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PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince them

LGK

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 27, 2007
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2,975
... that googling things and looking up symptoms online is not the same as going to the ER. I just had the most terrifying experience with my mom and her husband. I talked to her yesterday and she sounded... weird... and she said she'd been really tired. I thought maybe I'd woken her up. I started wondering if there was more to it later, and called her today around 1 PM. She sounded the same- slurring her words, and a bit confused. She finally admitted she was having coordination problems and that she was having "problems with her right side" and started crying on the phone at me. I was smack in the middle of the busiest day of the year at work, and down two people sick anyway, so I was trying not to freak out, but, of course, freaking out.

So I said, "Please go to the ER. Please please please. This might be serious." And so on, and she kept saying no, no, she was fine and didn't want to be a bother. Arg! Finally I realized she really wasn't going to do anything and her husband had, for reasons unknown, left her home alone while he went to get his parents to have a barbecue. So my BFF (thank the lord for her) came and took over for me at work, so I took off with DH to go haul her to the ER bodily if I had to. The second I left she called me and said "Oh, I googled my thyroid medicine and I think it's that, don't worry, don't come over." (Clearly since I have the same exact thyroid problems I knew this was BS right away.) I said, no, sorry, I'm coming right now, get your purse or I'll call the ambulance- that's the choice, either come with me or I'm calling 911. (Except nicer because I didn't want to get into a stubborn contest, we're both champs at *that*). Meanwhile, while I was driving over, her husband had shown back up with his very elderly parents and was commencing barbecue.

So I show up, and it's obvious something is *seriously f*cking wrong*. The right side of her face is drooping and not really working, that foot is not lifting properly and she is consequently slurring her words. By that time she'd realized I wasn't going to bend on this one, it was come with me or have a giant fight and have me call 911 anyway, so the path of least resistance was to just come along- but, here's where it gets surreal. Her husband comes over and starts trying to talk me out of it! "We googled her symptoms and it's probably her thyroid meds. They'll just take her vitals and send her home." And so on and so forth about how freaking google had obviously diagnosed her properly and I should just leave it. I didn't really waste time arguing with him- I just was like "Well, if they do send her home and nothing's wrong, that's great but she's worried and I'm worried and we're going now BYE." I mean they've got great health insurance so good lord, use it!

Do I even need to say how horrified everyone at the ER was that she waited TWO DAYS to come in? No, I really don't, I'm sure. Obviously yes, she'd had a stroke, but we're still waiting for test results and she's staying overnight and thru tomorrow. Her blood pressure was sky high when we came in. They don't think it was a terribly serious one and I suspect she was very, very, very lucky.

Her husband, after she called and told him yes, it was probably "something" and that she was being admitted for tests overnight- he decided to keep barbecuing! I was *furious* over that- so was my sister-cousin, as I had kept her up to date, but she was a ways away unfortunately, but she was ready to come over to throttle him I think. (He eventually showed up at the hospital at 7PM, after I got to her house and left with her at 2PM.)

Finally he called to apologize for not taking everything seriously enough, and to thank me for taking care of her, but good lord. Please leave Google for figuring out how quick your fingernails grow or something, not your whole right side being paralyzed, lethargy and confusion!

Anyway, yeah. Keep an eye on your older folks if you've got them and don't let them decide that google is a substitute for a doctor, good lord. I would never in a million years have guessed that's how this would play out with two smart, educated people with excellent health insurance, and it scared me nearly to death.


Have I mentioned that this year blows goats? However as incredibly sucky and scary as this was, I'm so glad I didn't lose her- it definitely could've happened.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Good lord. I am so glad you went and hauled her to the ER. How terrifying. And WOW to her husband. :angryfire:

Sending tons and tons of dust your mom's way, and some extra for you.
 

Gothgrrl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Wow, how scary. It's a good thing you insisted she go get checked. I can't believe her husband! Hope you gave him a piece of your mind. Sending you and your mom dust.
 

asscherisme

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Wow, wow, wow, that is so freaking scary. Thank goodness for YOUR good judgement.

Frankly, i would be terrified of her husband's reaction and would have lost all faith in him to have your mom's best interest for health issues.

Is there something wrong with him? I don't think your mom is resposible in this case because the stroke clouded her judgement. But that he was the one who googled her symptoms and felt it unnecessary to seek medical help? And that he tried to talk you out of it? And that he kep barbquing????

I hope your mom has a full recovery. What is your relationship with her husband? I just can't even imagine his reaction.
 

junebug17

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Oh no LGK, what a scary, stressful experience. I think some of what goes on with older people is a form of denial - there's nothing wrong, I'm ok, I don't want to be a bother, it's probably a reaction to a med, etc. even when it's evident something could very well be wrong. If they ignore it, it will go away. It's frustrating, and hard to understand.

