When I saw my cardiologist the other day, I happened to mention that I had a new cough that I did not have before. I attributed it to my allergies, but she said no, it is due to the lisinopril that I had recently started taking for my blood pressure. She said to stop using it right away and she gave me a prescription for a different type of blood pressure medication instead.
It reminded me that I used to look up all my new medications the day they were prescribed so I could be on the alert for side effects that might occur. Lately I had been busy with other things and my medication regimen has been adjusted several times in just a month or so. The papers that came with my prescription probably also told me to watch for this side effect but I confess I just put them in the file without reading them.
I also then started thinking about dad and how he used to look up his medications on the Internet. When his family physician first prescribed Aricept, dad took it until he looked it up. Then he refused to take any more of that medication. Mom was frustrated with him because she wanted him to do whatever the doctor said.
Later his doctor prescribed Zoloft which dad also looked up and refused to take. The same with other depression medications his doctor prescribed. Dad’s depression probably started shortly after he began to shop symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. He just didn’t want to get out of his chair and take part in activities he used to enjoy.
The funny thing about this was that a few years later the physician prescribed the Aricept for mom. Mom doesn’t use the computer thus no Internet. However, she remembered that dad had refused to take it, so she refused to take it too. This was interesting to me as mom had been furious with dad when he wouldn’t take the medicine when it was prescribed.
I asked mom why she wouldn’t take it. She got defensive and said that if dad wouldn’t take it then why should she? I reminded her she thought dad should take it, but that didn’t help. She acted similarly when the doctor and others suggested she get hearing aids. Clearly both mom and dad were having difficulty hearing in normal conversations.
However, dad had always refused to get a hearing aid, and therefore mom wouldn’t get one either. I asked her the question she used to ask me. If all my friends ran off a cliff, would I follow them? She laughed and said if dad doesn’t have to do something, then she shouldn’t have to do it either.
At that time I didn’t realize that mom was slowly losing her rational thinking as well. Mom functioned pretty well until the last year of her life. If I look back, I can see she was letting some things get by that she used to be on top of. But, on the other hand, she caught some attempted scams that wouldn’t have gotten past other 88 year olds.
When mom passed away, I sorted through many years of papers she had kept. I was amazed at how organized she had been right into the very last year. She had check lists of all the tasks she had to do before she went north for the summer and again before she returned to the south in the fall. She had checked off each item and wrote the date she had called each utility, etc. I kept the check lists as a memento of how organized she was.
But still she had refused the Aricept and the hearing aids simply because dad wouldn’t use them either. It makes me smile.
Now dad has his computer set up again. He remembers using it every day but he doesn’t turn it on now. I guess he is content to have it on his desk in his room. He knows it is there if he needs it even though he has probably forgotten how to do most of the things he used to do.