mimi427May 24, 2005

I took mom in yesterday for her 3-month check-up. Before going, I faxed over a two page letter to the Dr updating him on the past three months and listing questions I had. I didn't really expect him to discuss it at that time, with mom there, but thought he may be able to gloss over a few issues and possibly set up an appt for me to come in to discuss the issues. Not only had he read the faxed letter, but he responded to everything. I must say, I was at first very uncomfortable having mom right there with me and discussing issues about her in front of her that I would not have normally done (occasional incontinence, balance problems, speech problems, etc). I then realized that the conversation was going right over her head, and also came to realize that Alzheimer's is certainly marching on. I think when you spend so much time with someone with this disease, you don't realize all the changes that are going on. But her Dr hadn't seen her in 3 months and apparently he was aware of the decline she'd made. This is the first visit that he discussed things so freely in front of her. I was cringing at the thought of leaving there, getting into the car and hearing how I should not have sent him a letter about her without her knowledge and having discussions of her, etc etc etc....nothing was said, so yesterday was certainly enlightening for me in more ways than one.

I had also been concerned because mom at times seems to slur her words and her arms tremble. He feels that she has not had a stroke and that what I am seeing is just part of the disease process. He went on to explain what will happen "down the road" to her language skills.

From there, we discussed her occasional incontinence and this time he spoke directly to her explaining to her that as we age, our bladder doesn't signal our brain the same way it use to, so she can no longer depend on her bladder or bowels telling her it's time to go to the bathroom; that we need to set up a scheduled bathroom time and she needs to understand that she will have to listen to me or her daytime caregiver. Mom, being a very very stubborn woman, smiled at him and said "ok, I will"...he said "I have a feeling you are not this agreeable with your daughter and caregiver" and she just smiled. He then went on to talk about how our parents know exactly how to "push our buttons" and even though she has "this going on in her brain".... "button pushing" is something they don't forget...he mentioned Paul Reiser in his old TV show "Mad About You" use to say that the reason parents know how to push our buttons is because they installed them !! I had mentioned to the Dr in my letter how she never wants me to leave her side and when I do, even for a few minutes (literally) she says when I return "where were you? why were you gone so long? I thought you deserted me!!! I was all alone"...I have been so caught up in the guilt of these statements, and knowing her past history of being a holocaust survivor and now Alzheimer's that I lost sight of the fact that she has ALWAYS been a remarkable manipulator...man, can she lay guilt. So now, I have something to work on; getting beyond the mother/daughter relationship and not allowing her to push my buttons. I still have every intention of being there for her, to love and care for her, but to not allow her to make me feel guilty if I want to watch a TV program in another room with my DH, or to go and check emails, etc... I've rambled on enough here...Linda, are you proud of me or what??? Everyone, be well... Mimi

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In a way I know what your going though, in a way not. I am the caregiver of my mom. Thank God she can still think for herself, although sometimes I wonder.. (She'd kill me if she saw this) My mom has not been in the holocaust and doesn't have Alzheimer's. I don't think I could care for her at home if she did. She's so hard to care for now.. She doesn't do like she's told to stay well either. My mom is 85 year's old. I'd like to see her go to 86 this year.

I think what that Dr did wasn't too nice.. I think he should have taken you in another room to go over what you had sent him, or at least called you at the end of his day,
but that's just my take on this.. I think if my moms Dr did that to me, I would have walked right out.. Find another Dr if you can, if not I think your pretty much stuck with him.. I think what you did faxing him all moms papers was a great idea.

I wish I could do that.. I don't have a fax, and it's really hard for me to leave her alone.. I think ya did good..

