Jan 26 2013 in Caring for Parents and Kids by Jo
“A preliminary notice of an order or action which is to follow”
A Warning Order usually does not involve the commitment of resources or forces. It is intended to gain your attention, to reorient you toward a potential future task.
During my military career I received many Warning Orders, more than a few Prepare to Deploy Orders (PTDO) which do involve moving and packing, and several “WHY AREN’T YOU ALREADY ON THE PLANE!!!…” orders. In the last case, the response, “because you just told me two seconds ago,” while technically correct, was never acceptable. This Friday I received a Warning Order.
Friday was Doctor Day. My dog, my mom, and my daughter all had scheduled appointments. I wanted to get mad at someone for scheduling this all on the same day… except that someone was me. It must have made sense at the time. I just hoped the Vet didn’t poke my daughter in the wrong place, my mom didn’t bite a nurse, and they didn’t try to give my dog a lolly pop.
The dog’s Vet visit went entirely smooth. Dog-Dog is now fully inoculated against thermal nuclear war or kennel cough, whichever comes first. My daughter had a good therapist session. A significant achievement since we were coming off of mini crisis the weekend before and had already made one unscheduled urgent Dr visit for this week.
Mom has not been herself. The staff and I have both noticed it. Her energy level is down, she’s weaker, she increasingly incoherent, she’s starting to refuse food or drink. So although this was a scheduled Dr appoint, I was about to bring her in anyway. @G-J once talked about how we live with realities others would find incredibly strange. One of those realities for me is praying for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). A UTI would perfectly explain Mom’s symptoms and it is relatively easy and quickly treated. Mom has had them before. The Dr ordered the appropriate tests but we’re all hoping that a UTI is what this is… because the Dr then went on to use the “F” word.
@Denise just did a post and BlogTalkRadio program on End of Life discussions. For my family the Feeding Tube is a red line. It is a decision point. For me it means summoning immediate family and contacting extended family. As the person with the Medical Power of Attorney, I’m in the middle of what will happen.
Now the Doctor didn’t say Mom needed a feeding tube, he was just thinking out loud, reviewing the possible options and courses of actions.
I also know my strong reaction was directly related to the fact that my Dad died just four months ago and during his decline I had to navigate the feeding tube issue. Because of that experience, the use of the word brought an “elephant into the room;” was Mom dying?
Of course not and to be fair, that isn’t what the Doctor had said. However, it was important for me to state so out loud and in front of the Doctor, “Mom hasn’t stopped eating or drinking, she’s merely reduced her intake.”
This was serious but not a crisis. There are numerous intermediate steps we can and will take. Still the Doctor’s comments were my Warning Order. Coupled with recent events involving my Dad, the doctor had captured my attention and reoriented me. I’m praying for a UTI.
After a day like Friday, I knew I wanted a treat so on Saturday, inspired by @Sunshine=Sometimes, I did a virtual IHOP visit and treated myself to a frozen IHOP entree. I think S=S is on to something here.