Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dad and I went to the doctors the other day, had some blood work done and chatted with the doctor during our allotted 15 minute time slot.  I adore our doctor and Mom especially adored him but I miss my former primary doctor, Dr. Glenn Toth.  Appointments with him typically took 45 minutes as he took time to talk with you and then figure out how to get you feeling better were you not so well.  He wouldn’t simply medicate me and push me out the door.  He would explore diet, exercise, changes in environment and stress.  He would even end the session with a prayer if you asked him.  Our current doctor is what I call a factory model although as factory models go he’s very good but I get the feeling that he is so rushed with all that he has to accomplish that maybe he isn’t thinking clearly.  And then something out of the ordinary always happens – at the end of the day, I get a call from him; checking in with us to see if we had questions and to give us blood test results and any concerns that may come up from them.  He redeems himself with that follow-up so much that I continue to see him.

We’re going to see another neurologist for Dad and get a CTScan of the brain to see what’s going on.  His short term memory is failing quickly – too quickly for comfort.  Surely there is some other issue at play here than just a disease for which we have no cure. 

I talked with the doctor about Dad’s inconsistency with taking medications.  Perhaps you have a loved one for who that is a problem as well.  Here’s what we first did: 

We purchased a weekly pill box, placed each day’s pills in the proper day and set it on the counter.  For months dad was consistent.  Then one day I noticed that, although it was Wednesday, Tuesday’s pills were still in its place.  I let it slide.  Then a few days later I noticed that, although the day was now Friday, Saturday pills were gone.  So at some point this week he didn’t know if he took them or not, was confused as to the day of the week and just took them – again.  Not a good situation.

During the last few months of Mom’s life she was on so much medication that I had purchased plastic containers and wrote the day on them and the times for each one.  It worked out well but the counter was full of containers.  For Dad I decided something that I hope works.  I placed the days’ pills in a small, brown coin envelope and sealed it.  I made thirty of these and put the day and the date on them.  Then I showed Dad how to tell what day this is by looking at his cell phone.  I told him that if the day doesn’t match any of the envelopes, that means he took his pills.  I THINK he gets it – he told me, “great – no date, no pills and the envelope has to match what’s on my phone”.  YES!  But I’m following up with daily phone calls so that he remembers how it goes.  I’m nervous about it but I honestly can’t see how it will fail – oh yeah – he can’t remember the process – or he keeps looking at the calendar and figures it must be tomorrow and then takes them.  Sad – and I can’t get a nurse to come in for another month. 

It is these types of issues that not only happen but the rules keep changing.  You never know what’s going to happen when you arrive today.  I find myself at his door each time pausing to breathe deep and say a quick breath prayer.  Then I knock and as I turn the key I announce that it is me. 

Lord, thank you that my father remembers who I am and that he trusts me.  Thank you for his amazingly strong hugs each time I leave and thank you that he knows I’m here for him.  Thank you for the peace that you have granted to him and continue to comfort him each time he realizes that his earthly love has gone to be with you.  And thank you for preparing the way for his arrival someday.  Amen.

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