A funny thing happened on the way to the rehab facility, well actually once we arrived. But let me step back for a few words of who my mom really is first. Mom is normally involved in everything, has her days filled with sewing club, weight group, volunteering at her church, she took care of my grandmother until her passing and before that her sister who passed or keeping the peace, or trying to resolve a grudge between any mix of her six younger siblings, reading a book in a day or night, or is always cleaning her home which never looked like it needed it, a new craft project or putting together the big family Christmas party. Always something. Then in the past six to seven years mom has had to deal with the effects of rheumatic fever as a child which left her with COPD, a locked at 90% closed heart valve. Breathing issues on and off, sleep apnea and weight issues which runs in her family.
Then five or six years ago a stroke that luckily took only part of her speech center and a heart attack four days later. She suffered several more minor strokes since then, has been admitted six or seven times for edema which is also caused by the heart issues, has had three surgeries to replace both her knees. Yes three, she broke one 6 months after surgery stepping off a curb and it required replacing it. She was seeing a civilian cardiac surgeon who treated her for two plus years and told us over and over that any surgery on her heart could wait, it was no rush and it wasn’t that bad yet. During a check of the interior of the heart with a camera through a blood vessel in her thigh, the doctor accidentally nicked a blood vessel causing blood to fill ¾ of her right lung. When we went into the ER at the local military hospital because mom could not breathe or walk for than ten feet, we found out why. Surgery was scheduled for the next Monday to drain it off, this was on a Thursday and they needed her off her blood thinner for three days. While in draining the lung they “had to” scrape the lung of 40+ years of cigarette tar. This is when we forced mom to get a second opinion away from the civilian surgeon and with the military one that just performed the lung surgery. We found out after a PET scan that instead of “No Rush” she had maybe six months and in the same appointment when mom said okay to the surgery thinking it would take one or two months to get approved, the doctor said “Great, will do it in three days.” After the surgery we fully realized how bad it was, six months was being nice, it was more like only four months. Mom approved and just about eighteen months ago mom went through double heart valve replacement surgery. During all of this, mom medically lost her driving license for just about a year, which for a very independent woman taking that away is like removing a scalpel from a surgeons (to her). Several more times admitted for edema and follow up issues with the heart surgery, the top valves were not speaking to the lower valves which sent mom to a specialist that deal with the electrical firing impulses in the heart. Here she had two more surgeries and over time had to have her heart stopped then with the paddles, jumped to get these two parts communicating again.
So you can sort of understand why she’s depressed, $500,000.00 of surgeries over four or five years and she still is not back to where she wants to be. She stopped going to her sewing club, volunteering at the church slowed down to maybe once a week, weight loss group stopped, she sleeps all day and I mean “ALL DAY,” has become disconnected with us boys, rush’s everyone off the phone, cancels lunch and coffee times as well as doctor’s appointments and more. It’s so bad the doctors have put her on anti-depressants and upped the dose twice, have her going to a psychologist and a psychiatrist and as of April 1st nothing has seemed to work. Several of her doctors (GP, her cardiologist and neurologist) have all said that it is very common after heart surgery for most patients to come down with a bout of depression and it usually hit early after the surgery. Mom’s depression came on slowly then hit her hard about 1-2 years after her surgery.
Before going into the rehab facility mom’s normal routine was to wake up, walk Taffy, eat and then sleep. Wake for lunch, walk Taffy then sleep and the same for dinner, but then it was sleep until the next morning and then repeat the process. This went on for just about the past 4-5 months with the last few she finally agreed to see the doctor about it and began getting the treatment she needs. Once she arrived in rehab and we got her off the narcotics something changed, it’s like mom’s depression has completely disappeared, she’s up every morning, going to physical and occupational therapies, going to the library cart every other day and on average reading 2-3 books in just as many days, attending bingo twice in one week, right there for all three meals, is even going out onto the patio for 1-2 hours when people come to visit and is now talking about going down to the internet cafe to get online and even to sign up for Facebook to keep in closer touch with family, us and her siblings.
What’s the difference? At home, where she’s more or less alone, no one there to get up for, not being pushed to get things done and here in the facility she on a schedule, has company, things to do right at hand, meals scheduled and she can either eat in her room or tell them she will take her dinner in the main dining hall, please. She has conversations (40-50 a day) with a number of people, housekeeping, therapist, doctors, nurses, aides, other patients and is getting cards from high school friends for 35+ years ago, a good friend informed them of mom’s situation over Facebook and the cards keep coming in, one even sent Mrs. Fields cookies. The moral of this story is that, “Depression needs Connection” to cancel itself out. Mom is like her old self again, still has an issue with day and night but she has agreed to take Melatonin to aide her with sleep. Once she gets this back on track I believe we will see a rapid improvement in mom recovery as well as her depression, I hope
Thank You, for reading my blogs