Monday, June 11, 2007

'My Bottom Hurts'

I try to work at the computer in the morning and do medical visits, mother care in the afternoon, but today Mom had a physical therapy appointment at 11 am.
Then at 2 pm she had a monthly check-up with her doctor, and I had a physical therapy appointment at 3 pm for a recent whiplash injury (rear-ended at a stoplight).
The scheduling was a bit tight, but there was nothing I could do about it.

PT appointment
Mom did her range-of-movement exercises with Cindy, the PT, her eyes closed all the while. I coached her to cooperate with the therapy, begging her to open her eyes now and then.
At the end, Cindy asked, "Okay, Evelyn, how do you feel? Do you hurt anywhere?"
"My bottom hurts," Mom answered.
What an odd statement: only her arms had been involved in the exercise, and she had given the same answer last Thursday at her first appointment for this round of physical therapy.
I got worried: those words were exactly what she'd said in April when she'd been diagnosed with a bladder infection. Since then she's been on an antibiotic daily to prevent UTIs, but who knows? She might have one again.
Mental note: report this to her doctor at our 2 pm appointment.

Doctor appointment
At 12:30 took Mom back for lunch and waited, then took her to the bathroom and made sure to arrive a little early for her doctor's appointment, so I'd have a better chance of getting to my 3 pm PT.
Once we were seen, I went down the list of topics to discuss with Dr. Rosen:
1) Conjunctivitis--seen by ophthalmologist and treated.
2) Spreading rash under both breasts--not responding to Neosporin. The doctor said it was a fungal infection and prescribed a cream.
3) Range of motion exercises being done per Dr. Motamedi. Thoracic support brace not yet bought.
4) TIAs? After one morning when she was very agitated and tried to get out of bed at 6:30 am, she reported that "The lights went out." That was similar to what she said in 1995 when some kind of event like a transient ischemic attack took place.
5) Possible UTI? Even though she's on Macrodantin?

Dr. Rosen said we should get a catheterization done, even though we'd agreed on our last visit not to do any more of those, instead to depend on the Macrodantin.
"It will have to be done by Home Health at her residence," I said. "I don't want to take her to the UCLA med center."
"Okay, I understand," said Dr. Rosen.
But then we debated whether reactivating the Home Health contract would mean that her outpatient physical therapy had to end.
"Oh, I guess I'll just take her to UCLA," I concluded.
"Okay, I'll call them and make sure they are expecting you tomorrow," she offered.

Then she told us her news: she's 4 1/2 months pregnant with her second child. She'll be off for three months Oct. 1 through Jan. 1. It was just a year ago that we started with Dr. Rosen after Dr. Charette had to take time off for her pregnancy with twins.

I hauled Mom up on the examination table so Dr. Rosen could check her perineum for bed sores, and yes, she still has a stage one bed sore on her backside.
Then I dressed her again and went to the checkout desk.

My PT appointment
Suddenly I realized that it was 1:40 pm and I still had to get Mom back to her residence before driving to my own physical therapy appointment at 2 pm.
But at the checkout desk another elderly patient was involved in some tedious discussion with the clerk, who was checking records on line.
I waited for two minutes, then just walked out the door, telling myself that all I needed was the next appointment in a month. I could call later for that.
I forgot that I needed the paperwork for the catheterization. I thought the orange piece of paper I was holding would suffice, but it was just a record of today's appointment and results to be given to the doctor's own clerk.
I jogged back to Ocean View, pushing Mom in her wheelchair at a breakneck speed.
I toileted her and got her situated in her recliner.
Then I negotiated the two elevators to the underground parking and drove to my own appointment. (There are two elevators and code pads to punch in so that no one on the memory care floor can escape.)
I was only five minutes late, and the therapist didn't seem to mind.

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