Memorable Conversations with Doctors


Conversation 1

One doctor acquaintance, on discovering my mother still had borderline hypertension despite medication:

He said: You have to optimise her hypertension drugs, make sure to keep her blood pressure down. How often are you measuring the  blood pressure? Do it five times a day. What time is she taking her meds? You have to change the time to control the blood pressure better. She’s not taking her medication at exactly the same time every day? Why not? She can’t remember? Someone will have to be responsible for it. Get the maid to give her the  medication according to the clock! You don’t have a maid? Then you have to do it yourself! Manage it! You can’t leave it like that. So what are you going to do?

I said: Let me go back and review it again.

I think: I don’t think I’ll be asking for your advice again anytime soon.

Sculpture by Dali evokes what we feel - a sense of reality being stretched, contracted and warped

Conversation 2

First visit to neurologist at Memory Clinic. Mom has done the memory assessments, and he has questioned her about her past history.

Neurologist to mom: Do you know why you are here today? Why are you here to see me?

Mom, hesitating: You’re the doctor.

Neurologist: Well, what is the problem that you are seeing me for?

Mom, pointing at her left eye: Well, I don’t see very well with my eye.

Neurologist: No, you’re not here for the eyesight problem. You’re here because you have dementia.

I am aghast, because nobody has told mom she has a problem with her mind, and I do not know how she will take the news.

She turns to me, smiling quizzically: What’s dementia?

He says: You have a problem with your memory.

She says: Oh no, I have no problem with my memory.

Conversation 3

I say: My mom has just been diagnosed with dementia, and fortunately for us she is now sweet and agreeable.

She says: Enjoy her while you can. Just enjoy her.

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4 thoughts on “Memorable Conversations with Doctors”

  1. Good advice. I try to enjoy my dad every minute I’m with him. I try to enjoy the hugs I give him that he sometimes gives back with one arm from his wheelchair. I absolutely cherish any spoken word that comes from his mouth. They are so rare.

    Enjoy. She’s still here.

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  2. Thanks for coming by my blog. We quickly learn more about dementia than we ever wanted to know! I share your frustration with doctors. Some seem to have a lot of medical knowledge but almost no idea how to talk to patients or their families! I will be following your blog.

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  3. Conversation 2 feels very similar to my recent X ray encounter! Finally, after chasing for 6 months, and being diagnosed with ‘memory problems’ in October 2010 my F i L will see a specialist nurse in 2 days time. I know that it won’t change the situation but I hope to finally be able to a name to his problems.

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    1. Good luck with the consult! In my mother’s case, that same doctor in Conversation 2 started her on Alzheimer’s medication and I think that made a difference. Unfortunately, that conversation also made her more aware (penny dropped) and she became more anxious as a result. Good and bad outcomes, but life goes on.

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