Mom’s Cure for Depression

bank-229411_640A funny thing happened on the way to the rehab facility. Well, actually once we arrived.

But let me step back to say a few words about 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. She’s 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, has a new craft project or putting together the big family Christmas party. Always something. Then in the past seven years, Mom has had to deal with the effects of rheumatic fever as a child which left her with COPD, a heart valve locked at 90% closed, breathing issues on and off, sleep apnea and weight issues which run in her family.

Then five or six years ago she had a stroke that luckily took only part of her speech center. Four days later, she had a heart attack.  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 six months after surgery stepping off a curb and it required replacing it.

She saw a civilian cardiac surgeon who treated her for more than two 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 three quarters 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 because they needed her off her blood thinner for three days. While 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. 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, we’ll 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 improved. Just about eighteen months ago, Mom went through double heart valve replacement surgery. Drivers LicenseDuring all of this, Mom medically lost her driving license for just about a year. For her, taking that away is like removing a scalpel from a surgeons (to her). She was admitted several more times 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 who deal with the electrical firing impulses in the heart. She since has had two more surgeries.

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, rushes 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 hits early after the surgery. Mom’s depression came on slowly then hit her hard about two 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 five months. Only in the last few months did she finally agreed to see the doctor about it and begin treatment.

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 two to three 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 a few hours when people come to visit. She’s 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.

What’s the difference? At home, where she’s more or less alone, no one is there to get up for, she’s not being pushed to get things done. In the facility she’s on a schedule, has company, things to do right at hand, meals scheduled. She can either eat in her room or tell them she will take her dinner in the main dining hall, please. She has conversations with a number of people–housekeeping, therapist, doctors, nurses, aides, other patients. She’s getting cards from high school friends from 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. She 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’s recovery as well as her depression. I hope.

Related
Avatar of Richard

About Richard

My name is Richard (@kreisr1), I am a Tri-Fecta caregiver, for my mother who has COPD among other health issues. I co-care for my brother in-law who has epilepsy and co-care with my wife's for myself, I deal with Chronic Back Pain. entire life and now after living alone, in a care facility and a group home setting we had to move him in with us to provide him with the care he needs.  Finally, with my wife who is also my co-caregiver I care for myself, I have had chronic pain (mid-low back) for 21-1/2 years thanks to a drunk driver.  I write my own blog, pickyourpain.org where I share my pain with humor, as I see thing, "Pain Without Humor is Just Painful."  I am involved with caregiving.com in several ways, as well as participating in several of the weekly caregiving.com blogs, I also am involved in their Twitter chats, I also host the following groups, SPOT (Stamp Procrastination Out Today), A Task A Day, The Men's Group, Healthy Caregiver and several others.  I am also the moderator for the Caregiving.com Quiz Show and have a seat on the bi-monthly Hot Topic's show. I'm here to not only improve Roberts life, the lives of those I touch on caregiving.com and pickyourpain.org but to find a way to improve my own live.

8 thoughts on “Mom’s Cure for Depression

  1. Avatar of PegiPegi

    Wonderful news! I’ve seen this before with older folks I knew who live alone. It’s good to have activities and choices. Wishing a speed recovery and continued good spirits.

    Reply
  2. Avatar of EllysGdaughterEllysGdaughter

    Great News Richard! So, I just have to ask the question since I see some of the same issues with Elly,,, does this make a case for placement in a community situation rather than encouraging the living home alone? Is that a conversation you have had before or may have with your mom? Elly tends to always rise to the occasion and put on a good face with much more pleasantness when company comes. She seems happier but insists that she wants to stay at home.

    Reply
  3. Avatar of janjan

    I am continually amazed at the resilience of the human body and spirit. I am so happy for you that you have reason to share this good news. It’s a great reminder for me as I struggle to balance the stimulation and the relaxation; the stimulation needs to come from outside this house.

    Reply
  4. Avatar of RichardRichard Post author

    Jan,
    That’s the same issue mom is having she is such a people person that any form of activity also needs to come from outside
    The home and she does get this with her sewing group, weight group, etc., problem is keeping her going to these meetings. And therein lyles the ultimate question, “How do you keep your caree (95-95% coherent) going to activities that help keep them from being depressed, without feeling as if your demanding it?

    Maybe the last part needs work but I hope everyone gets the meaning? I’m going to put this question to my blogs followers. Thank Jan for reading and more important responding to one of my blogs.

    Richard (Kreisler)
    Cc c. C cc. Cc c ccc ccc ccc ccee(PickYourPain’org)

    Reply
    • Avatar of janjan

      My mother’s doctor recommended that she attend daycare to socialize with someone other than me. She loves people, and this seemed like a great solution. The day before her first visit, she barked at me and refused to talk to me, even tho she participated in every step of the application process to the center. Her first visits were positive, but the longer she attended, the more negative she became. I’m not sure if it is because she’s very controlling and didn’t want anyone telling her what to do with scheduled activities. Trying to convince the functioning part of her brain that this would keep her alert and involved was impossible. “How could you do this to me?”, she screamed. “I thought we were friends!” When she refused to get out of bed on a daycare day, people said to me, “Just put her in the car and take her there. You have to make the decision about this when she can’t”. But for me that violates the trust I hope she still has in me. I can’t demand it. I just gave up.

      Reply
  5. Richard (kreisler)

    Jan,
    That’s my issue also is the trust factor. When your friends are saying just put her in the car and take her, are they realizing if someone does not want to go they will put up a fight? With your mom in bed still you would then have to get her up, clean her up, dress her, get her in the car and then keep her in the car until you arrived and finally get her into the program. Yea like your not going to lose trust there. I’m sure it does depend a lot on the mental status of the parent/sibling/child but you still lose a piece of how they look at you. Thank you for your amazing input.

    Reply
  6. Avatar of PatPat

    This could be my mom your talking about. She resists any suggestions I have about getting out of the house and will only consider outings that are “with me” I understand your frustration, but have no worthwhile suggestions, unfortunately.

    Reply
  7. Richard (Kreisler)

    Meximan,
    I think a lot of people fit this spot. I just meet mom and a friend of hers visited and suggested she look into an assisted living type situation and she actually said she thought it would be something she wouldn’t mind doing. Her parents were in one and she really enjoyed everything they had available to the residence. Hope she keeps that in mind when she gets out and on her feet.

    Thank you for reading and relying to my blog.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>