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Old 01-10-2012, 09:10 AM   #1
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Confused

I spoke to my dad's doctor this morning. I asked what his observations of my dad were on Friday as compared to the last visit. He said he seems fine. I asked if he felt my dad was safe driving. He said that since he's driving 40 miles one way twice a week and nothing has happened, he sees no problem.
I'm very frustrated. I realize that my dad may be perking up for appointments and that his primary doctor does not have access to the therapists' records. But he was no help whatsoever. Or maybe it's good that he sees nothing.
Going a little crazy here. I told the doctor I would like to move my dad here and he asked if there were people looking in on him (friends, family, neighbors). I explained that maybe 1-3 times a week someone goes to my dad's home for a brief visit but nothing extensive. He went on to tell me about facilities in the area and I told him I don't feel my dad needs to be in a facility just yet but was not comfortable with him living alone.
I went on to tell him that my dad no longer remembers my mom's name. They were married for 21 years. That my dad usually gets most parts of a story right but there are obvious mixed up details. He said that is normal and he thinks my dad is functioning fine on his own.
All of this is in sharp contrast to the way I see things and how I feel about it. Guess I'll have to wait until I get there and see for myself. I wish the doctor was right and I'm wrong. But I think the doctor is very wrong.
Just needed to vent.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:43 AM   #2
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Re: Confused

Lee,

I really have to say that a doctor is not a caregiver or home care nurse. A doctor would not be able to see it from the angle of caregiving. The only thing you can do is to move him to your area ASAP and then you can see to it yourself. If you don't like his driving, you can stop the car and so on. Don't expect a doctor to pay attention to the details such as he forgot her name and he still drives anyway.... It is not his job in a way. I understand from the point of diagnosis, the doctor is a bit off the curve, but it is not his job to really see to the personal details of your dad's daily life.

If you need help from a long distance for a few months before you move him, it is best to hire a home care co. that has nurses who understand dementia. They can send caregivers to come and check on your Dad everyday or a few days each week.

The doctor can only prescribe drugs and offer the NH home list... It is my own experience.

The funny part is the doctor can tell you when your dad really needs 24 hours care or when he needs to go to the NH if he goes to the hospital too many times... Also my FIL's doctor used to make house calls.
If the doctor never comes to his house, how does he know how your dad is doing?

Hope this helps,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 01-10-2012 at 09:44 AM.

 
Old 01-10-2012, 11:08 AM   #3
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Re: Confused

Hey Keysey -

I read your post and was nodding my head "yes" the whole time. We had this same situation with my stepdad's doctor early on in the disease. We knew something was wrong, but as Nina said, they have a way of perking up, being on their best behavior when they're at the doctor's office, and then the doctor ends up looking at the family and saying that your loved one is "fine" when you know differently.

Listen to your own self. Get some extra assistance for your dad until you can move him closer to you. {{{hugs}}}

 
Old 01-10-2012, 12:19 PM   #4
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Re: Confused

Also about driving, it is the DMV that has the power to stop the license. First thing is to get the memory test to say that he has dementia and the second thing is to get someone or even the doctor to write a letter saying he cannot drive.

The thing is, given this, you still have to tell your Dad to stop driving. You still have to take away his license or keys one day. Remove the car and etc. Your Dad could still drive the car regardless what the DMV says.

Regards,
Nina

 
Old 01-10-2012, 03:18 PM   #5
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Re: Confused

Keysey, I had the same situation with Mom's primary physician. I don't think they get any training in Med School on dementia!... at least they don't have any practical experience to understand the disease. Even after Mom was diagnosed with Moderate to Sever Dementia consistent with Alzheimer's.. not Early!!.... her primary physician told her she could drive if she just focused more I about flipped out in his presence! I went back to the MARS center where she was diagnosed and they were the ones that stopped her driving.

