Saturday, February 23, 2008

Grandma

My wife’s grandmother will turn 80 soon. She is a sweet, kind, happy, and giving person. I first met her about eleven years ago. She has treated me like family from day one. As I see it, she is more family to me than the one that I was born into. Until recently she has been independent and active. I appreciate her. Even the days when her requests seem ridicules or her stories don't quite make sense, I appreciate her. Since November her health has declined. The once independent and strong willed woman that I knew has been replaced by someone else. She has become feeble and weak. Her memory is less than sharp. She suffers random pains that often keep her confined to bed. For several months she had a private apartment in a senior assisted living facility. Two weeks ago that changed. We realized that her confusion and memory lapses were becoming more pronounced. Sometimes she forgot to take her medicine. Other times she took too much. Her appetite diminished and she lost weight. We knew she could no longer live on her own and a rest home was out of the question. We took her home with us. Everyone said we were brave for taking on her care. We saw no other option and insisted she be with us. They were right. It has been difficult and all consuming of our time. Last week she began having periods of unresponsiveness. The doctors admitted her to the hospital. Test after test has failed to pinpoint what is wrong. We have been frustrated with the situation and the system. Last night we had a breakthrough. It did not come from a doctor but from my wife. A new medicine prescribed last November for Alzheimer’s. The timeline matched the onset of symptoms. The internet gave us an extensive list of side-affects. They matched her complaints and symptoms. We stopped the medication. Her condition has improved ten-fold in the last 24 hours. WTF, don't doctors make enough to figure this shit out? She has a cardiologist, internist, gastrointestinal specialist, and case manager. Who figured it out? It wasn't an expert but a Freelance Graphic Designer. So, Grandma is back. Her memory may decline over time but she is comfortable and happy. I know it will be hard when she forgets our names or no longer knows where she is. I don't look forward to that day but at least she is not suffering.

8 Beer Farts:

Tyler Durden said...

God man... sorry to hear that. I'm glad you figured it out and yes, I agree. How the hell can doctors not see this? 10 years of school was not enough?

IDigHootchAndCootch said...

that was terrific of you and your wife. I'm kinda with you in my thinking what other choice is there but to take her in, but you'd be surprised how many people would have chosen to leave grandma alone.

Anyway, doctors dont know as much as we think abut medicine/drugs. Get yourself a good pharmacist and hopefully they'll be able to help with any future difficulties.

good luck.

Jake Titus said...

Shit, maybe now that Castro is gone I should move her to Cuba for real health care.

Jake Titus said...

Thanks for the advise Hootch.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

This is one of those days where I didn't feel like reading through the blogs, because I don't think people have been "real" enough lately. This one was real and genuine. Good post.

Jake Titus said...

I appreciate all of your kind words. This has; and I'm sure will continue to be, one of the most trying expierences in our lives. Raising children to adulthood was hard. Helping an adult that is becoming a child again is harder. Thank you again.

The Middle Lifer said...

Crazy aint it? Doctors hate the infomercials that inform you of drugs that they do not want to prescibe, but when you figure it out, they really get pissed. I got the same problem with a Ma in law. She was feeling bad in November. Her doc said it was an infection. Ends up cancer and spread like wildfire throughout her body. Asshole GP didn't do any tests and calls it a chest infection. Needless to say, her ass was fired. Now she is getting treated for her cancer, but its not looking good. Fuckin GP wasted 3 months on being a dumbass and not wanting to do anything for a 72 year old. Never felt like bitch slappin a doc more than ever.

Jake Titus said...

Sorry to hear that Lifer. With my various injuries, my wife's cancer scare, and now Grandma-inlaw I have very little faith in the medical prefesssion. Don't get me wrong, I feel there is many very qualified prefessionals in medicide. But with the friggen insurance companies and hmo's having the final say, a lot of bad stuff is happening. I have found that being the squeky wheel helps. Ask a lot of questions and make demands and stuff starts to happen.