Ruling out medical causes for sudden personality or physical changes is usually my first focus. The fog I’m in and the pumping adrenaline turns me into an emotional Dr. Spock as I try to rule out an incontinent event, dehydration, toothache, fever, clumsy act, UTI, etc.
UTI assessment poses particular diplomatic maneuverings because it generates a Pavlovian scene. I keep a stash of UTI home test strips at the ready to avoid making him more annoyed by suggesting a trip to the primary care. As soon as he sees me coming with the strips, he gets defensive, rightly thinking I’m thinking something is wrong with him!! And of course if some bacteria got into his urinary tract it’s my fault. I’m just venting…
Oh but a neurologist saying not to do things to upset our loved ones with dementia causes steam to burst out of my eyeballs. Sure we are doing everything in our powers to annoy them and get them agitated. It’s okay for the docs to annoy us with their insensitive platitudes. My pre-dementia agitated sweetie would say things like, “You want me to get mad!” I would respond, “it’s not in my best interest to do that,” “why would I want you flipping out,” “I feel so happy when you’re mad as a hatter.” Well not all those every time or else he could justify an outburst. I keep returning to my mantra, PHYSICIAN, HEAR THYSELF! No doubt there are some great docs out there and frankly now that I have become immersed in the medical industrial complex there is no way I could ever manage that profession BUT something’s got to give soon. They have to change their paradigm when it comes to treating dementia patients AND their caregivers. We are just as victimized by the disease. Everyone says caregiver life expectancy is shortened because of our journey. So I’m really sorry for railing against doctor’s guidance and wisdom. I know how hard it is to find a doctor that’s convenient, has available appointments, has been referred, etc. so firing a provider is most times not practical but there has to be a cure for dementia, not only to stop our loved ones from suffering but to give us some peace.
Just had a thought after picking up Chaos’ poop – seems I am most creative when dealing with poop – anyway how about a program called DOC FOR DEMENTIA DINNER or TRIPLE D. To be board certified they have to eat “x” number of dinners at their patients homes. Those docs that bring meals get extra points toward their next recertification. Whattdya think?