Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dentist Visit

     Well, the good news is that nothing appears to be wrong with Boo's dentures and he's quit taking them in and out several times daily.  The bad news is that the dentist was definitely a BAD experience.  The dentist was impatient and yelled at Boo.  Naturally, we will never return there.  I wish there was a way that we as patients could rate medical professionals---ability to communicate with patient and family, time spent waiting in office for scheduled appoiintment, professionalism of office staff, knowledge of community resources and follow up with test results or patient questions.  I am more than willing to work with many less than ideal situations.  Knowing patient identified strengths and weakness of different doctors, medical practices and hospitals would help me be aware of what I need to follow up on myself.  For example, if there tends to be a long wait time in the doctor's office, I can schedule appointments first thing in the morning.  If follow up on test results is an issue, I know to ask how long it usually takes to get the results and then call myself.  Some things are not negotiable.  I expect a professional to behave in a professional manner.  I expect the doctor or nurse to be able to clearly communicate with Boo and with me.  I expect an effort to communicate with Boo.  Some days he can communicate better than others, but he needs to be acknowledged.  I expect to know what new medications are, hopefully, going to do and possible side effects (major ones).  I also expect either the doctor or the nurse to ask if there are any other issues or any questions.  End of complaints!  ***Most of Boo's doctors have been great.  There have only been a few really bad experiences.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Long Night for Boo

     Last night was difficult for Boo.  He was restless and uneasy.  Even with medication to help him rest, he woke frequently and wanted assurance that everything was alright.  His blood pressure and glucose readings were both within normal limits.  He wasn't particularly hungry or thirsty---although he did finally agree to eat some yogurt and three peanut butter crackers about 3:00am.  He had no pain anywhere.  Who knows?
     This morning Boo took his dentures out four times.  There are no visible sores or blisters in his mouth and he says his dentures aren't bothering him.  Because  Boo can't always tell me what's bothering him, I try to pay attention to what he does.  I made an appointment for him to see a dentist.  It took three different dentists before I found one willing to examine Boo and take his disabilities into consideration.  Having learned the hard way that many medical professionals are (sadly) not very considerate of patients with disabilities, I question new doctors BEFORE they see Boo.  It's easier to avoid an unnecessary bad experience than to deal with the aftermath.  Tomorrow Boo will see the dentist.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Evening Walk

Starting his evening walk

Still smiling for the camera
     This evening Boo finally relented and let me take a couple of pictures.  It had cooled off a little and he was anxious to take a walk.  Tonight he was fascinated by Mom's sweet gum bush.  I think he just realized it smells good. 
     One of the neighborhood children demonstrated his bike riding skills.  The child had just learned to pop a wheelie---and Boo encouraged him!  I do hope his mother doesn't get upset about that.  Boo talked to the young Evil Knievel about fifteen minutes---which is a major accomplishment for Boo.  He's aware of the pauses in conversations when he searches for words and seldom initiates conversations with anyone he doesn't know for that reason.  An accomplishment a day for two days in a row!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tying Shoes

     One of the things that Boo has been unable to do for himself since his second stroke is tie his shoes.  To facilitate self dressing, I've bought shoes that fasten with Velcro---and that usually works quite well.  Today I was making  Montessori inspired dressing blocks for a friend's toddler.  Boo picked up the one for lacing and tying.  After tying several knots in the laces (I have great difficulty untying knots!), he has retaught himself to tie his shoes.  OK, this may not seem like a great advancement, but I think it is.  He's had to develop the fine motor skills to physically tie bows again and, most difficult for him, he's had to learn to feel the laces rather than depend on seeing them as his vision continues to worsen.  Progress is made one small step at a time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Eventful Night

     Boo and I spent last night at Mom's house while she's away.  I thought I'd get more sleep if I set her security system so that I'd know if Boo openned an outside door.  (Usually he stays in at night, but he's been getting up during the night and watching TV or listening to an audio book.  Once in a while he'll head out the door.)  He set the alarm off twice after midnight last night.  Now he's afraid to touch the outside doors at Mom's because the alarm might sound.
     This morning Boo had an appointment with his family doctor.  Because his BP is so low now (What a change!), she eliminated another BP medication.  He was very alert and talkative---probably the first time the doctor has seen him like that.  Since Boo had the renal stint put in, we've been able to eliminate two of his BP medications and reduce the ammount of two others.  However, he has lost ten pounds since it was put in also.  His lack of appetite may be related to his lowered BP.  So, I'll work on increasing his caloric intake and reducing mine. 
     In two weeks, Boo will another appointment to reevaluate his medications for his blood pressure and also for dementia.  Before his family doctor makes further changes, she wants to talk to his cardiologist and his neurologist.  We'll see...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rain Drops Keep Falling

     This is an interesting day.  It's raining, cold and rather dreary.  Guess who wants to take a walk?  We did take a brief walk when it was just sprinkling.  Both cats sat in the doorway, watched the crazy humans and refused to set foot outside.  Now it is POURING.  Boo wants to walk downtown and see what's happening.  This time of day there are probably a dozen and a half people downtown---and I'm being optimistic.  This is just not the most exciting time to check out the town.  Maybe Boo will be satisfied letting the cats chase a laser light inside.  Hopefully, the cats will burn off excess energy and it will keep all three (Boo, Boudreaux and Peggy Sue) occupied. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Sad Day

     This is a quiet day for Boo.  He's easily confused right now and twice in the last four hours has cried because "I can't remember things I know."  Boudreaux and Peggy Sue have taken turns sitting in Boo's lap.  Both of them seem to sense when he needs comfort and both are very good about accepting Boo rubbing their fur the wrong way or hugging them.  My job today is to help Boo reorient himself or distract him if he can't focus enough to reorient himself.  I have offered Boo medication to help calm him several times today, but he didn't want it.  Almost always he'll ask for medication when he realizes he's upset or confused---or at least accept it if I offer it.  After supper and a shower, I think it will be time for some medication unless things improve.
     I can't really imagine being confused as Boo often is.  It must be even more difficult to be confused and to be aware that you're confused.  There have been a few times when he seems to be grieving for the loss of his memory.  Today is one of those times.  Boo has accepted and learned to cope with so many disabilities---loss of sight, using a cane or walker, etc.  His attitude has been awesome through everything.  He's certainly entitled to grieve as he needs.  My concern is that he not become so bogged in sadness that he can't function. 
     On a brighter note:  Boo's blood pressure is still well under control.  In fact, his blood pressure tends to rise when he gets confused.  Today that did not happen.