Need a Hand Up?

Need a Hand Up?  Mom has been fighting for awhile (10-14 months) with what seems to be a low grade case of depression.  It seems as if ever since the recovery period they gave her after her double valve replacement surgery (6-12 months) was over and she did not see a vast improvement in her health, or should I say she didn’t see herself back to where she was sometime prior to the surgery a low case of depression set in.  It first started with, “I can’t make lunch or coffee,” and then it was no one could reach her by phone for a couple of days.  Today there are times when no one is able to reach her for 3-4 days and she cancels going to church which is pretty major for her to miss church.  When approached about it of course we get the normal depression response of, “I’m fine.”  

A few days ago my son came back into town on vacation from the US Air Force (B-52 Mechanic, Proud of you bud) and we had scheduled to go out for a welcome home dinner, mom sounded all excited to see him.  The day of the dinner, she called and expressed that she just could not do it she could not get herself to get up and get moving none the less leave the house.   Again I’ve been there and understand what she’s going through.  You have to also understand my mom, is a very strong willed, very independent, driven person that when she is told she “cant”, she will do everything to prove she can, even if she falls a little short.  To see “Depression” do this to her, hurts, even though I understand the what, why, etc. it does not make it hurt any less.  Mom does get out of the house the needed three times a day to walk Taffy, her puppy Shih Tzu.  Taffy was/is an amazing friend for mom when she first had her lung drained, scrapped and in the process a rib broken prior (6mths prior) to having the double heart valve replacement surgery.  She was there for moral support, when in pain Taffy snuggled providing the physical support we all seek and having Taffy forced mom to get up and out to take her on potty walks which provides mom with exercise.  If your going through a surgery such as one of these, I suggest looking into a small dog that is easy to control, of course “Consult with your physician before taking on any strenuous exercise regimen.

You can see, she has a loving family, Taffy who counts on her or should I say mom counts on Taffy, a sister who stops by often, sons that visit (a lot) and for the most part is healthy.  She is currently dealing with a breathing issue which they are trying to figure out but she is being told that should not be stopping her.   I don’t know what to do and I’ve been going through it for years now and still am.   She finally received the approval to go see a psychologist about  two months ago and after fighting to get her into see the military doctors fell through they sent her  to an outside referral.  Mom has meet with the doctor once so far and seems pretty happy with her.  They of course have suggested she go on a minor dose of anti-depression medication which mom is not all to happy with.  Something about having to add, keep track of, re-fill, deal with and just plain having another medication is not on her top ten list, neither are the other 15-20 medications she on.  To understand this better the majority of mom’s problems come from having caught Rheumatic Fever as a child (11-12 yrs. old).  This caused issues with several of her heart valves, one which was locked open at 10%, so realistically only 1/2 of her heart has been working until 3-4 years ago when during one of her episodes of heavy breathing after walking only 10-15 feet, she was asked by the cardiologist if she had had Rheumatic Fever as a kid and it’s been on the road to recovery since, well she’s on the beaten path and we’re trying to get on the road to recovery.  With each set back, bump in the road, twist, u-turn or detour we run into it seems her depression takes another hit.  Don’t get me wrong she does have good, bad and worse days.  my question for all of you is, “How does one with mild depression (20.7 – 21.65%) help someone with depression get over the hump or even out of the house, or should I just be there for support and let the professionals handle it?”

/ : ^{ ) >   Richard

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