Dad’s Dental Appointment

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.

About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiving, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Dad’s Dental Appointment

  1. boomer98053 says:

    Most of us can relate to how worried you were leading up to your father’s dental appointment. I call that “being armed for bear, but hunting squirrel.” Fortunately, all that awaited you at the dental office was a squirrel (who should have washed and gloved up after his phone call) but at least the fix was an easy one and your dad was a stellar patient. Regarding the lump, let’s hope you’re hunting squirrel again. Along with you, I look forward to good news.

  2. Terry says:

    I am so glad his dental visit went as well as it did. You are doing an awesome job. Try not to worry so much, that is what I did with Al and then after he passed I was sick off and on for weeks due to the run-down body and mind. Hugs my friend

  3. jmgoyder says:

    For some reason I hadn’t realized your dad was in his nineties! You are both wonderful.

  4. As I read this post, it brought back so many memories. First, how your stomach gets tied up in knots; mine too. I hope you realize that you are doing such a stellar job; and so much of dealing with these issues is completely out of your control…so hard to accept but for me it was a key to navigating those final years.

    I haven’t written about this, but my mom developed a nasty sore on her nose, which turned out to be skin cancer which had already stared to grow internally. The medical professionals and we agreed that because it slow growing and any procedure would be painful and invasive, it was better to let it take its course. The last thing my demented mom needed was surgery to maybe give her more years. But still, it is one of those difficult turns on the road…

    Finally, I used to show my mom old family photos in the hope she could identify people…it wasn’t very successful, but occasionally it sparked a story about my ancestors…in fact I showed her a childhood photo with some of her cousins and she could name every person including the dog (Rags) and then she volunteered that it was taken on the day of her father’s funeral which is why she couldn’t smile…sure enough the date on back of the photo was that day (in 1924)… I had never put two and two together…so yes, showing photos can be fascinating…and it didn’t seem to depress her…it was just stared in a matter-of-fact way…

    And I agree…you are amazing,

  5. dementedgirl says:

    Oh dear…. It must feel like frying pan to fire at the moment… I agree with your conclusion that medicalizing his remaining years is not the best options. If he’s in his 90s, it would be a lot of uncomprehensible suffering for him, for not a lot of gain. And the strain on you – if the dentists was this bad – would be unsustainable. Bless you both.

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