Chat with Dr. O’s Nurse

First off, Dr. O has a nurse again!! How amazing to answer a call from him and have it be, well, not him. My understanding was his last nurse left without warning leaving Dr. O to do everything from answering the phone to managing the schedule. Turns out Shannon worked for Dr. O a few years ago, and happens to know my daughter!

We talked about pain management for mom’s knee, getting a wheel chair for her, and, generally, how these two things interacted with each other, plus discussion regarding the palliative care model. I appreciated every moment of her time.

It’s the community’s idea to loan mom a wheel chair. I’ve seen, and mentioned, this coming since early last autumn when mom started falling. There’s a lot of psychology behind the introduction of a wheelchair into your loved one’s life that I’d never considered. For me it a practical choice: Does it keep mom safer? Does it improve her quality of life, her mobility, her confidence, reduce her pain? I asked Shannon for her thoughts, and she explained that the palliative care model asks these questions, putting the decision back on the family, or patient. We were in agreement that this is a good decision for mom. She assured me that this doesn’t mean mom won’t walk again. I told her I look at a wheelchair like a tool to get a job done, not a step closer to immobility. If mom can get the hang of maneuvering around in the chair, it’ll give her more independence, more ability to move around (once residents are able to leave their rooms) the community pain free. Win-Win.

Shannon will get PT back onboard to fit a wheelchair for mom, citing urgent need so that the community will let PT in.

Shannon refreshed my memory regarding ibuprofen and the elderly. They just don’t go together for more than two weeks at a time. She’s going to ask Dr. O for suggestions. She talked about OxyContin being a well tolerated option, except for all the challenges Loopy Mom could present… Poor decision making regarding her physical abilities, like deciding to walk to the bathroom… These are the puzzle pieces that we are faced with now. Better pain control could cause further damage because that pain control further diminishes mom’s cognitive function. We’ll see what Dr. O thinks.

Our overall conversation was laced with practical and clinical discussion about mom’s overall health. She is not in crisis, yet she is a prime stroke candidate. Her emphysema could rear its head. We’re still unsure as to why she has a tremor, or edema. We are seeing global decline due to dementia. For so many years these things have been somewhere in the unknowable future. And here we are. I look at what’s coming next, how far off, how distant, and it feels very close indeed.

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