There is much I have always admired about my mother. She was the one who took care of the banking and bill paying. She planned ahead for large medical expenses and secretly saved enough to cover the bills (because dad liked to splurge if he saw extra cash). She always went with us to the doctor or dentist and made sure we had appointments when we needed them.
But mom had one habit that mystified me. She didn’t like to make several medical appointments during the same few weeks. She would go to the first doctor and see what follow-up was needed. Only after she was done with the first, would she go on to the second, and so forth.
When I was able to spend only a short time in the south helping her, I tried to get her to make all the appointments within a few weeks of each other. That way I could be sure we would be finished with the last one before I had to return home.
Looking back, I can see that put extra pressure and stress on mom. Especially in her last year, she had several medical problems I was trying to get her to tend to before I went home. She got confused as to doctors and dates and what transportation was arranged. I started making the transportation plans and going with her.
I can see now that it might have been a better idea to talk to the specialists and not do some of the procedures she was pressured to do. She was 90 years old that year and I wonder if the expected benefits really were worth all the emotional pressure on her.
Also now that I have multiple doctors myself, I can see that it is difficult to coordinate follow up for more than one doctor at a time. Sometimes it seems like one doctor is “more important” than the others and I want to be sure I leave time to fit in his appointments.
So now I find myself thinking that I have become just like mom. Just last week I put off making follow up appointments with the dentist until I could complete follow up with 2 other physicians. One I saw today and we were both surprised to see that the cardiologist had given me medications that made my blood test results worse. He had asked the cardiologist to take me off the first medication, and we spent the summer getting my blood pressure re-balanced to near normal on three different medications. Unfortunately, in doing so, she replaced the original medication (that the other specialist said was causing me problems) with one that was in the same drug family and caused even worse problems with my blood test results!
So, now he has said to wait until spring and in the meantime work with the cardiologist again to get off this newer medication onto something that doesn’t cause the rest of my blood test results to be out of the normal range. I stopped by the cardiologist’s office on the way home but she was not in. I left a message about the medication and was told she would call me. So far, she hasn’t. I shall have to try her again until I reach her so she can adjust my medications.
In the meantime, I am still putting off the dentist until I can see when my cardiologist will want to see me again. I guess I have ranked my dentist at the bottom, but I really want to prioritize my appointments to get the most important ones in first.
And on the way home from my appointment today, I thought about how I am turning out to be just like mom. Some of my reasons are different in that she had several serious problems with her vision and her other medical issues that her primary physician felt all needed to be addressed, but in the end it was all a pressure for her time. Now I understand why she didn’t want too many appointments at once. Even when you have the actual time, it takes a lot of emotional energy to balance all of the issues involved. The older I get the better I understand my parents. ;}