A New Drug

LilMagill

A New Drug

LilMagill
keys-473461_640I took Mom to the doctor this morning for a follow-up visit after an increase to her blood pressure meds. That seemed to have worked. The doctor brought up Mom's memory problems and asked if she would be interested in trying one of the Alzheimer's drugs. She said, "I don't know that that's what you have, but this won't hurt you." Mom readily agreed, so I'll pick up the new prescription in a little while. My intuition, based on NOTHING, is that she doesn't have Alzheimer's but rather vascular dementia. So I'm not excited about the medication. But maybe it will be silently, secretly doing some good.

While we were on the subject, I asked the doctor for her advice regarding driving. The current status is that Mom is still in possession of her keys and the knowledge that if she wants to drive the car, she can. In practice, I do all of her driving. As far as I know, she hasn't driven since sometime last fall. I was hoping that all of this not-driving would make the idea of no longer driving more acceptable to her. The doctor said that the time was coming soon for Mom to consider retiring from driving. She said, "What I worry about with cognitive impairment is reaction time." She talked about the sorts of bad things that can happen when other drivers pull out suddenly, or children/dogs/bicycles appear. Mom agreed, she wouldn't want to drive if she were a possible danger to others. The conversation went on, and the doctor said, "In 6 to 12 months, I think it will almost definitely be time for you to retire from driving. I know what kind of person you are and that you would never forgive yourself if you caused an accident because you shouldn't be driving." Then I chimed in, slightly choked up, "And I would never forgive myself if I let that happen because I was more afraid of hurting your feelings than keeping you safe." Then she said, "Well, YOU'RE not always home! Sometimes you go to work, and if I need something from the grocery store, I'm just going to go and get it." A strong push back. The doctor reiterated something about "the time is coming soon when I will strongly recommend that you stop driving." She was trying to help me, I know. I appreciated it. I'm not sure it helped. In reality, we are managing okay with the ambiguity, but I wish she would voluntarily give up driving. I fear that it will not happen!

I saw my therapist the other day, and she strongly encouraged me to hold on to my career--such as it is! She talked about her own experience when she chose not to sacrifice her career in caring for her mother, and what a positive difference it made for her retirement. I have fantasized about a different kind of job at the college where I teach, but who would do all her driving and doctor's appointments? Who would watch out for her and comfort her? I don't know if I could even let go of the amount of care I currently give.