A New Conductor


The Geriatrician wrapped up my mother’s first consultation with him by asking me, “So, when would you like the next appointment?”

I thought quickly. He was a very busy Consultant and only took on Mom’s case after some urging by his colleague. That day at the clinic, we had waited over an hour to be seen as he had many patients and was running late. So I said, “I think six months should be alright.”

“Six months?!” he laughed and turned to Mom, “Aunty, I will see you again in six months, and I hope I don’t have to see you sooner than that!”. So he thought I was being a bit too optimistic, but he went along with me, and said we could call for an earlier appointment when needed.

For the past few months, Mom had been seeing 4 different specialists for the various medical ailments she had. Although dementia can be overwhelming on its own, people with dementia can and do have other medical problems. The only reason Mom wasn’t seeing 5 specialists instead of 4 is because the appointment for the 5th was overshadowed by emergent events and nobody remembered to put it back.

Each of the 4 specialists were intent on treating their own organ issues, without seeing Mom as a whole. For example, two specialists wanted Mom on anticoagulants, a third wanted it stopped. At times, I went a bit nuts. Particularly at the junior doctors when they call me to let me know what was happening. You want to what? For what? Can you call the other specialist and make sure he is okay with that?

So that is why we added a Geriatrician to the mix – someone who can see Mom as a whole, review what’s best for her overall and help us decide which medical ailments get priority. We need an orchestra conductor instead of multiple soloists each playing their own tune.

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21 thoughts on “A New Conductor”

  1. I spent 12 months being told it was nothing. Then after 15 days in two hospitals and being told a so called specialist that it was all in my head I was transferred to another hospital under a neuroligist who carried out many tests then told me I should be happy because I did not have epilepsy which I never thought I did. We parted company. I was referred to a geriatrician whos after 30 mn said I had either FTD or LEWY BODY. He sent me for a pet scan which along with an MRI that I had a few weeks earlier confirmed a diagnosis of FTD. This guy is truly amazing and so kind and considerate involving the whole family if they wish in any discssion he has with me.

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  2. Because there are so many problems that comes with aging, and, there’s an influx of overwhelming information coming to you, causing you stressed, and, the best way to deal with it is to just see a family doctor that treats the individual for the general conditions, and see what s/he recommends, and go from there…

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  3. Wise decision and good luck with that. Having lived with a chronic illness and a slew of specialist, I can relate. For the patient and family it makes you want to tear your hair out. This year, I insurance changed. I’m down to one which will cover me and the coverage is parse. No one doctor wants to take responsibility, even my Internist. So, be your mother’s advocate, educate yourself on her needs and then hold the docs feet to the fire. Best of luck.

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    1. Glad that it has gotten better in the nursing home.
      I’m still optimistic that the appointments will cease when the medical issues are sorted out. Not sure if I’m holding on to false hope, but it makes it all more bearable.

      Liked by 1 person

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