know because you weren't' there. But again, you'd secretly prefer to think you have an explanation and could have had control over the situation, even if it means accusing yourself of being negligent. Well, you probably weren't negligent, but your husband was more than likely just careless in some way and lost his balance perhaps. This was just a tragic accident. He might have had a sudden loss of blood pressure and got dizzy on the stairs--something that is called orthostatic hypotension---a very common issue among adults over age 40. This is when you have been standing or sitting and you get up or move suddenly, and you almost fall over from dizziness. It is caused by a sudden change in blood pressure, nothing more, nothing less; and quite uncontrollable. The point is that for every self-blaming cause you want to come up with as a speculation regarding why your husband died, there are 2-3 other natural explanations you have no control over, and couldn't have prevented. Actually, most people have accidents because they are careless and make a mistake. No one causes it.

What do you think?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you Dr. Micheal,

your answer was the most accurate I ever had and make a lot of sense.

I have another question, could be possible that with my constant negging for order in the house and snap on my husband that week for a few little stupid things had terrorized him since he was on severe anxiety and fear?

He was on seroquel 100 mg and gabapentin 300mg (divided in three times a day)

Thank you

This is an unlikely causal factor in his death as well. Your nagging and emotional pressure on him wouldn't account for the basic fact that your husband was probably prone to develop depression and anxiety symptoms. He had these basic physiological vulnerabilities before you married him. I'm assuming that anxiety/depression issues were the reason he was on the two medications you mention. (The gabapentin is also prescribed for migraine headaches and neuropathic pain as well, for certain patients.) I doubt you terrorized him with promptings, reminders etc., unless you were constantly screaming at him and physically threatening him or otherwise making him incredibly afraid of you, as you delivered your promptings and reminders.

Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. I'd like to recommend that you cut/paste our posts together and save them, and print them out, so you can re-read them when you are feeling guilty, or that there must have been 'something' you could have done to prevent your husband from having this accident. Please click on the green Accept button on the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you Dr. Micheal,

the last week my husband was alive I yelled him twice and I slammed the door once, because I was under stress, then I apologize to him telling him to forgive me to be so stupid because short of sleep. One day he wanted to go by cigarettes with the car and i did not wanted because of the medications, but he insisted so he went anyway.

Do you think that that slamming door and yelling twice was enough to terrorize him?

Other times i told him to be safe and hold the rail of the stears and not to run, but he run down the stears when he was afraid to be alone upstear.

No, I don't think you terrorized him. Also, you were quite correct in suggesting that he not go buy cigarettes and drive a care because of his medications. Notice that he ignored your suggestion and could have had a serious car accident because of the effects of his medication---not being fully alert, not have perfect reaction time, etc. He shouldn't have been driving and he is lucky he didn't have an accident. But the point is that HE made the decision to drive and take that risk. Nothing you said to him or how you reacted by slamming the door would terrorize him. Notice also that you tried to help him be safe going down the stairs, and he ignored your suggestions that he be more careful. So this man took risks upon himself, and when we do that, we put ourselves in the position of having tragic accidents. I ride a motorcycle and I know it is very dangerous, but I do it anyway because I enjoy it and will live with the risk. My family doesn't like the fact that I ride a motorcycle and wish I would not do this. If I have a motorcycle accident, it will be because I make a mistake or fail to be cautious enough and nothing my family does----if they yell or scream at me, or 'make me mad', will contribute to having an accident---they won't be to blame for it. I also might have an accident if I take too many medications or ride the motorcycle while taking them when I shouldn't.

You seem determined to find a way that you could have prevented your husband's accident by replaying the events of that tragic day and the days before. But as we've pointed out before, it is most likely that because of his medications, he had hypotension and became dizzy and lost his balance. Or he was just plain careless and ignored being as careful as he should have. It does sound like you warned him and looked out for him a great deal, but often he would ignore your warnings and suggestions. So this demonstrates that he probably didn't think and plan things out as well as you or other people might have, took more risks than others etc. You could have warned him to be extra cautious on the stair railings but he would have probably ignored you. He likely made a tragic mistake and you could not have prevented him from making the decisions he did at the time of the accident. You can look for reasons why you are to blame for your husband's death, but none of them will be reasonable----not when you consider his medication use, his tendency to do what HE wanted to do despite your cautions and warnings to be careful, etc. Your reminders and 'nagging' didn't terrorize him and cause him to have this accident. Again, the most likely explanation is that he became dizzy because of his medication, was careless and made a serious mistake in judgment. He placed himself in the same sort of high risk situation as he did when he insisted on driving while under the influence of these medications. He did what HE wanted to do.

Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please click on the green Accept button on the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
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