Last time I wrote about dad’s chipped tooth. I admit I worried about it more than I should have – as usual. The day of his appointment I was so stressed I could hardly eat lunch. My stomach just wouldn’t calm down. I think I was afraid dad would refuse to go or wouldn’t behave once we got there.
I went to pick dad up about an hour before his appointment so we would have time to get dad ready and get to the dentist. Dad was almost asleep in his chair. I told him again that we needed to go to the dentist. Again he asked “Why do I need to go to the dentist?” (With his voice raised). I said the dentist just wants to look at your front tooth.
I then asked if he wanted to use the rest room. He did and then he let me get his jacket on and get ready to go. They took an x-ray of his tooth. Their x-ray room is the size of a walk in closet. I don’t know if this is the new thing in dentistry but I like the old way!
Then they took him back to a room and I went with him. The dentist came in soon but then was interrupted by a phone call on his cell phone which took 10 minutes or so. I noticed he did wash his hands and glove up before looking at dad’s mouth, but then he took the call and didn’t re-glove or re-wash his hands. The dental technician also had gloves on and was putting cotton in dad’s mouth when the doctor’s phone rang.
I was so tempted to say something about washing hands, but didn’t. I didn’t want to get dad upset by raising my voice above the clatter in the room. Dad seemed to be quiet and cooperative and I wanted to keep that going. In the end the dentist filed down the rest of the tooth to match the chipped part and then put a sealer of some type on it. He might have done something to the enamel of the tooth as well. Even though I was right there, I couldn’t tell what he was doing.
It took just over 30 minutes and he was done. I took dad out to the waiting room and then went back to the desk to pay. It cost $188 with some kind of reduction for lack of insurance. I was glad to pay and have it done. I so hope we don’t have any more dental visits.
Dad was amazingly good during the whole thing. He didn’t need any Novocaine because it wasn’t broken to the nerve. Whatever he was thinking, dad was nice and quiet and still. I am still surprised, looking back, at how good dad was considering his protests before we went. And I am so relieved to be done with that!
Sunday, just as I was beginning to relax following dad’s dental visit, one of the aides came to tell me about a lump she had found in dad’s upper arm when she gave him his shower that morning. When she showed it to me, I noticed there was also a rash on the outer skin nearby. I asked if the lump hurt and he said no, but the outer skin was itchy. I asked the aide to notify the nurse about the lump when she came in the next day.
On Monday, I called the nurse to ask her to arrange for his doctor to evaluate the lump. She said the doctor wasn’t coming in until next month, but the nurse practitioner will be in next Monday. I had already checked Google (naturally) and decided it was probably not serious, but should be checked out. I said I would wait for the NP to look at him before I push for anything else.
Dad is already in his upper 90’s so I really don’t want to medicalize the rest of his life. I don’t want biopsies, surgeries, etc. Dad would be confused and not understand. While this lump has been pointed out to him several times, he promptly forgets that it is there. It doesn’t hurt at all so it probably is benign. In any case, I have decided to wait for the nurse to evaluate it and try not to worry.
I took dad out to lunch again yesterday. When I arrived he was almost asleep. I asked how he felt, and he said he felt a bit dizzy – which is his usual answer lately. He doesn’t drink enough fluids and he has had some dizziness since a stroke many years ago. I asked if he felt well enough to go out to eat. Right away he perked up and got ready to go to the restaurant.
Lately I take him to the same place each week. It is easy to get him from the parking lot to the building and they have a nice menu. Of course, dad orders the same thing each time, but he does vary the side dishes. He has been eating very well this past month and finished his entry each time. Yet, he still seems to have lost a pound in the last month. He is down about 9 pounds in a year, but still above where he was after his hospitalization 3 years ago.
I brought along my iPad so I could show dad some pictures from long ago. He enjoyed the pictures and asked where I got them. Other than talking about the pictures, it is hard to keep him in a conversation. Nevertheless, it was still comfortable and an enjoyable time for both of us. I dropped him off and reminded him I will see him in a few days. My schedule is a bit off this week due to meetings, but I will still see him as often.
I think I am getting better at taking one day at a time. I see so much illness in my neighbors and friends that I am thankful for the stability we have achieved this year. We still have spent a lot more time with doctors and dentists than I would have liked, but nothing is critical at this time.