Medical Issues

by Mary
(Rockledge, FL)

I do not have a medical background and am challenged and anxious when helping my parents and their physicians decide on a course of treatment for them. They have their own home near me and I work full time.


One issue that was major was getting a system for dispensing their medications. My father in particular was in a lot of pain and would take too much medication or take it at the wrong time of day, etc. He has a hard time keeping track of what day it is and also the time of day as he takes a lot of naps.

Putting his medications in an all day dispenser with little compartments didn't work because he had access to a week's portion of medication and took it incorrectly.

The final solution that is working well is putting his medications (am & pm) in small Ziplock bags marked with the week day + am or pm and giving them to my mom. Mom keeps the days of the week straight very well. Every morning, she gives Dad his medications for the day and dad takes them accordingly. Getting his pain medication correct helped a lot also as he is feeling better.

The other challenge has been when the doctor orders a test and whether or not it is really necessary. Dad fell and had a lot of pain in his shoulder that turned out to be a bulging disk in his neck. The doctor ordered an x-ray right away and then a MRI 6 weeks later with followup at a pain management specialist.

The MRI was an ordeal as the machine is very loud and the facility was a bit of a drive to get to. Later I found out on the Internet that these bulges can heal themselves over time 3-6 months, etc.
Sure enough, the pain has lessened for him.

The next time, I will check the Internet first. I would have waited on the MRI, watched his pain level to see if it was lessening and had the MRI if necessary after 12 weeks or longer. We didn't see the pain managment specialist as he is out of town, a drive. We elected to have his primary care physician continue his pain management.

It's hard because you want to make sure that they get the care that they need.

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Medications
by: Christine

Wow, you sure do have a lot on your plate. In my case, my mother (stroke survivor) is on several medications, but she is very good about monitoring them herself, to the point of making sure the number of pills left in a bottle at any given time is what it should be. But she's also not on any pain medications, nor anything else narcotic. That would present it's own problem.

It sounds like you're doing all the right things with your dad's medications. As far as the MRI goes, don't beat yourself up too much on that one. MRI's are a bit loud (I've had several) but they're not the torture that they are presented to be. (We all have to live with noise that we don't like.) What the MRI did was assure you that there was nothing more serious going on, and MRI's and CAT scans are amazing tools. Please don't hesitate when either is called for by a physician, because these tests can often find underlying conditions very early.

In your and your dad's case, the test showed nothing else which needed attention and his condition did eventually correct itself. That's not a reason to refuse further testing down the line. No one ever got more ill just because they had to listen to an MRI machine for a few minutes.

Try to keep things in perspective, and continue to love and care for your parents. Not always easy, but always the right thing for everyone involved. Best wishes and Happy Holidays.

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