Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Alzheimer's Aunt in Limbo

Finally one of Alzheimer's Aunt's (AA) children took her to a doctor.  Not a competent doctor, not a geriatric doctor, not any kind of specialist, but an old quack whom my mom hates and believes contributed to the death of my dad's aunt (who also had dementia/Alzheimer's).  This guy is old, he is incompetent, he doesn't care.  And old ladies LOVE him.  My grandma used to go to him and my mom made her change to a geriatric doctor who didn't enable her bad behavior.  I wanted Alzheimer's Aunt to go to this same geriatric doctor, but NO, she likes Dr Quackenberger and she's old and she's blind and we can't possibly take her to a different doctor.
And taking her to ANY doctor was held up because she had no insurance, she never applied for Medicare or she threw away her card or whatever reason, she wasn't getting Social Security, she spent the whole $60,000 golden handshake from her job in well under a year and now she thinks she's "broke" even though she makes more than twice what my mom does (and my mom still works!).
So most of the concerns I begged my cousins to bring up were ignored. They asked the doctor about her "possible" dementia/Alzheimer's and the vomiting.  Nothing about mold.  Or psychosomatic problems.  The stupid doctor asked her TWO questions to determine if she has dementia/Alzheimer's.  TWO.  What are your children's ages and birthdays (she said her 41 year old son was 30 but she knew his birth date so apparently that counts as a right answer?!) and to draw a clock, which she did badly and blamed on the "blindness."  She had a basic blood test that showed her liver and kidneys were fine.  Not a test for mold exposure.  When pushed he said he could do a CAT scan or CT scan (I don't know the difference and I wasn't there to hear exactly what he said) of her head but overall he seemed completely unconcerned by any of her extremely alarming symptoms.  (and no head scan was actually scheduled)

The vomiting, he just dismissed out of hand.  That baffles me.  If I started vomiting whenever I ate, I would go to a doctor. I know this for a fact because a few years ago I started vomiting when I ate ice cream, drank milk, or (oddly) ate raw brownies or cookie dough and yes my fat ass was at the doctor to find out why!  I was also coughing uncontrollably until I vomited from that too, no food necessary.  And they immediately scheduled a barium swallow because they thought I had cancer--a tumor that was in or near both my stomach and lung pushing on them, making me cough and vomit. I didn't have a tumor, only a hiatal hernia, and they gave me some medicine and said I also had viral bronchitis, and eventually I stopped coughing. I stopped drinking milk, eating ice cream, brownie mix and cookie dough and threw up only from coughing, and that rarely.  But I didn't just blithely puke everywhere and go on with my life and expect everyone around me to not react to vomit! And to this day, milk makes me vomit unless it is organic (and in tea, it still sets me off sometimes) so guess what, I don't drink non-organic milk and when I have tea with organic milk I don't have very much and keep a plastic bag or small trash can handy.
So the end result of the doctor visit is...nothing.  Maybe some kind of scan, who knows when, seemed pretty casual.
I was on vacation (you can read all about it here; if it's the future, go back to October of 2012 for the 6 vacation entries) with no phone so blessedly for over a week I knew nothing about AA's problems and didn't even think about her.  My mom had said that if Alzheimer's Aunt called her with a pointless demand (I lost my glasses!  I unplugged my computer!  I want to go for a ride right now!) she was going to ignore it.  I guess that didn't happen; my mom didn't mention it if it did.
We came back to Hurricane Sandy (we battled it on the cruise as well) and we had our own problems to deal with so I had no time for her.  I did talk to one of my cousins, who said she had to go there every other day to deal with something or others, and that her mom is "so depressed" and that she "can't deal" with anything and she can't concentrate on books on tape and she can't read big print books and she's still having problems with medical insurance, she claims to have paid for some COBRA coverage but there's no cancelled check, direct withdrawal or credit card payment for any.
My cousin's thought on the vomiting is that Alzheimer's Aunt eats "inappropriate food" that's "too hard to eat" because one time she saw AA eat pancakes and she didn't vomit.  Well I saw her puke up half a plate of spaghetti, how is that harder to eat than a pancake? 
Apparently Alzheimer's Aunt needs a dentist now, so we have to find out about dental insurance, which for some reason my cousins think is part of Medicare but I don't think that's the case.  I know Alzheimer's Aunt doesn't brush her teeth, her breath stinks, so it wouldn't be at all surprising if her teeth are rotten.  Apparently once someone finds out about medical insurance I'm in charge of taking AA to my dentist, who is a really sweet lady from India who hugs me and is very kind.  I hate to expose her to AA's filthy body and sewer-stink mouth and irrational speech. 
A couple of weeks ago Alzheimer's Aunt demanded once again to be taken to Verizon to get the pictures off her old, broken (frustration over voice mail) phone and then to be taken to Barnes and Noble to get her Nook working.   I'm confused why someone who insists in every other sentence that she is "blind" or "can't see" needs photos or an e-reader.  We looked it up and apparently the Nook doesn't read to you (my Kindle does, I say smugly).  I tried to use the Nook to figure it out and show her, and wow what a confusing mess. I love my Kindle!  (sorry for the spontaneous ad; I do plug things I enjoy)
So the end result is, eye doctors say there is nothing wrong with her eyes.  Medical doctor says the vomiting is no big deal and there's no dementia or Alzheimer's (even though no tests were done).  So we have a person who claims to be blind, pukes constantly, and makes no sense when she talks, but she's okay!?  
I give up.

1 comment:

Barry Wheeler said...

I'm trying to reach out to the Alzheimer's community and build a readership for my blog / website (Alzheimer's Disease Support Canada) and was wondering if it would be possible for you to link back to my site.

I spend many hours research / reading on this terrible disease, and try to publish some of the great research taking place.

This is a hobby for me, and while I do not have a loved one that suffers from this disease, I am a long time community advocate for seniors living, healthy living etc.

My blog is at http://www.alzheimers-disease.net

Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Barry Wheeler
Corner Brook, NL