Thursday, April 19, 2007

All about Dad, and maybe something more

Hello Siblings,
Dad spent last week with Carol and Barb, the idea being that while Jeanette and Ian were visiting her uncles in South Carolina, I would get some things done at our house and Dad's, and spend a little time camping out and getting some solitude. I got some things done over the weekend, but as soon as we all went to lunch after Hub Watson's memorial service on the 10th, I realized I was coming down with a stomach bug. I drove most of the way back to Alfred from Rochester with the window open, trying to keep my nausea down and get Pat Bancroft and myself home, before my body went into full rebellion. It took several days for me to feel right again. Jeanette and Ian picked Dad up from Branchport on their way home Friday, and then came to Alfred.
Sherm came that night on the bus, and we all went to church and then to lunch on Sabbath day. Sherm spent some time with Dad and his friend Elizabeth Gulacsy at an Asian culture program at the University while the hill Clarkes went to the Chief's dinner at the Fire Hall.
We had breakfast and lunch with Dad and Sherm on Sunday, and then Sherm went back home on the bus. He called later to let us know he'd made it safely, as there was some crazy weather going on between here and the city. We went to the Fire Co. business meeting Sunday evening, at which time I was re-elected as an engine captain and Jeanette was elected secretary.
Monday was a busy day for Dad and me: I took him to get glasses to replace the ones that were scratched and cracked when he fell at the Parish House, after getting some lunch at "Billy Schu's" in Hornell. Then I took Dad to Dr. Coch's office, where he froze a basal cell skin cancer on Dad's right arm, trimmed the callous on the out-step of his right foot, and drew blood for analysis. Well, I got a call yesterday from Dr. Coch reporting that Dad's serum sodium level is back where it needs to be, at 137mEq/L. From 130 to 125 the symptoms include nausea, headache, myalgia, general malaise, decreased appetite, confusion, and depressed deep-tendon reflexes, but at 124 and lower, which was the lowest I believe it got to, symptoms include lethargy, disorientation, agitation, depression, and psychosis.
The following morning Sue Bostwick from Allegany County's Outreach program came and interviewed Dad (and me) about his health and mental health. She is setting him up to have a psychiatric consultation and counseling to help him deal with depression. Dad had tried to counsel with Pastor Pat Bancroft but she was reluctant and didn't feel qualified to help him very much, so I hope this will help, along with the Paxil that Coch has prescribed since the stint in the hospital (Dad had been on Prozac and his dosage had been doubled just before he ended up in the hospital). Carol, I did talk with Sue about our concerns regarding antidepressants and that Coch may not have taken all the steps he could have to protect Dad from side-effects. I will probably go with Dad, at least for his initial consults with counselor and psychiatrist.
Dr. Coch, in response to my question on Monday, gave Dad a sample of Aricept, which is something Dad was giving Ethel back when he was still living with her. Aricept is used mostly with Alzeheimer's patients, but evidently is useful for other forms of memory loss and dementia. Dad and I think that after only a couple days of use, he may already be seeing improvement in cognition and memory.
That's the good news, and I hope to have more later.
Doug

1 comment:

shermaniac said...

Doug,
I am so glad to hear that Dad's numbers are better. Give him a hug for me. It's so weird to think of how much difference our chemistry can make: whether it's Dad's that was messed up by the wrong medicine, or the naked chemistry of our body which may be equally or more messy.

There was an article in this morning's Times about Mr Cho of Va Tech. Some of the characteristics -- sullen, quiet, not a talker, rage -- are things we all feel. It's the balance or, rather, the amount of imbalance I guess. There were also some things about the story that vaguely reminded me of Sonny. No, I'm not any more scared, and I haven't seen him since early this month. There were a few messages on the machine (he wanted me to pay his phone bill of $93). He even called one morning before 7 a.m. but I finished up getting ready for work and left. It's not fun feeling unsafe at home but I'm strong, I am woman ... no, that's somebody else's story.

The village sent me a card about smoke alarms in rental housing. I've told them before that the house is not actively being rented, but this time I just marked that there was an alarm in each apartment and mailed it. There is at least one alarm on each floor, right?

A question about blogiquette: if I have a mix of response and new topic(s), is it better to "scribble" them here or do a new post. Probably better to go to new post?