Friday, February 6, 2009

Whew - caregiving when the patient has bad sense of humor

It turns out that my cranky dad knew who I was all along. (see previous post)

Since dad's recent head injury, I periodically asked dad admittedly dumb questions like "who am I?" and "what year is it?"

After dinner on Friday, I asked dad what my dad is. He answered with the name of his sister. I got pissed and left the room. Apparently, after I left, mom asked him what was wrong. Dad told mom he knew I was his daughter, Cheryl, but he is resented the question.

My questions about date, time, place remind dad of the dopey nurses at Duke University Hospital who continually challenged him with the questions. (Hey, at least I do not have the traditional albeit annoying sing-songy nurse tone of voice!)

It is a crazy hour right now. I cannot sleep. I am so happy that mom and dad are peacefully sleeping (and finally in the same bedroom since dad has improved so much.)

My leg is so heavy and in so much pain. The medication that my Duke orthopedic surgeon prescribes (Ultram) does not help too much. But it is better than nothing. I lay here with ice and try to relax.

I am grateful that I have the post-graduate classes. It gives me something to study when I cannot do much else.

I have an appointment with the Duke orthopedic surgeon next week. He is gonna look at my leg. He is a great guy but he has been blowing off my leg pain for going on 2 years.

At one point, his staff accused me of making up the claims that the surgeon (1) requested that I go to a neurologist in anticipation of removing hardware in my leg; and (2) stated that he planned to remove the hardware in my leg so long as the neurologist could specifically identify where the nerve damage was located. (The surgeon told me that he did not want to perform surgery and cause any further damage.)

The surgeon provided the accusations to me in an (July 2008) e-mail and the e-mail literally made me cry. I hate the sense that a physician is abandoning me.

I have a strong sense that he just does not like me as a person. And, physicians are people too! When you don't like someone then you are less likely to want to be around them. It's a cold, hard fact.

My GP at Northwestern University gave me a referral to see an orthopedic specialist at NWU.

But I just feel a sense of loyalty to the Duke orthopedic surgeon. (Yes, the same Duke orthopedic surgeon that has abandoned me!! Nuts, huh?)

The NWU GP is concerned because (despite taking 20 mg Crestor every day and watching my diet), I have crazy high (close to 300 cholesterol). In addition, I have documented saphenous nerve damage.

My dermatologist wants me to see a vascular doctor because I am getting sores on the leg. I have not been able to obtain a vascular doctor appointment from Duke.

I wish there was some way to exercise. Then I now I could take better cre of my dad.

My brother bought me a Wii Fit. Very cool. But I cannot even balance my body evenly on the thing. The bad leg effects my balance and posture. The once very cool Wii indicated to m that my "actual age" is 22 years older than my calendar age. F-U Wii Fit.

Maybe I annoy doctors because I advocate for my dad.
I read a book - "How Doctors Think." Good book.

The premise is that once a doctor determines that he or she does not like you (I mean "like" you personally) then you will not get good care from that doctor. Makes sense I guess. I just cannot imagine why this Duke orthopedic surgeon would not like me as a person.

Other than the pain and not being able to function, I hate that my leg pain impacts my ability to care for my dad. There are many time I cannot stand long enough on the leg to even be able to wheel dad out to the car for his physical therapy. That makes me feel very guilty.

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