You are going to see Dad. That will help you assess the situation. You will see for yourself the situation he is in. One thing you can do is set off the fire alarm. See what he does. Does he have the cognitive ability to know to get out of the house and call 911? Or does he do like my parents did and run around inside the house trying to locate the fire. Let him do what he normally does. Get in the car with him and watch him drive. Check the vehicles for dents and dings. See what he is eating. Does he cook or settle for cold cereal. Is his grooming up to his normal standard. What condition is the house. Is he hording or throwing out important items. Watch to see if he is taking medication correctly. Check his check book and see if there is a balance and if bills are being paid. Check his mail and see if there are late due notices or items he swears he doesn't know why they were mailed to him. See if he can use the tv remote, telephone, and other electronics effectively.

My bet is the doctor is wrong. He is seeing a quick snap shot of Dad at his best without delving into his day to day activities. The doctor is believing what Dad says and Dad says he's fine! Yep, Mom's doctor said she was fine too ... right up until we moved them in AL! He had no clue what was really going on That is why I always recommend, if there is a suspicion, a second opinion by some medical processional that specializes in Alzheimer's! By the time we seen the symptoms and question it is usually in the mid stages and time to do something!

Love, deb

 
Old 01-10-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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Re: Confused

Thank you all for your responses. It's refreshing to know I'm not losing my mind and that what I'm seeing isn't a figment of my imagination. I was upset after talking to the doctor but after that I called my husband and as I talked to him I really began to see that the doctor was getting what someone called a snapshot. I will do every single thing suggested when I visit. Not because I need more confirmation but because I guess seeing is believing. At the end of the day I lay down in bed and pray for God to keep my Dad safe until I can get there. The driving thing has me concerned but my dad's neighbor gets out and drives behind my dad once in a while and always reports back that he is braking when necessary, following at a good distance, paying attention to signs and signals, and staying in his lane. Then my mind asks, "For how long? What if?" and so on.
I love every one of you. It's such a nice feeling to know there are people out there that have been through this and will tell it like it is.
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: Confused

Just know we have been there done that Keysey. I remember the driving thing so very well. Her General Physician would not take away her license so I was stuck leaving her with the keys until I could get her back to MARS. There were dings and dents on the van that were unexplained. She actually hit a parked car in a parking lot and drove off. Somebody reported her and there was a hit and run citation out for her arrest. That was easy to fix with insurance information but the last straw. Neighbors also reported she backed out of the drive without looking. Yet she drove ok. The practice of driving has been so ingrained. Most have driven for 50 or 60 years at this time and they know the mechanics. We just have to pray that nothing unusual happens!! That is what they don't deal with.

So just hang in there until you get there and you will know what to do when the time comes. We will all be here supporting you along the way

Love, deb

 
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:51 PM   #8
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Re: Confused

Our doctor would do nothing about the driving either.

And in our state if you report someone for retesting, they will know who reported you.

The doctor suggested the the whole family get on board the request to avoid our aunt getting mad at any one individual!




Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
Just know we have been there done that Keysey. I remember the driving thing so very well. Her General Physician would not take away her license so I was stuck leaving her with the keys until I could get her back to MARS. There were dings and dents on the van that were unexplained. She actually hit a parked car in a parking lot and drove off. Somebody reported her and there was a hit and run citation out for her arrest. That was easy to fix with insurance information but the last straw. Neighbors also reported she backed out of the drive without looking. Yet she drove ok. The practice of driving has been so ingrained. Most have driven for 50 or 60 years at this time and they know the mechanics. We just have to pray that nothing unusual happens!! That is what they don't deal with.