My mother was on the phone with a friend when she started complaining she was seeing double, was dizzy and having trouble walking. Her friend called an ambulance...it arrived and my mother refused to go. :-o Said nothing was wrong, she was fine and was just going to wait for her son to get home. And my mother was an RN for many years!!! My brother called a little while later and immediately called another ambulance for her. Turns out she had a stroke.

Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for both your mom and her husband to take their symptoms seriously. In hindsight, I think my mother was very frightened and just didn't want to admit that anything was wrong, because that would make it all too real, ya know? Might be the case with your mother as well. I can see where you'd be angry with her husband, she was clearly in distress, but again, maybe he just didn't want to face the fact something could be seriously wrong. I've come to learn that sometimes people behave in ways that just don't make any sense. It doesn't help that people can be really, really stubborn sometimes.

Big (((hugs))) to you, you've certainly been through a rough time. I hope your mother is doing ok. I'll be keeping her in my thoughts and hoping for a quick recovery.
 

slg47

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

wow...I am so glad you got her to the ER. **hugs** to you and hoping everything turns out ok.
 

VRBeauty

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

LGK - I'm so glad you intervened, and I'm so glad that your mother's stroke was apparently a fairly light one. I hope the medical news continues to be good.

My best friend's father had a stroke 3 or 4 years ago under similar circumstances... her mother has mild memory and judgement issues, he insisted he was fine and would not let her call a doctor, and it wasn't until one of his siblings got suspicious and went over there that he finally got medical attention... a good 5 hours or more after the stroke occurred. They had to sell their long-time home and move into assisted living because of the resulting mental and physical impairment .

I'm glad your antennae were out and working. I hope all turns out well for your mother.
 

LGK

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

asscherisme|1315196394|3009885 said:
Wow, wow, wow, that is so freaking scary. Thank goodness for YOUR good judgement.

Frankly, i would be terrified of her husband's reaction and would have lost all faith in him to have your mom's best interest for health issues.

Is there something wrong with him? I don't think your mom is resposible in this case because the stroke clouded her judgement. But that he was the one who googled her symptoms and felt it unnecessary to seek medical help? And that he tried to talk you out of it? And that he kep barbquing????

I hope your mom has a full recovery. What is your relationship with her husband? I just can't even imagine his reaction.
You know, I've always thought he took really good care of my mom, which is why the whole thing just totally left me floored. He's my uncle (by marriage, he was previously married to my aunt before they got divorced and he married my mom) so I've known him my whole life and love him. His health has been poor the last few years- chronic pain from fibromyalgia- so I really wonder how much that played a part. Anyway, yeah, I'm starting to think I'm gonna have to keep a much closer eye on what's going on with her health from here on out. Because he did really lose a lot of my respect- you just simply do not endanger your spouse's life! And we all know my mom in general is always afraid of speaking up and "being a bother" and about her health in particular; knowing her judgement was clouded from the stroke at the time, I am not even a little surprised she simply wasn't able to make a clearheaded decision. But I totally trusted him to do it!

And junebug, you're absolutely right- you bet she was terrified and that didn't help one bit- she was in tears the whole day pretty much and only calmed down when she'd been admitted to the hospital and they were taking really good care of her. I hope your mom made a complete recovery- it's hard when our parents get older, and their health goes downhill, that's for sure.

My husband was absolutely awesome- he was willing to move heaven and earth to take care of my mom when he realized what was going on. He totally could've told me not to worry, that I was overreacting and I needed to stay at work since it was so busy, and that if anything seriously wrong her husband would take care of her. And, he's absolutely terrified of hospitals- and he sucked it up and waited with us for the whole day. And all the staff at work did everything they could to get me out the door quickly despite being incredibly short staffed and super, super busy- they all know my mom and were really worried too.

One thing is for sure. My mom's sister is going to blow a *gasket* when she finds out what happened.

Thanks for your support and dust everybody. It's been a lonnnnng day.
 

JewelFreak

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

LGK, hope you got a good night's rest -- you earned it! Terrifying story. I also hope your mother is on the mend quickly.

It must be hard when geriatric things begin happening to people who have always been generally pretty healthy -- I'm sure denial is both personal (not wanting to face possible downhill heatlh & loss of independence) and for others' sake -- not wanting to "be a bother." I don't get your stepfather's reaction at all; there's a point where reality just can't be denied & this was long past it. Sounds like you will need to keep a weather eye on them from now on. Thank heaven you live close enough to get there fast!

--- Laurie
 

Porridge

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Gosh that is scary! I'm hoping everything goes well with your mother and that the effects are minimal. I also imagine that this scare will prompt them to be more careful and reactive in the future. Still, it's a lot on your shoulders to keep looking out for both of them. Parent's getting older is a lot of pressure. Take care of yourself.
 

diamondringlover

Ideal_Rock
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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Wow scary stuff, I am glad you Mom is going to be OK, thank goodness you insisted she go to the hospital, those symptoms you dont mess around with.
 

chemgirl

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

asscherisme|1315196394|3009885 said:
Wow, wow, wow, that is so freaking scary. Thank goodness for YOUR good judgement.

