I am getting more brave about negotiating the health issue discussions with my grandma, Elly. Up until now, we just chat about the basics, sleeping, blood pressure, headache or back ache. She doesn’t really want to share anything and there is background to that.
Elly’s mother was a “hypochondriac” – according to Elly, the oldest child. My great-grandmother went to the doctor and got pills and then more pills. This has been told to me fairly often, but I don’t have any memory of bottles of pills. My great-grandmother died while I was in college so I knew her for a very long part of my life, at a young age, spending a week in the summers as she babysat me being while Elly worked. G-Grandma spoke German mostly, I don’t remember conversations with her in English. There were two adult children living at home when I was a youngster visiting my Great Grands. Uncle never married and stayed to care for his parents until they passed and then he passed in 1990. Aunt married very late and lived at home until she married around 1974. My grandma had many siblings and my great aunts and uncles had children closer in age to me. G-Grandparents lived around the corner from Elly which was handy for us kids to see so much of them. So, as G-Grandma got old, she would call many, many times a day to complain to Elly about her aches and pains. I remember the phone calls so I can confirm that she called a lot every day! Elly refuses to be like her mom, so the pendulum has swung much the other way.
Today at lunch, I noticed that Elly’s leg is still seeping and bandaged. It has been super swollen for a couple of weeks. I increased her water pill on Dr.’s advice but it hasn’t gone down enough to stop the seeping/bleeding. Elly wears compression stockings which help to mask the coloring of the leg and the amount of seepage. I mentioned to my NurseySister that I was concerned about the swelling and she said it had looked better this weekend while we were away and that if Grandma was uncomfortable she would make a call to the Dr. Well, I don’t see the point in waiting for an ER visit because that would bring in many more complications! Every hospital visit ends up in lots of tests for a carotid artery that is twisted which is a benign and well known part of Elly’s body. They just like to milk the “cash cow”!
So, now I am concerned because Elly did express she has not had a decrease in pain and looks decidedly uncomfortable. My thoughts are going the direction of possible blood clot or blood infection (both could be a painful way to die). Our goal is to keep her comfortable and let her make decisions as much as possible. I brought up this leg problem at lunch time along with the suggestion about making a call to the new Dr. The answer was, “Let’s give it another day” and “I just wonder what was sprayed on the lawn that could be causing this.” We do have our yard sprayed for spiders, ticks, roaches etc. but it is the same stuff every month for the past three and a half years. She has never had a reaction before and refused to consider just washing her leg when she first mentioned the rash and swelling.
Dementia sure makes life an interesting puzzle. So, now I will encourage a phone call to the Dr. for an appointment tomorrow. She has excellent insurance and never pays out of pocket, just a monthly premium. No excuses? Right!!!!