Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whom to Trust -- The Doctor, or My Instincts?

Update: According to Mom's doctor, she "looks good." Okay, that's fine, but I'm still unsettled.

Mom, like many a "sweet little old lady," presented well at her appointment this morning. According to what I've learned from seminars on dementia, a person's social skills can remain intact for a long time, which can confound health care professionals and family. Despite my gentle rebuttals to her "Oh, I can do (whatever) with no assistance," and my candid reports of my concerns, I felt dismissed. What I heard today was the long-held message that "Well, your mom is almost 88." This flies in the face of findings that dementia is not a normal part of aging. Yes, he's the doctor, but it's an inherently limited relationship with Mom. Mine goes back for a lifetime. So, my observations of changes are worth serious consideration.

It's time for me to expand my role as Mom's advocate. When she has her follow-up appointment in a few months, I want to have her sign a HIPAA release, so I can be privy to the findings. Even though I've been reading both professional and lay literature about aging (and dementia as one of the possible issues), I guess I just have to read more, and question more. I need to do internet researches on anything concerning Mom's healthcare, and come better prepared to her appointments. If that earns me a reputation as a pain-in-the-butt daughter, so be it. What we're talking about is my mom's quality of life, for however long that may be.

I look at Mom, and see what my own future might hold. Maybe with some muscle from my generation (which always wanted to revolutionize things), geriatric issues will be given as much urgent attention as those of younger age groups. To do any less is blatant ageism and a tragic waste of human potential.

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