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How Cardiovascular Patients Can Protect Their Loved Ones’ Mental Health

We were students at NYU when my best friend, Jean, met Tyler, an army sergeant who was ten years her senior. It was love at first sight ever since the two bumped into each other at a bar where we celebrated her 21st birthday, and I believed that’s what happened because I saw how the soldier only had eyes for Jean.

At the beginning of their relationship, everything was blissful. Tyler moved to a base closer to New York so that he could see Jean at least once a month. Whenever he visited our apartment, he would bring food and sometimes even invite me to tag along with them during their dates. Then, after six months of dating exclusively, Tyler asked my best friend to move in with him, saying he got an apartment between Brooklyn and New York, so their commute won’t be too long.

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It was a major – read: scary – decision, mostly since Tyler was Jean’s first boyfriend. I asked if she was ready to play a soldier’s little wife, but she said she was, so I even helped them move. My communication with my best friend despite living in different locations; we also saw each other often in the university.

But then, two months later, Jean called me, crying. She took Tyler to the hospital because he had a heart attack. As it turned out, she did not even know that her boyfriend had a cardiovascular condition. It was not obvious since he was buff and in the army for eight years and counting. I was in the hospital room with the two when the doctor divulged that Tyler applied to get a heart donor and that a heart was already available for him if he still wanted the operation.

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Of course, Jean was scared because everything happened so fast. There was also a 50:50 chance that Tyler’s body wouldn’t accept the new heart, and it could be lethal for him. However, he squeezed my best friend’s hand reassuringly and said, “I want to marry you after the heart transplant surgery, so I will definitely wake up.” That was the sweetest thing I ever heard, and it made me want to find a Tyler of my own ASAP.

Tyler was in a coma for three days post-operation, getting fed via a tube that went through his nose and ended in his stomach. When he woke up on the third day, the lovers cried in relief for his second chance at life. But Jean cried harder when Tyler asked her to rummage through his backpack, and she found an engagement ring for her.

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A Change In The Patient’s Attitude

The doctors disclosed that it would take six months before they could say that Tyler’s body had entirely accepted the new heart, so my best friend and Tyler decided that they would get married after that. Jean took a month of absence from school to take care of her fiancé while he’s recuperating at home, and the professors were sympathetic enough to allow it. Hence, I hardly saw or talked to my best friend around that time.

When Jean’s leave ended, I thought everything was back to normal. She went to class on a Monday, and we chatted as usual, but she seemed to be distracted by her phone. When I asked what’s wrong, my best friend said that Tyler kept texting her, saying he missed her. I still thought it was sweet.

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Unfortunately, because Tyler was still in a fragile condition and depended on Jean, he grew possessive of her. Sometimes, he would not let his fiancée attend classes and stay at home with him; other times, he would yell at her for wanting to visit her parents or me. Then, Tyler would feel faint, and he would blame it on Jean. Blind in love, my best friend would keep on apologizing. It came to the point that Jean was already unhappy with their relationship, but she could not go away in fear of Tyler ending his life during her absence.

The Fault In The Patient’s Attitude

The change in Tyler’s attitude only came to light when Jean knocked on my door in the middle of the night with all her bags six months later. She said, “Tyler left me without a goodbye today after the doctor told him that his new heart was healthy.” She also talked about the emotional abuse she dealt with in Tyler’s hands.

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I could not help but feel anger rising inside me. In the man’s pursuit to return to perfect health, he destroyed my best friend’s mental health. While trying to fix his heart, he broke Jean’s heart. If only Tyler did not use her as a shock absorber, she would not be a shadow of her old self now.

Final Thoughts

In case you have cardiovascular issues like my best friend’s ex, you should never treat your loved ones like he did with Jean. It was awful, brutal, and – for lack of a better word – heartless. If you are miserable, don’t make others’ lives miserable, too.

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