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 11:03PM
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Mimi, i don't know if this will make you feel better or not, but if i'm running a little behind when i have to go out, al calls me on my cell phone (this phone is only supposed to be for emergencies) to ask what's taking me so long or if he doesn't call i basically have to go and tell him about my "adventure" when i come home. i ask him to come along, but he declines gracefully, he says he'd be an embaressment to me - not. there is a lady who lives on the cross street from us and maybe 5 houses down and she is a holocaust survivor, and i know from talking to her, the terrible, terrible things she went through, she likes me and our kids and always says - how's you husband, you're lucky that your doctor took the time to read your fax, here they just wouldn't they say they don't get paid, also you even have to go to the doctor to get a prescription renewed, no more just calling and asking for a re-fill. debbie

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 12:17AM
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I think the fact the doctor knew your mom was not able to understand was the reason he talked to you with her there. I have the opposite, they talk to me when Michael is there, he is not mentally changed. Just the body doesn't work. I tell them, "talk to him it is his problems."
When my mom was ill, they talked privately to dad and I, she was tip top mentally. Dad was another story, when I started taking him to the Dr. appts. they knew he did not understand, and talked to me instead.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 3:20AM
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Thanks for your reply, but I don't agree with you. I think the reason her Dr spoke in front of her is because he realized what stage she is at and that she really doesn't have an understanding of what is going on. If my mom did not have AD, or was at an earlier stage, she would have become very defensive and argumentative and given him hell for not speaking directly to her about her. One of the issues I had brought up to him in my letter was if he could tell me what stage she is at...I believe by doing what he did, talking to me about these issues right in front of her, he let me know where she is at with the disease. Ladyelle, I feel I am very fortunate to have found this doctor. He is not only a board certified Geriatrician, but also heads up the Alzheimer's and Memory Loss Center - which he is also board certified in.
Debbie, I hear you...and how inconvenient to have to go to the Dr just to get a script. My mom's been seeing this doctor for a little over two years and he's been so accomodating. I've talked to him several times about changing her medications, or I've asked him for a new one for her, etc...and he's always been happy to go along with what I've asked. I think I found a treasure that I'm not about to let go of. Ladyelle, maybe I didn't explain myself clearly in my first post and if so, I apologize. I was freaked out when he initially started discussing the questions I had, but I then realized he knew what stage she's at and what she could and could not understand.
Debbie, as always, thanks for your input...you always have such good advice, but I don't think it will work for mom. I talked to Mom's caretaker after the appt (she is here during the day when I'm working) to give her the update and she said that any time I go out and say to my mom "I'm going to the office and I'll be back by 4", my mom just sits and constantly looks at her watch, wondering when I'll come home. I know AD pts become obsessive/compulsive and this may be part of that. From now on, I will just tell her when I leave that I have to go out and I'll be back soon...not give her a specific time...the caretaker said she does much better when I don't give her a specific time. I guess we just learn as we go...and there is so very much to learn...Mimi

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 8:27AM
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Dear Mimi, You said it.....yes there is so much to learn and you are doing a great job....follow that old gut feeling. Guilt just can't have a place in this journey of caregiving...sure it comes but we have to take care of it and put it away....my saying it that you have to have a balance...hard as it may be alot of times but the Lord willing and with alot of prayers...you can find it for the most part. Sounds like you have a good doctor...I had the same thing with Mom's doctor talking in front of her....guess what....as sad as it is....with alz....they don't remember what they don't remember. God Bless and prayers coming your way....know that you are doing o.k. and take that time....you will be better for everyone if you do. Nora

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 9:01PM
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very seldom do i go into the doctor's office with al. he tells me everything anyways, whether good or bad. plus i don't like to go in because the doctor also seems to talk to me and just ignores al like he doesn't understand, he's missing his legs not his brain (but sometimes i wonder - lol), plus he says that the doctor and i just chat and i don't shut up - lol. i fgure inquiring minds want to know. but i do think he is embarassed by this so i just bring along something to knit and wait outside in the waiting room. for us, he are lucky to have a doctor there are about 30,000 - yes thirty thousand people in this city without a doctor, so you just have to put up and shut up. when al's doctor retired i thought thankgoodness but we should be lucky his file was passed on to the best cancer doctor in the area, how we ended up with a cancer doctor i don't know, but he is good infact, he delivered our son 22 years ago on monday. well we're getting ready for a storm so i better get out the candles just incase! debbie

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 11:40PM
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