Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back Home In The Atomic City


Get In The Truck, Boys, We are Going Home!

Well, it was a helluva two weeks. But I am home as of last night. Mom and Dad Bobblehead are doing better. Medically, it was an interesting time. Yes, I will divulge some of their medical information here (nothing everyone doesn't already know), and some things will remain private.

Emotionally, it was a roller coaster. There has always been a strained relationship between myself and my parents. I also see them self destruct so it is frustrating being with them. Maybe I am not in a position to judge, but boy was it rough.

My mom ended up suffering from extreme dehydration and partial renal failure. We know she was taking a number of diuretics including an over-the-counter diet supplement called Hoodia. Her protein levels passed through her kidneys shot up and her blood CO2 levels dropped. She was incoherent for a few days. Her potassium rose significantly adding the risk of heart attack. Her sodium plummeted.

My wife, El, rushed in from Houston, TX. I was stuck in the Land of Enchantment until my own medical tests were completed.

Mother Bobblehead had fluids pumped into her. Her electrolytes were stabilized. By the time I arrived in Nocona, Texas (trust me, Nocona is about as fun as this place) she was off of all IVs and additional medications. She was having a difficult time walking, though. Her legs and feet were greatly swollen due to the edema and electrolyte imbalance.

Her feet were hurting a great deal. There was a debate on what was causing the pain. She (and I) have a history of gout. There was an assumption before I got there that gout was the culprit. I insisted a uric acid blood test be run and it came back just a tad over normal, basically inconclusive. Arthritis was another possible explanation as was just the discomfort of the edema. Finally we got her up with a walker where she started physical therapy.

A few days later, she went home. By this time Mrs. Bobblehead had returned to the kids in Houston.

Several things were blatantly apparent:

  • Neither of my parents had a clear idea of which medications they should be taking.
  • My mom's type 2 diabetes was under control in the hospital because we were controlling her diet.
  • My Dad's Type 2 diabetes was not under control.
  • Both my parents had no stamina at all or muscle tone.
  • My father has very bad pain due to arthritis in his knees.
  • We were not sure what the story was on my mom's kidneys.
  • They were not eating well.
  • Their necks hurt.
  • They fall often.

Okay, where to get started...

Mrs. Bobblehead and I went through every pill bottle and sheet from doctors we could find. We called and faxed lists to various doctors. We looked at pharmacy lists. Eventually we had a comprehensive list of all medications they needed to be on. We included the dosages, the times of day, the prescribing doctors, and the reasons they were taking the medications. This was a huge endeavor (trust me) but at least we know where we stand now. Sure enough, once they got used to the right medications, they started quickly to stabilize and feel better. A shout out to CVS Pharmacy in Bowie, Texas. Six trips out there but the staff was wonderful in helping us out!

All wacky supplements went bye-bye. Now, I take a ton of supplements, but I have a clear understanding of what and why to take them. For now, they are on good multivitamins only.

I bought a crock-pot and cooked each night. There diet was controlled. All sugar candy and treats went bye-bye. Now their type 2 diabetes is looking good. Many days my mom does not need to inject any insulin at all. My dad's sugar has been consistent and reasonable (under 200). I insisted on an AI-C test for Mom. Basically, this is a test to see what your "average" blood glucose levels were over the past 30-60 days. Mom's was actually pretty good.

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I took them to the local wellness center (where my mom did her physical therapy). There they did some very low impact work starting with the Nustep. By the way, I love the Nustep. It is a seated, recumbent stepper which is very low impact. I use it due to my imbalance issues. The company deserves a plug!

Anyway, their workouts helped. Yes, they were sore, but they are not used to it. Hopefully they continue to go with me gone.

I also taught them some simple McKenzie neck exercises. These saved me when I was at the Cleveland Clinic. If you have Neck or Back Pain, get McKenzie's Books:

My father had the first of three injections of collagen in his knees made from chicken parts. Honest. Scynvisc injections are often a great relief for arthritic pain in the knees. The injections were easy and he started to feel better in a few days.

I installed an alarm in case they fall. Works pretty well although it is a bit pricey.

Mother Bobblehead saw a urologist. Good news, no permanent damage to her kidneys. Even better news, her CT Scan showed no plaque build up in her aorta meaning her cardiovascular system is in good shape.

So, when I left they were in good shape. Let us hope they continue to take care of themselves.

As for me, I plan on going to the gym later....

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]