Feb 4, 2012

Dotty MRI, Eggs, Car Breaks Down

I still remained surprised and "miffed" that we never get asked if there are any special circumstances in dealing with my mother when she is taken to a new doctor or for medical testing.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

On Monday morning, I had to take Dotty for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). This was necessitated because Dotty was experiencing severe headaches for almost two weeks.

I started preparing Dotty for the test several days in advance by explaining to her that she would be going for a scan of her head in order to help determine the source of her headaches.

On Sunday night I took off all her jewelry and earrings so we wouldn't have to deal with that when she woke up in the morning.

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I woke Dotty up early on Monday morning and then told her we had to go to the doctor. Of course she responded immediately, I'm not going.

My how times have changed. I actually laughed then explained to her why we were going and the purpose of the head scan.

I then put her in the shower and helped her get a nice squeaky clean shower.

Dotty can still dress herself, so I laid out a sweat suit. The perfect garments for an MRI.

Off we went to Delray Imaging.

When we arrived, we went in and did the usual paperwork. For an MRI you have to check off about 100 boxes. Note, there is not a single question asking if the person is suffering from any type of dementia, or asking if the patient has any special needs.

For example, can she see, can she walk, can she hear, does she suffer from dementia, and/or is she difficult to work with while being tested.

Next step, I walked Dotty to the area where we make the co-pay. At this point the young woman tried to put Dotty in one room (for patients), and me in a separate waiting room. I did not bother to explain, I just smiled and said, I think you will want me to walk her down to the room where they administer the MRI.

The woman had already seen that Dotty walks like a snail, and needs assistance while walking. The woman seemed relieved to know I was willing to walk with Dotty. However, she ran down to see if this was "okay".

Note, they did not offer a wheelchair or any special assistance. They tried to separate us, a NO NO, for most dementia patients.

It was a pretty long walk to the MRI room. Nevertheless, Dotty and I "turtled" our way down to the room with ease.

As expected, the MRI tech was going to try and "yank" Dotty up onto the MRI bench when I said, I'll do it. In spite of that the MRI tech did try to join in and help. I don't know how you might treat a 95 year old, but I don't yank or force Dotty.

Once we had Dotty sitting on the bench, it was time for Dotty to lie down. I had to put up the stop sign, palm out, on this one. I said to the tech, I'll lift her legs, you put your hand in the middle of her back and lower her down.

The tech did a great job on this. Meanwhile, Dotty still got that panicked look on her face like she was going to fall 100 feet. I dealt with that and then explained to her that her head was going in the tunnel.

I told the tech, I'll be right down the end of this hall, call me before you try to lift her up and get her off the table. She did.

I went in, got Dotty, and we went home. Dotty seemed a little "moody" and quiet at first, but by the time we got home and started eating all was well.

Pardon me for being amazed, but it is 2012. I still remained surprised and "miffed" that we never get asked if there are any special circumstances in dealing with my mother when she is taken to a new doctor or for medical testing. Dotty is 95 years old, and over 50 percent of 95 year olds live with dementia.

We do not have the results of the MRI at this point. The headaches remain but they seem to be less severe. I am uncertain because Dotty cannot really answer a "straightforward" question these days. I rely a lot on Harvey and my sister to try and get a "straight" answer.

On a side note. Some of the readers will find this of interest. The other day I decided to make 3 hard boiled eggs for Dotty. I made the eggs and set them over to the side before putting them into the refrigerator. I received a telephone call and forgot about the eggs for a while. When I finally went back into the kitchen to tend to the eggs all I found were the shells.

Yes, I did laugh, and then shook my head in amazement. Dotty can barely walk but she can still sniff out food and mound bars in seconds.

On a second side note. I "snuck" out at 7 AM the other morning to go buy some milk. This trip would normally take about 8 minutes. I had the milk but when I went to start the car it was dead. Not the battery. It would not start, turn over, the car was dead.

Subsequently, I had to get the car towed and the starter had to be replaced. It did take me an extra 15 minutes to get home. Fortunately, Dotty was still in bed.

I was happy that Dotty wasn't with me when the car stopped running. That would have made the situation much more difficult.

I guess you can say I was lucky all the way around this week.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,261 articles with more than 402,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room