Patient :My father is 81 and has atrial fibrillation. He also has a hypothyroid condition. He underwent a major open heart surgery 5-7 years ago with valve repair and stents (I think stents, but maybe not, he doesn't like to discuss nor do I). He recovered fully as far as I could tell and his follow-up medication and doctors have been great. He was doing really well but last winter he slipped and broke ribs. He’s healed but since then he's had irregular bowel movements to the point that he lost control in a store and now wears a Depends. He continues to have lack of control of his bowels and has to go running to the bathroom. His primary doctor has tried various fixes but to no avail. It's not the bathroom issue he is concerned with it's his loss of mental power. He's now easily flustered, nervous and feels vulnerable (he doesn't say this, I just know) although he's as sharp as ever (as far as I can tell). I'm worried that his bowel issue is affecting his electrolytes and his overall wellness. My brother speculates that when his ribs were healing his digestive and bowel system changed to compensate for the internal repair going on (he was slightly bed ridden). Since the broken ribs he's gone downhill. He's also become very grumpy and I think has some depression. Is there anything his primary doctor or heart doctor can do to get him back and feeling better? I know old age is inevitable but should his doctor be considering anti-depressants and vitamin/electrolyte drips or something we haven’t thought of? Please shed some light if you can!
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