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Archive for March, 2013

Are you kidding me Doctor?!?!?!?


I finally got in touch with her doctor and expressed my concerns.  He was at another dialysis center that day.  I told him I was quite concerned that something was seriously wrong with Clara.  I even commented if she had something like cancer, I would never want her to be burdened with that knowledge.  I was a bit cautious about the possibility of opening a can of worms like that.  However, I knew in my heart there was something going on with Clara that could not be ignored.  The doctor said he didn’t think she had
cancer.  I asked him if he thought she was dying and to my surprise and disappointment he laughed at my question and then said no.  I reminded him that she had been on dialysis for over five and a half years now, asking if her body could be breaking down.  He said no.  I again emphasized I was certain something was seriously wrong.  He replied that her last labs didn’t show anything significant.  I commented that blood work doesn’t show everything (and they only ran labs relavent to her dialysis) and she has agreed to go to the hospital and that we needed to figure out if she had something treatable.  Up to this conversation, I felt like I had a very good working relationship with Clara’s doctor.  I was shocked when he said that the emergency room isn’t a place to dump my mother-in-law off and Medicare would not pay for endless unnecessary tests.  I was offended at the suggestion this was not about my concern for my mother-in-law.  I firmly assured him this was not a case of me trying to get my mother-in-law off my hands to give me a break.  That I am involved in her daily care, and I’m saying something is very, very wrong with her.  She was extremely weak, she had hardly any appetite, what she did eat caused diarrhea and she is too weak to get up and get to the bathroom.  The doctor still seemed unconcerned, and a bit apathetic.  This conversation took place on Monday, and he said he would be at her dialysis center on Wednesday, and he would talk with her and check on her then.  I could not believe it, I left Clara at dialysis convinced going to the hospital was in her best interest, and I knew once I picked her up and took her home, that opportunity for her to agree to go to the hospital would be gone.

I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at www.createspace.com/3469034

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 As a result of my ongoing concern for Clara, I called the other daughter, the one I had the spat with.  I left her a message asking her to call me after her visit with her mother on Saturday.  I wanted to know what she thought after observing her Mom.  She did not call me, which I of course read into.  On Monday I called her at work to see her feelings on her mother’s condition.  She said she didn’t think her mother was doing that bad.  She thought it was just her usual winter deterioration.  I was still convinced that something was wrong.  Another week had gone by and Clara now had this hacking cough that sounded deep in her chest.  She was extremely weak now.  It reminded me of six years before when she had pneumonia and was too weak to hold up her head.  It was time to leave for dialysis and Clara could not get up from her chair at all.  I helped lift her up wondering how we would ever make it to the car.  As we walked to the car she was very unstable on her feet and I think we both quietly feared she would fall.  After just a few steps, we would have to stop for Clara to catch her breath.  It was an ordeal getting Clara in the car and once we did I told Clara that I was concerned for her and I felt she was worried too.  At first Clara just listened.  I told her that I had not seen that much weakness in her since her bout with pneumonia and my concern was that after her dialysis treatment she would be in an even weaker condition.  I continued that I know how much she hates the hospital, but that I hate to see her suffer if something in her body is out of balance that we can fix and give her relief.  I told her I thought it would be best that after dialysis, we would plan on going to the emergency room to help figure out why she was so weak.  When Clara agreed to my plan I knew how scared she was.  I told her I would call her doctor and let him know what our plans were.  It was quite a chore getting Clara out of the car into dialysis and into her treatment chair but she seemed emotionally and mentally prepared for going to the hospital.  With Clara, that was more than half of the battle. 

I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at www.createspace.com/3469034

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As we went into the month of January, Clara seemed to get her winter head cold a bit early.  Something about Clara just didn’t seem right to me and I was worrying about what was going on.  I expressed my concern to Clara’s other daughter, not the one I had the spat with weeks before.  In the past when Clara would start with congestive heart failure, this daughter could actually hear it in her mother’s voice when she would talk over the telephone before I would hear it.  She said she was coming down the next day for her weekly visit and would observe her.  She agreed she seemed a bit weaker but didn’t think she had the chest congestion yet.  By the weekend Clara seemed worse to me, having more and more difficulty getting up.  She had several bouts of diarrhea, not once making it to the bathroom because she was too weak to get up out of her lazy girl chair.  While I wasn’t thrilled with having to clean her up throughout the day, my concern for Clara was growing.  Carly, our dog delighted in all of these accidents.  When she would follow me over to Clara’s apartment, she would sniff Clara’s butt, in true dog fashion as I escorted her to the bathroom.  Clara and I would be yelling at Carly to stop.  Once I got Clara in the bathroom, I would have to get Carly back to our side of the house and shut the door.  Even with Clara wearing an adult diaper, it was still a mess to clean up.  We would keep small trash bags under her bathroom sink so we could wrap the soiled items up tightly.  There were a number of times that Carly got into the trash and got out the small bag with the soiled adult diaper in it.  I would find a chewed up messy diaper in my front yard!!  I always loved having to clean Clara’s poop up twice!

I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at www.createspace.com/3469034

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If only Zack was home 24/7…..


I bounced back rather quickly from my bronchitis, but Clara wasn’t doing well at all.  She was becoming weaker, asking for more and more help in getting out of her chair.  I would remind her that due to my injuries, I really needed her to get up herself because it was too hard on me.  She would try again and sometimes she could get up, but other times she really could not.  Despite me swearing I would not hurt my body one more time by picking her up, I would pick her up.  There was no choice, she physically was unable.  Sometimes, Zack would be home and I would call on him to help.  He is so strong he could pick her up like a rag doll.  I was always grateful for the times he was home when Clara needed help. 

I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at
www.createspace.com/3469034

 

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