Parental Journal 42 from Planet Elderly: New Primary Care Physician

February 1, 2016  5 p.m.

After a morning visit with Dad, who snoozed the whole time, Mom and I did some errands, had soup for lunch, and went for her get-to-know-you visit with her new primary care physician, Dr. Mohina Gupta.

I think the visit went well.  Mom liked the nurse who reviewed her history and medicine and then took Mom’s vitals.

Dr. Gupta was very attentive and upbeat.  Mom is in very good physical health and her only operation has been cataract surgery.

While questioning Mom about how things are going, Dr. Gupta looked at me and started to make a reference to “a letter I received from you,” but I gave her the “don’t-say-anything” look and she gracefully moved her comments along.

When Dr. Gupta asked Mom if she had any problem with leaving the stove on or burning things, Mom answered an emphatic, “No!”

When asked about any forgetfulness, Mom admitted to “a little.”   Dr. Gupta learned that Mom lives independently. “That’s good,” she said.  When asked if she maintains her checking account and writes checks, Mom said that she relies on me.  That gave the doctor an opportunity to do a tiny two-part peak at Mom’s cognitive functioning.  First, she asked Mom how much 100 minus 3 is.  Mom was not able to do that despite given ample time.  When asked how much 10 minus 3 is, Mom responded, “7.”   Second, Dr. Gupta told Mom she would give her three words and ask her to remember them later.  The three words were given, Mom repeated them, and about 10 minutes later, she was unable to remember any of them.

Dr. Gupta explained that there are some medicines that will help improve short-term memory and asked Mom if she would be willing to try it.  “No.”   The doctor tried to nudge her a bit by saying it is better to take the medicine now instead of a year from now when “things could be worse.”  Mom said she doesn’t want to take any more medicine.

The issue was dropped and we agreed to schedule another appointment for April.  At that time Mom will have her annual exam and annual blood work will be done a week before the visit.  The appointment is scheduled for Wed. April 20.

Mom enjoyed the visit and I was pleased.  Dr. Gupta did read the information I sent to her, she gave Mom two standard initial assessment items, and maybe after the appointment in April she will dig a bit deeper into assessing Mom’s short-term memory issues and/or make a referral to a neurologist.

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 60 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of what our family experiences with one parent in a memory care unit, another living independently with short-term memory loss, and me, the only child daughter who lives 400 miles away. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day, The Myth of Alzheimer's - What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis, Alzheimer's Early Stages.
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