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  • Geriatric Specialist, my eye!

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    Old 11-05-2008, 11:21 AM   #1
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    Geriatric Specialist, my eye!

    We finally got the card for a local medicare plan and got my mother in law in to see a doctor we chose from the list the alz assoc sent me. He's supposedly a geriatric specialist. Is this normal? He came in, asked her what he could do for her today, answered my questions unsatisfactorily, took the forms I needed him to fill out for a handicapped parking placard and for admittance to the senior day program, and ended the appt without filling them out. I told him she's been complaining about her right eye. He proceeded to examine her left eye and said that nothing seemed to be wrong. (What a surprise!) I corrected him as tactfully as I could, and he did a quick look at the right eye, too, but found nothing. I told him she has toe nail fungus like you've never seen and that I've been treating it with a solution that my husband brought back with her (which looked like she had never used). It's helping already, but I believe it's a prescription and asked him for a refill. He instead said that a foot specialist should look at it for her. He never looked at it himself at all. I asked him if he can give us an idea of whether she actually has alz or if it's some other form of dementia, so we can know what to expect in the future. He again said he would refer us to someone who can do that for us. Shouldn't a geriatric specialist be able to do those things? At the end of the appt, she asked him about her eyes. I reminded her that he had already checked them and she laughed and said, "oh yeah." He gently -- but condescendingly -- informed me that she meant she needed to have an appt with an eye doctor. No she didn't! I know her, and I knew exactly what she meant. Then he informed me which pharmacy I should be using for her, because "they're the cheapest." I told him that I would be using our regular pharmacy near us, a large chain with reasonable prices, open 24 hours and has a drive through. The one he recommended isn't 24 hours and isn't a drive-through. It's in a big store, and I'd have to take her across the whole store to get to the pharmacy. I told him that considering her condition and that I'm also disabled, I planned to continue to use my own pharmacy. He informed me, rather nastily, that for senior citizens, price is important. Like it isn't for me, no longer able to work, but still waiting for disability to be approved. I'd like to see him get her across that store and wait standing in line with her and then get her back to the car. He'd change his tune! What, is he getting kickbacks? He made me so mad!!! He's an idiot!

    What's the point of going to a geriatric specialist if he doesn't even look at all her problems but instead just refers her on to someone else? And he couldn't even sign the handicapped parking placard application? I've done that before. It takes all of one minute or less! I'm not taking her back to him! It would have been closer and easier to take her to our own family doctor, and I know she'd get good care there. We were referred to our doctor by a grandma in our church! I figured a geriatric specialist would be giving her the best care out there! Wrong! I am disgusted!

    Actually, we do have to go back for the TB test to be read on Friday. If he doesn't have those forms filled out and ready for me, I'm liable to hit the roof!

    Sorry. I'm just venting. I'm so mad!


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    Old 11-05-2008, 12:28 PM   #2
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    Re: Geriatric Specialist, my eye!

    Sometimes finding the right doctor is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    My Mom's family doctor was unable to diagnose her - he knew her too long, he expected too much of her, and answered the questions himself to 'help' her.

    Once he was away, and his junior partner, his son, did Mom's check up. After asking her the usual memory questions in my presence, he sent her out of the room with a nurse (smart enough to know she might leave the building and get lost if left alone) and said to me: "Alzheimers. Nursing home. We can try Aricept and Namenda, but not likely to help." We did, they didn't.

    I was neither shocked nor surprised; I had known it for at least 2 years by then, but the old doctor 'couldn't' or wouldn't see it.

    Later, the house doctor at the NH was the best and most understanding doctor Mom ever had. He diagnosed and treated everything from toenail fungus to bladder infections, wounds, injuries, mental abberations and sleeping problems. He is a gem and I hope he is still there for the benefit of those residents.

    Outside, we had her to one neurologist. He did an EEG and told us "she is completely normal," and to her he said "you have a bright future." Yeah, right. Wheelchair, incontinence, not knowing who you are, and unable to eat or swallow. VERY bright fututre. I was enraged. I know the feeling.



    Old 11-05-2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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    Re: Geriatric Specialist, my eye!

    I fired my mothers PA (and risked losing her health insurance) I was infuriated by her. When she continued to medicate Mom with Seroquel in unsafe limits and then inform me that I didn't know what the nurses were doing to my mother when "SHE" wasn't there. I did know what they were doing as they were in constant contact with me, advising me what she was doing to my mother..

