Notes to A First Time Caregiver (Vol 1.5): Recovery in the Midst of the ‘Hotline’

Its been a month since we got my mother back — or rather she got herself out of in patient rehab. They were so desperate that they called asking when we were picking her up. Interestingly, on the day of discharge no one could be found and we left without discharge papers, etc. Most on my mom and my mind was her freedom from surveillance and unending cocktail of drugs enforced on her. — — She went to her doctor’s appointment walking and talking much stronger than ever before in 2 years… got admitted for observation, was shuttled from the hospital to inpatient rehab, missed being at home for Christmas, and was finally released after 2 weeks. After week one in the hospital the drugs were leveled out she was still functional on the computer although by the weeks end increasingly more sleepy. She knew and we knew that it was the drugs. 10 days later she would end up so drugged up at the rehab facility she had been sent to that by the last 3 days she refused all medicine, food, or help because of her mistreatment and demanded to be let go!

By the time my mom arrived back to our home, we could barely get her up the steps, she could barely walk from the bed to her bedside pot and she was mentally dazed and confused. Shuttling from person to person, doctors who “cared” made sure she ended up on three blood thinners among a litany of close to 8 medications which we immediately altered her plan once back in our care. The doctor called in home health care which we all tolerated and after coming home after work maybe 2 weeks in, my mother had canceled the entire set of visits. I was unsure what I walked into and paid no mind until the next day our caregiver called to inform that I had been “hotlined” for not giving my mother her medications. I was in the middle of teaching and meetings and couldn’t be bothered. I of course began to worry fearing they would take her away, but the truth was I had never stopped giving her medications, I just gave far fewer; disagreeing with the doctor’s method of treatment and also giving my mother choice. In so doing, thanks to the “caring” doctor who never once called or visited my mother in the hospital or at home, she and her office called the Department of Family and Senior Services who were promptly dispatched to my house to ensure that my mother was not being neglected as the doctor used her M.D to attempt to racially police our unwillingness to follow her plan. The case is closed as far as we know giving that we are not being negligent and yet we were told rather suspiciously to be aware if we get a strange call and that the doctor can keep “hotlining” us….

While she and her mafia attempt assert racialized medical power over a black female patient and her family, we have focused on my mother’s recovery and yes it has taken almost a month for her to get confidence to begin walking again. She, in fact, slid and fell on the floor while in the bathroom a week ago and we had to call the fire department to get her up but she was/is fine. Barely a week later she is finally back to the complete level she was up to the day she went to the doctor where she no longer needs the bedside pot and can walk back and forth to the bathroom on her own and get back into the bed without any assistance. — — As this post has easily revealed, we deemed our method better in my mother’s recovery than the current well now previous doctor….and as the caseworker summarized when closing her notes, she pointed out that we were not following the doctor’s orders and “using some vitamins, and some old tea”; no one ever said such a thing she just looked around during her housecall.

My mother and I have never been overmedicated people so we were unwilling to allow the medical profession to operate as judge and jury because of my mother’s condition of 5 strokes and both of us being well read we looked beyond the doctor’s order/prescription and uncovered a drink that with continued use is having a dramatic impact on my mother’s recovery. This has been the source of her ability to begin to recover, speak much more clearly and in much longer words/sentences, become even more animated and engaged in conversation, and lastly as she noted today her brain is getting unfogged and her memory is slowly coming back. The standard dose was initially 1 oz two times a day, but I dove in and gave her double the next day at 3 times a day through into the next week. The second and third week I gave her 4 ozs (4x a day), and this week we have slowly moved into 6–8oz (3–4 times a day). I am also having this drink or rather this “old tea” in the same dose and with the exact same regularity as my mother and its amazing. Thus far I notice I wake up happier, my skin feels much more softened/velvet like, and memory is increasingly getting sharper.

We are searching for a new doctor who is anchored on patient interest and actually asking and caring about the effects of the drugs rather than medical scare tactics predicated on race. The last doctor merely replicated what another doctor had cycled through in Atlanta with only adding more and more more pain meds to appear being versed in medical treatment while never once asking my mother how they affected her well being. I end in urging any new caregiver to be vocal to question every drug, read about other alternatives, fight back, and embrace ways of empowerment and thriving to recovery.

Here’s to the future of healing!