A Little Worried.

Day 12 – National Blog Posting Month.

Being a doctor who is also a daughter has its privileges. I can navigate the system on behalf of my parents. I can advocate on their behalf and ask for tests and referrals. I can attend appointments and understand what is being discussed.  I can find out results before they do.

It is fraught with disadvantage as well. With their permission, I am privy to tests results before they are. I understand what their diagnoses mean and if I don’t, I know trusted resources to educate myself.  I understand in general terms what “illness trajectory” means. Specifically, I have seen what illness trajectories look like.  I also know what the end may look like.

I am the one my family looks to for advice and comfort.  I have to be strong and composed. I can’t let them see that I’m worried.

Facing the Void

My brother and I had a long talk the other day about our parents.  He has positioned himself to be their power of attorney for finances and I am their power of attorney for personal care.  In the past year, it has become evident that we may need to start exercising our roles.   I can’t tell you how sad that makes me.

Growing up, my father was larger than life. He was a tall, formidable man with a deep voice but he was for all intents and purposes, a gentle giant.

Over the past year or so he’s become impatient, occasionally verbally aggressive toward my mom and is forgetting things.  He was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment last fall but his condition seems to have deteriorated in the last 3 months.  He has a much shorter fuse now and asks my mom to repeat things several times a day.  He denies feeling depressed but we all think he is. Thankfully his family doctor suggested a trial of a low dose antidepressant and he actually agreed.  

He will be having an brain scan soon. I fear it will be normal.  Why? Because the thought of watching him continue down the road of dementia is heartbreaking. It would frankly be much easier if he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I don’t think I could bear the day he forgets his grandchildren and then me. I don’t think I can watch him become aggressive and angry and frightened at his memory loss.  I see it already happening with my maternal grandmother. 

And there’s the kicker: dementia on both sides of my family? What does that mean for my brother and me? Are we destined for the same end?

We talked about all of it. Dad won’t want to go into a nursing home when the time comes. Will I have to have him declared  incompetent and take over as POA?  If dad moves into a nursing home, mom won’t be able to stay in the condo; will she live with me or my brother or alone in an apartment?  How long are we going to have to watch him deteriorate? He would never want to live like that. I certainly wouldn’t. 

I fear the road ahead. 

TGIF.

I don’t have pneumonia. Yippee!

Not.

My chest still burns and I feel like I’m coughing up a lung. Bleh.  I almost wish I did have pneumonia because then I could get some antibiotics and feel better.  Enough is enough, really.  Come on.  I’ve had this stupid cough for well over a month. But then again, so has everyone else I’ve seen.  What’s funny is me trying to get a history, turn around to cough into my elbow, then turn back, stand up to examine someone and they say, “Wow, Doc, you sound worse than I do!”.

Yes, yes I do. Thanks for noticing.  Why are you in my office again?

Le sigh.

TGIF. I just want to curl up in bed until Christmas.

Thursday Mishmash.

Woke up this morning to a very large blanket of snow.  The kids of course were just beside themselves with glee to look out the window and see nothing but a white winter wonderland. So excited were they that when I came down to breakfast their snow-pants, jackets and boots were lying on the floor all ready to go.  I called them, “Flat N” and “Flat J” and then explained how runners showcase their gear the night before a race. Like this:

Amidst the hustle and bustle of getting everyone ready this morning I was still coughing and my chest felt like it was on fire. So after we got everyone to school I went to the local clinic and had a chest x-ray.  I’m sure it’ll be negative but I’ve been coughing for almost five weeks and I’m getting sick of it, pardon the pun.  All three kids are sick and I’m pretty sure the baby (well, now a toddler) has an ear infection so husband is bringing him to the pediatrician this afternoon.

I’m sitting in my office now as patient after patient cancels their appointments today due to the inclement weather.  It really is quite pretty out there.  After I got the x-ray I walked into the local coffee shop (a Starbucks which normally I try to avoid) and got a Peppermint Mocha.  Holy good God in Heaven.  Pure joy.  There is something about peppermint and chocolate around the holiday season that gets me every time.

photo(27)I think I’m ready for a nap now.

Too soon?

Day 14. National Blog Posting Month.

I ran this morning for the first time in 8 days. Not a good idea. At all. My chest burned the entire time. I felt good for the first kilometer but quickly lost the wind in my sails. I ended up walking more than I had intended. Oh well, at least I made it out, right?

Bleh.

This cough is annoying. I sound like a bloody smoker. At least my gut issues are under control (thank you, Imodium!) which helped me to enjoy a lovely bottle of wine last night with my friends.

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Priorities, yes?

In Sickness and In Health.

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Day 7. National Blog Posting Month.

The baby’s stomach virus hit me late last night. Husband rented “A Million Ways To Die In the West” to cheer me up after what was a crappy (no pun intended) day.

After dinner I started to feel that all too familiar queasiness in the pit of my stomach. I was able to ignore it for most of the movie. There were some really funny parts and this one in particular had me laughing so hard I almost started crying!

I went to bed around 10:30 pm. Tossed and turned for a good while until it hit me. That unmistakable rumble in the stomach that says “get thee to the bathroom pronto!” A few minutes later the cold sweat hit me like a ton of bricks and everything came out. From both ends. That’s the moment when I thought it might be better just to curl up and die.

I instantly felt better but the weakness set in and hasn’t left. I had a fitful night’s sleep. The phone call to my office has already happened. I am going to try to get through the morning but likely not much else.

Pray for me. 😉

Ten Thoughts Tuesday

Day 4 – National Blog Posting Month

I’ve got a super busy day ahead and have about ten minutes to get this one out.

1. Stomach viruses are the worst.  Especially when they happen to a 13 month old.

2. Stomach viruses suck when you’re an adult and have to work all day long.

3. Breaking bad habits are hard. I guess that’s why they are bad habits, but they will be conquered.  I’m on day 4!

4. Coffee tastes really good.

5. Just when I think I am out, I get pulled back in.

6. I’m looking forward to my conference out-of-town next week but also feeling tremendous guilt for leaving the kids and the husband.

7. Did I mention how much I’m looking forward to the conference next week?

8. Wine is good.

9. It’s a lovely fall day, mild for this time of year and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.

10. Thinking of what to write every day for a month is going to be tough.