Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Two Appointments, Lots of Rain and a Few Surprises

Robert had two doctor appointments on Monday.  I schedule his GP appointments for Monday mornings so Robert can visit on Sunday and have an overnight visit.  I’m carefully counting the overnights since we are only allotted 73 for the entire year.  (I did find out that we can pay $182 per night if we go over the limit).  It’s great to have a back-up plan but sheesh – for that amount Robert should be staying in a fancy hotel not sleeping on a sofa bed in the middle of my family room! 

His second appointment was with the Memory Specialist and was set for Monday afternoon.  Even though I had to take a full day off work in order to accommodate the appointments it worked out perfectly. 

Except for the rain. 

I forget that Robert does not like to get wet (he won’t argue about his showers but he does want to dry off pretty quickly). 

We set out for the first appointment only to have Robert stop in his tracks once we went out the front door because it was raining. 

“Can you open the umbrella, please?”

I’m carrying Robert’s “just in case of an accident” bag, my purse, my bag with information for the doctor and trying to steer Robert toward the car.  I thought we could make a run for it.

“Robert, the car is just around the corner of the house.  Get moving.”

He won’t budge.  I expect to hear him start screeching, “I’m melting, I’m melting!” any minute now.

Instead he says, “My walker is getting wet.” 

Okay, okay.  The umbrella is now open.  I’m holding it over you and your walker (oh, never mind me over here getting soaked – thank goodness I have a hood!).

We get to the car and he makes his slow climb into it while I’m still juggling the (open) umbrella, bags, purse and now the walker which he has let go of. 

He gets in the car but I can tell he’s worried about his wet walker.  I assure him I brought a towel so he can dry it off once we get to the doctor’s office.  This seems to satisfy him.

We’re off to see Robert’s new GP since he no longer sees the New Home doctor.  Remember the guy who didn’t even realize Robert had been in the hospital, didn’t notice his pneumonia nor had any idea Robert had seizures even though he had been “treating” him for a year and a half?

Yeah, Robert has a new doctor now.  But I’m not bitter.

Robert has his own doctor now and sees her every 60 days since that is the rule of New Home (presumably following a rule set by the state).  The Most Awesome House Manager attends these appointments and is tasked with bringing the doctor’s orders prepared by the New Home nurse so Robert’s doctor can sign off on his medication refills. 

Robert has seen this GP three times now and she is really terrific.  She is friendly and personable.  She reads the chart (what a concept).  She listens to what I have to say.  She thinks it is unnecessary to see him so frequently but does anyway. 

The House Manager came to the appointment frustrated and without doctor’s orders.  Apparently, New Home nurse did not prepare the doctor’s orders this time.  Or last time.  Oh, and not the time before that.  (That’s three for three if you’re keeping score).

This is more frustrating for the House Manager than it is for me (although it’s going to get pretty frustrating very quickly if Robert runs out of his medications).   I’ve been trading calls with the area director to see how we can resolve this issue.  Unfortunately, this type of disorganization (or just plain incompetence) just creates more work for the House Manager and, frankly, is quite embarrassing in front of the doctor.

Doctor’s orders or not, by 10:00 a.m., the doctor had given Robert a clean bill of health and we had his next appointment scheduled within the 60 day timeframe.   The doctor’s office is mere minutes from my house so we made a quick stop so I could get a coffee and Robert could get a shake and we were home. 

The plan was to have an early lunch and then get to his next appointment in plenty of time (allowing for last minute bathroom breaks or paralysis in the rain).  Since I never know how long those appointments will last, I planned on having Robert over for dinner after the appointment and then taking him home. 

At the appointment, Robert did the usual battery of cognitive and physical tests.  There is always more than one doctor at these appointments (after all, it is a teaching hospital) and they confirmed he was not walking as well as he was last year.  There was a debate whether the loss of his right field of vision was encroaching on the center field of vision.  They obviously had a difference of opinion on the matter and stepped out of the room to discuss this.  When they returned, the vision tests were redone and the senior doctor’s opinion that the loss did not include the center field won out.

The right field of vision is still worse than it was last year which would have been good to know earlier in the day when I held up a banana in one hand and an apple in the other and asked Robert which he wanted to eat with his lunch.

He couldn’t even see the apple so he thought I was only holding a banana (and probably thought I was crazy for giving him a choice of a banana or . . . nothing).  Once I realized he couldn’t see the apple, I moved it so he could see it and he chose both. 

Robert does like to eat.

The appointment continued with Robert asked to write a sentence.  Usually, he writes “God loves you” but this time he added “if you are a Christian.”  I actually think he made the sentence longer because the doctor asked him to include a noun and a verb and a subject and Robert looked at him like he was speaking a foreign language.  (Note to doctor: Let’s pass on the diagram a sentence test next time).

Robert knew he was supposed to write a sentence and knew he was supposed to do something “extra” but didn’t know what.  He just decided to make it longer to appease the doctor. 

Once we were done, we walked out to the car and the rain had stopped.  Robert was convinced it was a blessing from God.  I tried to prepare him that it was still going to rain later but he wasn’t having any of it.  God stopped the rain and he wasn’t going to let me ruin the moment. 

In other words, I couldn’t rain on his parade.  Bah da bum. (I can’t resist a good pun).

I picked up a cheeseburger and fries for his dinner since by this time I was too tired to cook.  Robert got in the house and started watching the weather report while eating dinner.  After a few minutes, I realized the weather report was actually a special program because there were possible tornado sightings in the county where New Home is located. 

Great.  I get to drive 45 minutes into a rainstorm which may or may not include funnel clouds. (Apparently, I should stop questioning blessings when Robert declares one.)

After a few texts with the Most Awesome House Manager, I decided to keep Robert overnight again (shh! It’s a secret!) and take him back to New Home in time for his morning medications.  He was thrilled to stay another night and I was thrilled I didn’t have to drive into a storm (even though it meant waking up at 4:00 a.m.). 

Two appointments, lots of rain and a few surprises.  Not a bad day at all!   

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