So just hang in there until you get there and you will know what to do when the time comes. We will all be here supporting you along the way

Love, deb

 
Old 01-11-2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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Re: Confused

Suzy,
That is a terrible law. I saw a survey earlier asking if people over 75 should automatically be required to be tested. I think they should. Maybe even earlier. And telling the person who reported them is just causing more danger I think. My dad fusses every time I bring it up. I've even talked to my older brother and told him that as POA's (we are co) we might be held liable for any action coming from an accident my dad causes since we know of his condition. He insists everything is okay.
Did your aunt listen to you as a family? I won't stand by and watch my dad injure or kill himself or another. Just hard to think about taking that away from him. It's like stripping a person of their dignity. But better that than having him or our family dealing with potential casualties. Ugh!
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:01 PM   #10
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Re: Confused

go with your gut. he should not be driving. we did not listen to the dr about driving for my mom. my dad just took the keys away and gave her car to my niece. my mother was so angry-i will never forget it. she kept having accidents and we ha no choice. i dont think she ever forgave my dad. but in the end she didnt remember at all. good luck to you and keep posting.

 
Old 01-11-2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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Re: Confused

My dad lives in a tiny town with no public transportation. No cabs or buses. I don't know if they have any sort of van service for the elderly. Maybe taking the keys will help get him here. He loves bowling but there is no bowling alley there. He probably has someone that would be willing to drive him to bowl but not sure if they could do much else. Thank you for the encouragement, Debbie. And for sharing your experience.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:27 PM   #12
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Re: Confused

Susy, don't you just want to stomp the doctor's that put the blame on you!! Contact the Alzheimer's Association. There is a testing program that not only test mechanical skills but cognitive ability. They will revoke license of those that are unable to past the test. Call and see if there is one in your area. If not, then somebody has to take the lead and just make it happen. Yes, if your Aunt has been diagnosed with dementia, she get is an accident that is her fault, those responsible can be sued for neglect and contributing to the accident. I got the blame from Mom and that's ok I'm a big girl!!

Kensey, small towns without public transportation is a problem. That is the situation we were with Mom and Dad. It was not so bad with Dad because Mom could take him. He had a friend that would take him to his night meetings. Mom was another story. She didn't like anybody taking her anywhere. We were lucky enough to find a friend at the church who was available to transport them and a daytime care giver who was willing to drive them in their van. Mom rebelled! That is one of the main reasons they ended up in AL.

When are you going to see your Dad? You might just want to hang on until you get there?

Love, deb

 
Old 01-11-2012, 07:18 PM   #13
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Re: Confused

Deb,
Thanks for the info on driving stuff through Alz assoc. I will be looking into that. I will be at my dad's the night of the 22nd. I can hardly wait. My dad sounds happy we are coming but talking to him today brought new worries. It's those little pieces of things he can't remember. Seems to be more often now. Maybe because I'm paying more attention? He asks me a lot about the weather here and it is almost always warmer. I told him tonight he should come down here and "winter". He laughed and said he could do that but when it got hot he wasn't sure I would take him home. I just told him it doesn't get any hotter here than where he is. It really doesn't. Humidity is the main factor. I hope all of these little talks might be putting ideas in his head.

Thank you again, Deb.
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Last edited by Keysey; 01-11-2012 at 08:11 PM.

 
Old 01-11-2012, 07:38 PM   #14
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Re: Confused

Web links are not allowed so you might want to edit that out

There is not much you can do until you get there. If he agrees to come "winter" with you then use that!! It's along time before spring and you can have another excuse for him to stay by then. Remember that they don't have a good time line and don't remember well. Use it to your advantage.

You are probably noticing more. Before you are cued in you make little excuses for his little slips. Once you are cued in you begin to see the little variations that validate what you already know. ... and it could be that you are calling more and talking to him on some of those not so good days as well.

Keep pushing the wintering over idea... that may be your best bet!! Once you get him here you can hang on to him easier. The more I think about it the more I like that idea... and he was the one that came up with it

Love, deb

 
Old 01-11-2012, 08:14 PM   #15
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Re: Confused

I laughed heartily at your post. Thank you for the info on links. Won't make that mistake again. And yes, I think the wintering idea will work just great. Kids will love it. Warm enough to fish without burning or sweating. Loving it!
I call my dad a lot. Always have. Since joining this board I have been learning things. My ears are open and I'm paying a ton of attention to every little detail. And who do I have to thank? Each person that shares an experience. And each of you that makes time for me.
Love, Lee
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