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Alzheimer’s & Dementia – Through The Eyes of a Caregiver Part III

Part III

Will The Question Finally Be Answered?

 

The doctor finally comes back into the room where mom and I are waiting.  Firstly, he gave us a prescription for mom’s urinary tract infection. He then continued by asking mom some questions.  The questions were general questions about her memory, I assume to see if she realized what was going on. The doctor’s asking her things like, does she forget to eat when I’m not home.? Does she forget what she’s doing in the middle of doing a task?  Heck, that happens to me all the time!

Mom’s answer to these questions absolutely shocks me!  Mom looks at me like she has been doing every time the doctor asks her a question.  As all the times before, I told her, I don’t know what’s in your head, so you’re going to have to answer the doctor.  After I said that, mom turned and told the doctor that she’s not having any trouble at all! Now, as you can imagine, I am literally falling out of my chair in disbelief right now!

Drum Roll Please!

As I was picking myself up off the floor, the doctor began asking mom about some of the things that I had mentioned to him in our conversation earlier.  Mom responded by telling him that she was doing great! He told her that he was concerned that she had a urinary tract infection and had not told anyone or attempted to seek medical attention.  Thank you very much! Checkmate! At this point, mom should give in because the doctor has got her on that one! My tongue was already about chewed clean off.

 

At last, the doctor decides it’s time to bring up the results of the memory test.  At this point, I’m ready for some facts. But then again, I’m not sure I want to see mom’s reaction if the news is bad.  He tells mom, well both of us that the results reveal that mom shows mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Mom’s reply? “I hope I never get that!”  No, she just doesn’t get it.

The doctor went on to try to explain to her that she did, in fact, have mild to moderate stage Alzheimer’s.  Mom turned to me and asked if I thought she had that too? At this point, my only choice was, to be honest. And as expected, it didn’t go over well.  The silent treatment began.

A New Medication

Meanwhile, the doctor gave us a 15-day sample of a medication that was on the market for Alzheimer’s.  He also gave us a prescription for the medication to get filled at the pharmacy. The 15-day sample would last us until we could get the prescription filled.

We wrapped things up at the doctor’s office and got ready to head home.  Since we were already out and the pharmacy was close by, I’ll just drop off the two prescriptions.  I had the one for the urinary tract infection and the new one for the Alzheimer’s. Trying to make conversation with mom, I asked her if that was okay with her, and she just shook her head in agreement.

I Think I’m Having A Heart Attack!

Later that day, the pharmacy called and wanted to get approval for the prescription.  Approval for what I asked? I just dropped it off. Of course, I want it. The person on the phone said well the cost is over a certain amount so we have to call and confirm.  So many things had shocked me over the past few weeks that I didn’t think anything could shock me anymore. Until this phone call, when the person on the phone told me that the co-pay was going to be $480.00!  That’s my co-pay! Obviously, that’s for a 90-day supply? Silly question. No, ma’am, that’s for a 30-day supply.

My heart literally stopped, I’m having a heart attack now!  My thought was there was no way we could afford that right now.  The first thing I needed to do is call the doctor and find out more information about this medication.  I need to know if it’s a necessary medication or if it’s like a life or death kind of medication. Because if that’s the case, that changes things.  We didn’t really discuss these things when he gave us the sample in the office. Needless to say, I told the pharmacy to hold off for now until I talked to the doctor.

Next, I called the doctor’s office and left a message for the doctor to call me back.  I told the nurse that it was kind of important that he call me back. We needed to discuss the new medication he had prescribed for mom.  The nurse reassured me the doctor would call me back sometime today. That being said, there wasn’t much of the day left, business hour day.

Do I Want This Responsibility?

As I sat and impatiently waited for the doctor to return my call, my mind was racing in all different directions.  I looked at my mom as she innocently sat there watching tv depending on me now to make all the decisions! It was just hitting me that she is not realizing what was going on!  She can’t, and is not able to logically make the right decisions for herself.

My daughters are grown and out on their own.  My dad is gone now. Undoubtedly, I always came to my parents when I needed help.  Now I look at my mom who is now appearing helpless and needing my help. In general, I’m feeling a little confused and overwhelmed.  Do I know how to take care of a mom? Seems backward. I need to scream or something just to see if it will straighten things out in my head.  Okay, I’ve got to gain composure because I can’t let mom see me all nervous and messed up. From this point on, I’m going to have to be the strong one!

The Medication Breakdown

Finally, the doctor returned my call. He gave me the Alzheimer’s medication information I needed. By comparison, with a couple of other Alzheimer’s medications that were available, the co-pays were basically the same.  To make the decision whether or not to spend this large sum of money on this medication, I did some research on the medication.

When asked, the doctor advised me that the medication is NOT a necessity.  This is NOT a life or death medication. When I researched the prescribed medication, which was Namenda, it does NOT CURE Alzheimer’s, nor could it stop it from progressing.  It MAY lessen the symptoms such as memory loss and confusion, for a limited time.

Of course, while researching I looked into the side effects of this medication.  Those also need to be taken into consideration. These are several of the listed common side effects:  tiredness, body aches, joint pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, headaches, fast heart rate, anxiety, and aggression.  Now, if you read my blog on “Why Herbs”, you know how I feel about prescription drugs and their side effects.

I Have To Make The Decisions

All of a sudden, I’m in charge of my mom!  I feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I’ve got to decide whether or not we can afford a medication that is going to do what?  It MIGHT do a little something?  It MIGHT NOT do anything at all?  Then I have to look at the common side effects of the medication.  I just can’t ignore those.

 

In Conclusion

In conclusion, we tried the medication for several months.  The co-pay ended up INCREASING!  The result of the medication was that we noticed no real difference in behavior.  I didn’t see that in the few months that mom was on the medication that it made any difference.  She might have had a few of the side effects such as tiredness and nausea. The Alzheimer’s symptoms were not lessened while taking it.

Looking forward, there’s planning to do.  I know there’s some legal stuff I need to look at getting done while mom is still able to understand.  But the hard part will be getting her to actually do it and to really know why without getting upset. I know I have my work cut out for me in that department.

Just a reminder:  This Blog post on Alzheimer’s & Dementia – Through The Eyes of a Caregiver is an ongoing story consisting of several posts.  This is a special “real-life” account of what I myself and my husband went through as Caregivers for a parent with Alzheimer’s/Dementia.  It is my hope that this information will be of some help for people going through the same issues, trials, and tribulations that we experienced.  I will be totally honest about the good, the bad and the ugly. Because if you are just being faced with the question of whether or not you should be the caregiver, nobody should sugarcoat the duties and responsibilities.  I know it’s your parent or loved one, but you HAVE to be able to withstand ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!  That’s the honest truth.

 

Part IV, the continuation of

Alzheimer’s & Dementia – Through The Eyes of a Caregiver

 

 

 

Take Care & Be Well,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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