    I finally had more than enough and told her than she was fired. She told me I must be mistaken...I told her I didn't think so, that I was quite capable of making that decision even if my mother was no longer able to and she was no longer needed. AND if I heard of her coming near my mother, asking for my mother's chart or prescribing meds for my mother, I would get a restraining order for her. Then I hung up. I called the head nurse and told her the same thing. Then I called the social worker and told her the same thing. Of course it had already spread through the unit with quiet cheers because the staff hates her with a passion. The doctor is a awful doctor, but the only one on Mom's plan that goes there. Touts himself as a geriatric specialist, specializing in the AZ. patient. Yeah, all he does is cut meds and leaves the staff to clean up the mess when the patients are longer receiving enough medication to keep the on an even keel.

    Luckily daddy got health plans changed for another reason, Mom got a doctor that was a gift from god and she got put in a pysch. hospital for a 10 day stay. They took her off all meds-due to the over dosing by the wonderful PA, and restarted her so that she became balanced and managable again.

    So yes, look for the doctor that you know will give you what you feel is needed. You will know when you find him/her. If this guy wasn't it-then keep looking. I don't always feel that it has to be a geriatric specialist. But it does have to be someone who will take the time to sit and listen and watch and check. Do they take the time? will they listen to your understanding of your parent? Are they aware of the latest offerings? Are they compassionate?

    Keep looking until you find him. Ask other the nursing homes. They know who is are in my prayers....

    Old 11-05-2008, 02:41 PM   #4
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    Re: Geriatric Specialist, my eye!

    I understand your frustration Emily. Mom and Dad had a wonderful GP who was a cardiologist in his past life. He moved to our little town because he was fed up with the big hospitals. He lived just a block from Mom and Dad. I don't know how many times I have knocked on his front door on a holiday and he would even come to the house if necessary. He is why my Dad survived his first three bouts with his heart. He's Mom and Dad's age so he eventually went part time and gave up his hospital privileges. That is when we ran into trouble

    Enter the doctor that the nurses couldn't call at home.... despite the fact that it was evident that Dad was having heart issues. That was the day I called Dad's cardiologist and had him moved to another hospital without permission of the "powers that be". An out of town corinary transport unit just showed up. Dad had another stint before dark!!! Then there was the doctor that sent Dad home, unable to walk, because they couldn't figure out what was wrong. Xanax overdoses don't show up on MRI's. That's when Dad got a new doctor. This doctor wasn't able to answer all my question but he listened and sent us to those that could. He was also the one the realized Dad's dementia was not ALZ but vascular. He was great.

    Then we had Mom's second doctor. Even after extensive testing at a cognitive research center and a diagnosis of late moderate to sever dementia consistent with ALZ.... he told her she could drive if she would just pay more attention !!!SLAPS FOREHEAD!!! I called him to tell him that Mom was laying in the yard crying hysterically and screaming she wanted to die while refusing to come inside... I was told to bring her in the office..... three days later. That's when she ended up in AL so we didn't show up for that appointment.

    Now Mom and Dad have a true geriatric specialist at AL. She is in house three days a week, visits them in their room, and has treated everything from an ingrown toenail to mom's depression and is alert to UTI's testing for them before we ask. We all have her cell phone number. If we call, she will return our call and doesn't mind discussing our concerns as long as we need. She's amazing.

    Just today I went to visit a friend who's step father also has vascular dementia. She had just gotten back from a neurologist who told her step dad that he had a young brain and was good to go. My friend is trying to get his driving privileges taken from him because he is unsafe on the road. She cancelled the follow up.

    So find a doctor that you like. They are not all GOOD!!! They are just like everything else in life. There are good ones, ok ones, and those you don't want near you. I don't think you want to go back to the last one. I would also inform the local ALZ Assoc of your experience. They don't want to recommend a doctor that doesn't do what they should. Keep looking, there is a doctor out there that has the compassion and caring that you need and doesn't treat patients like an assembly line.

    Love, deb

    Old 11-05-2008, 03:09 PM   #5
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    Re: Geriatric Specialist, my eye!

    Hmmm...seems like we all can remember horror stories with certain doctors. There are some very qualified ones out there...unfortunately there are also many who don't seem to realize that we "hang on every word"...and trustingly put our loved one in their care! have every right to be MAD! I'm mad just reading this! I don't remember if it was the Osteoporosis forum or this one that I posted this a while back...but...

    there is a reason they call 'em "PRACTITIONERS".....................ofte n that's what many of them are doing...practicing on our loved ones!

    Do what you know needs to be done...we're with you! Pam

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