Friday, February 18, 2011

Update on Dad 9 (and other stuff):

I went to see Dad at about 7:30am on my way to work. I spent about an hour and a half. He was already up and had his shower at 4:30am and breakfast at 6:30am (dhall, spinach and roti). We had a cup of coffee together and he had some toast and jam.

He is a bit more settled today and is now having his meals with the rest of the residents - a much more pleasurable experience. He really likes his student nurse Karen and she takes good care of him. Chandal his Health Care Aide is also quite good to him.

I think he has thrush again. He had a very bad case of it back in early November and by the time it was diagnosed, he was in quite a bit of discomfort as it had already moved to his throat. This time, the nurses were much quicker to diagnose it. The doctor is coming in later today to confirm that it is indeed thrush, and will prescribe the appropriate medication.

Can I just explain how it was almost disastrous the last time? He was complaining of a sore mouth for days and finally he went to see a dentist thinking that it was a sore tooth. Well the dentist gave him a check-up, charged him for the check-up and told him that he had several cavities and would have to get them filled or extracted. She did not want to do the fillings or extractions because he had just completed a heavy dose of radiation in the middle of October and she was uncertain of how to proceed. At no time after poking around in his mouth did she determine that he had thrush even though it was evident. She referred him to a specialist who determined that he would have to have all his teeth extracted and again, at no time did the specialist determine that he had thrush. He then went to his family doctor who thought it might be thrush and gave him some meds but by this time, days had passed and the thrush had spread to his throat, making it almost impossible for him to swallow. He called me at 6:05am that day to tell me that he could not swallow so I got dressed and went over. The previous evening, Padi (Robin’ sister who is a nurse) thought that it might be thrush, so I went on the internet and did some research. By the time I went over and checked his symptoms, they were all there. Mom started giving him the meds for thrush and in a few days he was on his way to feeling better. By the end of two weeks, it had cleared up.

In the meantime, he was scheduled to have all his teeth extracted at the beginning of December. He was in such a weakened state by the end of November (from the radiation treatments in October, the flu a week later and thrush a week after that), that I made a call to his family doctor to say that I did not think it was a good idea to do any extractions for a number of reasons including that he was too weak, his mouth would not heal because it is a radiation site and that his mouth was not hurting because of cavities but because he had thrush which should have been diagnosed by the dentist, the dental specialist and his own doctor. The doctor agreed that Dad had bigger things to worry about besides a few cavities so I called the specialist and cancelled the extractions. That would have been a major nightmare, a really major nightmare for him. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to put two and two together. That reminds me about a previous scenario with his teeth again which I write about in another posting. The message here: Be an advocate for your loved ones or they are going to be at the mercy of a flawed health care system And if you are the one with the health issue, make sure you have an advocate.

On a bright note, Bena is coming for a visit tomorrow so Dad should be excited about that.  She'll go directly from the airport at about 10:30am and I will pick her up about 2:30pm. Mom and June went today and they said that they had a good visit with him.  he has some soup and a slice of toast at lunch but didn't feel like much else.  I'll go home today and make something that he'll like for supper tommorrow - but it will have to be non-spicy since his mouth is sore.  That man has the strength and fortitude of ten men and the amount of adversity that he has endured would certainly have demolished lesser men.

That really was a bright note!  Take care everyone and have a great weekend.  We'll be presevering in -20C with windchills of -30C.  Is it Spring yet? Oh well, at least I am not in Australia. 
happy weekend...

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