Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Scary Christmas

Dealing with the healthcare system can be a trying experience when you are under stress. It requires great patience, tolerance of stupidity, repetition of the same information and the same tests, either because doctors don't trust each other's judgment or it isn't written in a readily accessible place and the computer is too much trouble. Whatever the excuse, it's aggravating.

Mom woke upon Christmas Eve morning with slurred speech and the left side of her face was slightly drooping. I didn't notice at first because she didn't vary her routine , she brought me my tea, responded with your welcome, took her coffee and went outside to smoke. A little later I was asking her about what else she wanted for dinner and I noticed she couldn't say Brussels sprouts. Convincing her that something was wrong took a monumental effort because she can be quite stubborn. Meanwhile it made me look like I was being mean, until the diagnosis came back, then everyone talked about how it was a good thing I was so persistent.

I took her to the hospital where the triage nurse yelled at me for taking too long ...then they took her into a treatment room and left us there for an hour. Then they came back and took her blood pressure (243/127) and left us for another hour. Meanwhile mom is getting frustrated and wants to go home, swears she isn't spending the night. It took five hours to get her CT scan and then she consented to being admitted overnight. She made me promise (long story), in front of witnesses, that I wouldn't tell my brothers.

She's home now, her blood pressure is a little lower and she told the doctor (in no uncertain terms) she wasn't going to quit smoking. The neurologist asked her where she was from, turns out her parents are native born Germans also. She changed tactics immediately. It was pretty interesting. Mom's orthoneuro evaluation was encouraging, once doc got her past CN 3,4,6. Mom really doesn't understand the concept of following the doctor's finger. They finally ended up telling her which way to look and you aren't really supposed to do that. The damage seems to be confined to CN 7 and 11. That's almost funny. Motor skills and strength are unaffected, she is just difficult to understand sometimes. And she drools a little.

Her cholesterol is great 172, HDL of 67, triglycerides were 54 but they still want her to take Zocor, I'm not really sure about that since the side effects are more likely to outweigh the benefit. I can understand about the atenolol but I will be watching her diet because she doesn't need Type 2 diabetes on top of everything else.

She loved her Christmas presents, homemade truffles from the Minstrel Boy (they deserve their own post!), thermal underwear and bright red slippers, Shai Shai got liver treats and I got a handmade molcajete and Open Fire by Ronnie Montrose which has the amazing and haunting instrumental "Town Without Pity" that I've been looking for, plus an iTunes gift card. Dinner rocked, even though mom wasn't supposed to eat any of it. Standing rib roast, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and southern greens.

Bad start, decent ending.

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