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A tough day that could have been worse

October 21st, 2014 at 11:48 pm

I made plans to accompany my mother to her followup visit with a neurologist to go over her test results for dementia/Alzheimer's.

Since I had both that appointment and a podiatrist visit of my own, I had to take the day off today instead of the Friday I had originally planned. Well, I guess that's what PTO (Paid Time Off) is for.

I wasn't sure how my mother was going to take it. I was already pretty sure she has dementia and I know it's been on her mind too.

The doctor didn't make a grand pronouncement, but indicated her test results showed she did somewhat worse than others her age. He then started talking about a medication that can help slow the progression and preserve what memory you still have. My mother was a good candidate for this since she's considered early stage.

My mother's first response was (as I knew it would be) "I don't like taking medications." But between the doctor and me, we talked her into trying it. So she starts at half the normal dose, 1 pill a day for a month, then she goes for a followup visit to see how she's doing and to begin the full dose schedule. A month's supply of the drug only cost her $2.50.

So I asked what the difference was between dementia and Alzheimer's and he said Alzheimer's s just one type of dementia and when I asked point blank if my mother had dementia, he said yes, but in a way that perhaps my mother didn't pick up on.

In addition to the meds, the doctor also suggested what they call physical therapy, but which are actually one or more sessions where they teach the patient different ways to compensate for the loss of memory. I thought this could be very helpful to my mother. Right now she has little notes all over the place, but just keeping track of the notes after a while is too much. So I urged her to try a session of this and and we made the appointment.

Finally, the doctor recommended she get an evaluation of her driving, and I scheduled an appointment there as well. It costs $185 and of course Medicare doesn't cover that, so while my mother protested the high price, she didn't flat out say no or object to the appointment....until later, that is, when she emailed me and said she didn't see what the hurry was and thought it was premature and that it might rain next week. I told her I'd reschedule if it rained, but otherwise, I'm not going to let her off the hook. I sure hope she doesn't give me a hard time becus this appointment is during the week and I can't keep taking days off to take her to her appointments.

When we got out of there, I wrote down all the appointments and what she needed to do on a single piece of paper and she was very appreciative as she said it was all "overwhelming."

After that, I went to drop off trash at the landfill, got my hair cut at Great Clips and did some grocery shopping. When I got home, I raked a part of the lawn where the pine needles are too thick for the mower to mulch, and I also raked up piles of leaves collecting in the driveway. I made some baba ganousch with 2 eggplant I had and a big pot of soup for lunches for the rest of the week.

One other thing happened that concerns me. Last night when I got home I noticed one of the cats had spit up on the stair. It's not an uncommon occurrence but this time it was bright red and looked like blood. Both cats appear perfectly fine. But last week was when Luther ate a long (3 to 4 inch) pine needle, although he later barfed up a hairball and I could see tiny bits of the pine needle embedded in it. I don't know if that was part of the pine needle or all of it.

And Waldo last night was sort of acting like something was stuck in his throat. As I said, they both seem fine now.

I was debating whether to try catching Waldo to bring him to the vet, but I honestly don't know which cat may have spit up that blood, given the little bit of background I told you about here.

Luther also does play too rough with Waldo, but again, it looks like bright red spit up. So I am still worried about it but haven't done anything about it. The good thing is there's a new 24/7 vet's hospital right down the road from me and you don't need an appointment. They are open day and night. So if I need to, I can zip down there with either cat.

I had thought maybe it was a dental issue or abscessed tooth with Waldo, but he has been eating fine so I don't think he would be if had a bad toothache.

All in all, i feel like I got a lot accomplished today without too much stress. I'm very appreciative of having the ability to take a day off from work and still get paid, a perk of a perm job. Tomorrow it's back to work. It was nice to have this breather in the middle of the week, even if the things I had to deal with were not so pleasant.

7 Responses to “A tough day that could have been worse”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    It sounds like the appointment with the doctor went pretty well overall. I can only imagine that dementia is very overwhelming and stressful. I hope she can keep the meds going. Will she remember to take them or do you have a plan to help her remember?

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    She only has one other medication to take. I think she will be able to do it. She keeps track on a notepad she keeps on her dining room table.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm sure you are right if she already has a system for taking her medications. You are a great daughter for taking care of her.

  4. Steph Says:

    My mom is in early stages of dementia as well. She too does not like taking a pill so we opted for the low dosage patch. She wears the patch 24 hours and then changes it out. It is probably more expensive, depending on your mom's co-pay, but there is an option out there.

    Prayers with you as you travel down this path with your mom.

  5. CB in the City Says:

    This is such a difficult time in one's life. My parents let me off the hook pretty easily -- my father, by passing away too young, and my mother, by voluntarily going into a retirement/nursing home before her dementia and other health problems really kicked in. But I have seen how others have been really overwhelmed with figuring out the care of their elders.

    Now I think about my aging, and how it will impact my children. I hope I am hale and hearty into my 90's, but you just never know! I've already apologized for any foolishness I express in the future! Smile

  6. Violet Says:

    I am sorry you are having to deal with this, but what a nice daughter you seem to be. It is not easy to watch our parents go through sickness.

  7. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I hope that your cats are okay.

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