Tenn Talk

Marketing, Medicine and Dad - This side of the Mississippi.

Location: Tennessee

27 July 2005

Today's Routine Dr. Visit

All told -it was a delightful morning! The wheelchair is a god-send for this type of day. Whipping Dad from an airconditioned car into the airconditioned building and up to the Dr. office -- swift and smooth.

The day started well as Dad was up and dressed when I arrived at 9. Lots of laughs and confusion as I "bullied" him into changing his shirt.

I'm continually amazed and delighted at the way the doctors and nurses treat Dad -- total respect and caring. No matter how long or boring his story, they always let him finish. They provide him with complete information regardless of the fact that I'm also in the room. Dad just laps up all the attention.

Bottom line -- he's doing extremely well on his current treatment plan, and no changes were made. His weight is back up by 6 pounds - but that's due to a return of a gusto-appetite.

Lots of tests, mental and physical. Dad's mmse (memory) score is 22/23 (on a scale of 1-30). Last Oct, after his TIA, Personious tested Dad at a mmse of 25/26. Dr. Brooks told me today that Dad is so competitive during "testing" that he made up answers, then gently chided the doctor for "changing the rules."

Dad told the doctor and nurse that he wanted to go back to giving himself his medications. He has been questioning why he's taking so many pills, and he suspects 2 of them are sugar pills. Dad indicated that he would take the pills only when he thought he needed them. Ooops. Dr. explained it was best if the Atria nurse continued doing it for a while. Dad continued to question this even after we got back to his apt. I got his morning dose of pills from the nurse. Then I took each one of them and explained to Dad what it was by name and what it was for. He quickly came to understand that most of them are vitamins! Only 3 teeny ones are what the doctor called "your smart pills and your happy pill!" But all together, they sure fill up that little pill cup!

I've got to remember that when Dad keeps bringing something up again and again - it's only because he has not yet received an answer he can accept.

We had lunch-to-go back in his apt -- Buddy's bar-b-que with slaw -- only this time they put the slaw on the sandwich instead of on the side. Not bad. . .

As I left, Dad had just finished his slice of Key Lime pie, drained his cup of ice tea, and was heading for a nap.

A good time was had by all.

19 July 2005

Computers, Dinners and Southern Accents

Well, Dad is in rare shape! Even tho' he didn't stay up late to watch the Braves vs the Giants, he was pleased when I told him the Braves won 6-1. Thanks to Ted Turner's cable network, Dad watches every Braves game. He knows all the players by stats and quirks.

His dining room table is now complete. Another Bill has returned so there are 4 grumpy old men at every meal. They laugh, complain, interrupt each other constantly. Dad has even come to like the "early meal schedule" as they are served their meals, then the entire staff runs to the other dining roonm to serve the "late meal schedule." So Dad, Howard, and 2 Bills just hang out at their table for an hour and gab. It's a great social time for Dad.

Dad remarked that everyone at Atria is treating him so much better now that he's back. He's absolutely convinced that they have all decided to speak more slowly. How else can you explain why he can now understand their Tennessee accent!?!!

Ah, yes, the computer news. Well, the WebTV stopped working again. Go to Channel 3 -- press TV/Video --- green light on, but all we get is a screen saver of puppies and kittens. Pounding the power button on keyboard,on the other remote, any and all random keys and buttons -- nothing. Can't get the MSN screen, much less get it to connect to telephone. I called tonight and verified that Dad's still registered. Then switched to tech services where they told me to try turning the power on the surge protector on and off a few times. When I joked and said that's like receiving instructions to "jiggle the cord," the techie actually responded: "Yes, you might try that too."

11 July 2005

WebTV - Argh!

Getting Dad's new WebTV all hooked up was fairly easy until 2 weeks later when the keyboard developed problems. Had to pound on keys to get them to register. Spent a fortune on new batteries. No help. Called techservices. No Help. Sent email to tech services. 3 days later - solution is to "reset the keyboard." Remove the batteries, press power button for 60 seconds to "drain all the power." Then reinstall batteries. This voodoo actually seems to have worked.

Walked Dad through a tutorial. He primarily wanted to read his new messages and then forward a poem rather than transcribe a new one. Got all the way through the process. Chose an old Yeats, chose dozens of recipients, wrote a message, hit SEND. . . only to see "Mail is not available at this time." So it all ended up in the "draft."

Dad was not confused by all of this - rather he was very disinterested. After lunch, after dinner, he just seems to need a nap. Or a good ball game. But he's not at all frustrated or impatient with the vagaries of WebTV.

Meanwhile, don't worry if you don't see much poetry in your in-box. Yeats and Dad are tucked in nicely.

06 July 2005

Dusty Update

Hello All!

Thought I would dust off (pun intended) this old blog and use it to send info about Dad. I'll end the good stuff via email, but save the detailed info on this blog. Things like ---- a list of his current meds. Boring, I know. But just in case someone asks . . .

Namenda - slows the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. He will be on this long-term.

Remeron -- antidepressant - mostly for sleeping too much, thoughts of death, irritability, loss of interest in daily activities. Effective dose 15 to 45 mg/day. Dad's on 30 mg/day; may decrease dose as needed. Primary side effect is weight gain directly related to increased appetite. Five years ago, when Dad was at home and before the disease had progressed to this point, we'd have tried St. John's Wort instead of Remeron.

Seroquel - antidepressant/antipsychotic. Treats delusions and confusion, and anger. Side effects: swollen legs, feet, arms. This drug is temporary and will probably cease within one month.

That's it -- unless you count the over-the-counter stuff ---- Vitamin B-12 (500 mg), aspirin (81mg), calcium (600 mg) and ICaps with Lutein (vitamins for eyes).

Atria is in charge of all meds -- whew! And it is ALSO a chance for them to pop in on Dad twice a day!

A local pharmacy deals directly with Atria, processes all of Dad's prescription insurance stuff, delivers the meds to Atria and sends the bill to me ($68/month).

You can ask questions by just responding to this post.

Think this will work? (THIS means the BLOG.) (THIS also means Dad's meds!)

Hope so!

Love to all. . .K

02 November 2004

Tomorrow's Headline

Dewey Defeats Nader!