O.K…… I survived taking my folks to the doctor. Granted I lost a few years off my life but what the hell—-I’ll probably have dementia by then anyway.
I got to their place and my mother was ready, feeling miserable, but ready. I tried to herd my father toward the door but he got cranky and said he needed breakfast. I asked my mother if he’d had breakfast and she said, “ohhhhh, maybe not.” Mind you it was 10:30 in the morning and he had an 11:00 doctor’s appointment…..but why rush these things? So I made him a piece of toast and then suggested that he take off the second belt he was wearing around his stomach as the one that was through the belt loops would probably do. He got rather angry as I suppose I would if someone tried too take my clothes off so I said “fine, wear two belts…just eat your toast.” He guzzled a huge glass of milk down and I tried to get his coat on. He asked for more milk so I gave him half a glass and he sarcastically muttered something about my magnificent generosity being overwhelming. See? He is still my Dad sometimes.
I finally got them into the car and headed over to Carle. Due to the construction the only place to drop people off for the South Clinic is at the valet parking at the old Cancer Center. So we waited and waited and WAITED in line. I finally pull up, pull my car keys off my keychain and start looking for a wheelchair. A rather frazzled parking person said, “oh are you looking for a chair?” and when I said yes, said “well you can’t park here—we don’t have any over here. You have to park at the north clinic and they’ll escort you back.” I looked at her dumbfounded and said, “can’t I get one from the south clinic lobby?” as I’d been looking in the cancer center lobby. She said there weren’t any there either and walked away. So then I tried to pack my father back into the back seat…which isn’t easy by God and grumpily zoomed over to the north clinic. I get my parents out—-no easy task and by this time we were late for the appointment so I wheeled my mother up to the desk and told her to have them call her doctor’s office while I parked the car. I got back and there I am with my mother in a wheelchair and my father with his shillelagh—-his top speed is a bout 10 feet an hour. At this point we have to go through the hospital lobby, over to the north clinic elevators, down to the basement, through the walkway under the street into another elevator up to the fifth floor over to adult medicine…..all at 10 feet per hour. I thought about crying but decided against it.
Someone came up and asked if Dad needed a wheelchair. I asked Dad if we could get a wheelchair since we had to go so far. “No, no no, I have two feet. I’ll walk.” We moved another foot or so and someone else came up and asked if he needed a wheelchair. I have a feeling I was sounding increasingly shrill as I tried to convince him (JUST GET IN THE WHEELCHAIR FOR MOM, O.K.??) but eventually someone got him in a wheelchair and the two of us took off pushing our cargo. Finally got up to adult medicine. At this point I’m sweating up a storm having been moving people and running all over the place wearing a winter coat. We got into the doctor’s office and I wanted to collapse. Found a hair tie, pulled my hair back and fanned my face.
Had a few touch and go moments when Dad didn’t want to get weighed or have his blood pressure taken but we got through it. The good news is that my father is very healthy. The bad news is of course that he is considered to have ‘moderate to severe dementia.’ And of course they don’t know the half of it….I don’t think there’s anything moderate about it at this point. He is on the highest dose of any drugs that could possibly help. The doctor was wonderful although I don’t if my mother picked up all of it. Basically we are all just waiting for when Mom is ready. The doctor said that someone with severe Alzheimer’s normally wouldn’t necessarily have all that long to live but given how healthy Dad is…..who knows. The quintessential Good News/Bad News….or Bad News/Good News….depends on how you look at it I guess.
I was most worried about Mom at this appointment but her blood levels were fine and her lungs were o.k. so she just has to suffer through the rest of this miserable cold thing she’s got. The doctor had me make another appointment for my mom in about four months. She said I didn’t have to make one for my father as when he goes in the nursing home his primary care will shift there. She also agreed that at this point we can stop seeing the neurologist because.…you know…..there’s nothing else to do.
So I bring my parents back down to the south clinic lobby. Bring my mother’s urine sample to the lab. I give it to the woman and tell her it should be all labeled. She looks at it and says, “oh, not very well.” I glare at her and she spells my mother’s last name and asks if that is correct. I said it was. She asked what time it was taken and I said, “oh, isn’t it on there?” and she said “ohhh, 5:00 p.m.” So I guess it WAS labeled just fine, WASN’T it??? So I get back on the elevator, go across the walkway to the north clinic, get onto another elevator then out through the lobby, across to the parking garage, then UP another elevator and finally to my car. I drive back to the old the cancer center where it says ‘for patient loading and unloading’. I get out to go get my parents from the south clinic lobby, which although it is only 30 feet from the cancer center lobby cannot be reached from there without going down and then up yet another fucking elevator. So one of the valet parking guys comes out and starts yelling “hey lady—you can’t park there.” I was really not in the mood for this at this point. So I calmly….ok, not really…said I’M NOT PARKING I’M TRYING TO PICK SOMEONE UP. He said “where are they?” and I said “THEY’RE IN THE LOBBY IN A WHEELCHAIR….HOW ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO GET THEM….WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO GO, HUH?” He shrugged and walked away.
I went into the lobby to get my parents and my mother said to me, I kid you not….."where have you been?" WHERE HAVE I BEEN? I couldn’t even be polite…I just said "WHERE HAVE I BEEN?"
I got them home….got my mother’s wheelchair, got her up the ramp and she said she thought she might be having a reaction. Turns out her blood sugar was 33. I poured a bunch of orange juice down her, waited for it to come back up…heated them up some soup and went back to work where I proceeded to feel like a limp rag for the rest of the day.
I may need some more Kevin Welch and Kieran Kane songs in my dreams tonight….