My mother was hospitalized for the second time in rehab due to extreme stomach pains. She had stopped eating and lost a lot of weight.
By this point, she was no longer taking Lisinopril (high blood pressure medication). Her blood pressure had actually normalized thanks to an Ayurvedic home remedy–a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of honey and 5-10 drops of apple cider vinegar each morning before breakfast. But she was still taking Aggrenox (a blood thinner) and Lipitor (for cholesterol-even though she did not have a cholesterol problem).
Initially, the Emergency Room doctors thought our mom’s stomach pain was due to gallstones. The scans, however, showed no gallstones. Nevertheless, they still wanted to do exploratory surgery to make sure. The surgeon in charge said she did not feel comfortable operating on someone who was already compromised by stroke. She said her gut instinct was that our mom was having a poor reaction to the Lipitor. The surgeon was very concerned about our mom’s elevated liver enzymes. She immediately discontinued the Lipitor believing this medication was causing the problem. The surgeon explained that Aggrenox is often paired with Lipitor because (for some stroke patients) these drugs work synergistically– even if there are no cholesterol issues. However, she said, “Not all drugs are effective for all people. Some can do more harm than good.”
One day after the Lipitor was discontinued, our mother started eating again. She was then able to go back to the rehab/nursing home.
Although our mom was eating– by this point she had completely given up on her physical therapy. She even resorted to falling asleep in the PT gym. She was becoming increasingly more despondent and depressed– repeating over and over that she would never get better. The therapists kindly explained to her that recovery takes time. My mom’s Occupational Therapist even gave her a pep talk for encouragement. She responded by telling him that we (her daughters) had abandoned her.
After 3 months in the nursing home, our mother was an emotional wreck. She could be laughing one moment, then suddenly crying the next. She was confused and disoriented. She even said she wanted to die. She also spent hours perseverating on nonsensical themes.
I was afraid our mother would not survive another week in inpatient care. Her initial plan was to stay in rehab “until I can walk,” she said. But we needed to change plans.
It was time to bring her home. The social worker at the facility then started the 3 day discharge process. The social worker arranged for continued outpatient speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy at a different facility.
On a rainy day in late April, my sisters and I nervously brought our mother home.