Dear Carol: My mom always had pride in her appearance. Even as she’s aged and grown quite heavy she’s liked nice clothes and has always been clean. Now she isn’t interested in her clothes and won’t even bathe unless we nag her. She doesn’t like to go out with friends, either, and she used to be very social. She often says she’s too tired to have visitors. Mom’s just 75, but she had open heart surgery a few months ago and she hasn’t seemed the same since. Her cardiologist says her heart has healed well and that she’ll be fine with time, so Mom doesn’t think she needs to see another doctor. We disagree because she doesn’t seem to be coming out of the mental funk, even though she’s physically healing. - Jeffrey
Dear Jeffrey: It’s common for people to experience some depression after any major surgery, and heart surgery patients seem to be especially vulnerable. I’m wondering when your mother last saw her cardiologist. She may have had her last appointment when she was physically healing well, and the physician thought her progress was normal considering what she’d gone through.