Frankly, i would be terrified of her husband's reaction and would have lost all faith in him to have your mom's best interest for health issues.

Is there something wrong with him? I don't think your mom is resposible in this case because the stroke clouded her judgement. But that he was the one who googled her symptoms and felt it unnecessary to seek medical help? And that he tried to talk you out of it? And that he kep barbquing????

I hope your mom has a full recovery. What is your relationship with her husband? I just can't even imagine his reaction.
Seriously! Its so obvious that something was wrong with her. I'm shocked that he didn't do anything about it and tried to talk you out of helping!

I'm glad it wasn't more serious than it was. Hugs to you and dust for a quick recovery!
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

So scary! I am so glad she is doing well now and sending lots of dust for a complete recovery!!

I have to huge ditto those who think her husband was not looking out for her at all. I mean, are you kidding me? He picks his parents up and has a barbecue all the while this is going on? You do *NOT* need to be in the medical field to realize these are classic symptoms of a stroke and even if he didn't know that how could he not know something was terribly wrong? Perhaps he is suffering from some kind of problem that prevented him from realizing the severity of the situation? I would ask him to get himself checked out medically as well. I would really be concerned about that too.

Thank goodness your mom is doing better and as you said it could have been so much worse. Huge (((((hugs))))) to you and your family!
 

jas

Brilliant_Rock
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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Hugs to you and I am glad your mom has you around (and glad you have friends to help you at work!!)

I am glad your mother is getting the help she needs, the poor thing.

Just another perspective, and I am NOT excusing the whole barbecue thing: I don't know how old your mom and her husband are. I see with my inlaws AND my parents that when one spouse takes ill or has serious symptoms, the default is to "downplay" -- it's the flu, it's a pulled muscle, it's no big deal. My dad, for example, will try to do this to keep my mom and himself from panicking. My MIL does it because she doesn't want to be a caretaker. In all cases, it's a big ol' denial of the reality - serious illness - and it is not intentionally done to harm the ill person.

Again, it's not right, but once you reach a certain age, there is the thought that when you go to the hospital, you may never come out. This is a scary thought for spouses. For some reason, kids tend to have the "Get It Looked At And It Can Be Controled/Cured/Helped" attitude.

Again, my 2 cents and I'm not in anyway saying it's right to ignore such clear symptoms.
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
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6,731
Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Lordy, LGK! :errrr:

Thank God you were there to help!

I think her DH has a psychological problem; he doesn't want to admit that there is something wrong with her. He's scared to admit that she is a human, with physical ailments, and could possibly one day "leave" him through illness. It's based in his fear of abandonment. He's more comfortable in denial, then he doesn't have to deal with anything.

How does he react when he's sick? Does he say "oh, it's nothing"? It's all fear, mixed with a bit of stupid.

And you have to explain to them that they are past the age of "it's probably nothing" and are heading into the years of "it might be something". Nobody likes to admit that, it shows their youth is over, and life is not the same anymore. I know I HATE that idea, so you'll probably have to repeat it a million times.

I'm proud of you, LGK, you did a good, smart thing. Way to go, lady! :appl:
 

Fly Girl

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

So glad you finally got your mom to the ER. How scary there was such a delay.

My cousin and his wife would phone his elderly mother every day to check on her, and like you, one evening my cousin's wife was able to diagnose a stroke while speaking to her on the phone. They drove over and got her to the hospital immediately.

My elderly parents had just headed out to lunch in the car when my mom began to have stroke-like symptoms. My dad immediately turned the car around and drove to the ER. She was completely evaluated and had a TIA. Fortunately, she recovered completely.

It's not google here, it's your mom and her husband being in some sort of denial. It makes for a difficult situation. Prayers for your family outgoing.
 

lliang_chi

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

LGK, 1) Thank GOODNESS you got your mom to the ER in time. 2) you have awesome friends, cousin, and DH so go them for being there for you. 3) You're such a a wonderful daughter and considering everything I think you handled this situation really well between your mom's stubbornness and her DH. 4) You have every right to be PO'd with how both your mom and her DH dismissed the symptoms. Very bad!

Having older parents, It's probably something along the lines that they don't want to "admit" there's something wrong and they want to carry on their independence. You have every right to be mad, but that still doesn't change the fact that they need someone to talk to them that their health is NOT a topic to take lightly. That they're very important to you, and you want them around for a long time. I'm hope once they figure that out, they'll take things more seriously for occasions like this.

Sending *~*~*DUST*~*~* to your mom that everything will be in tip-top shape.

~LC
 

ooo~Shiney!

Brilliant_Rock
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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Hi. I am in the Health field. I am a PA-C for a group of Neurosurgeons.
This really bothers me, and has for awhile.

First of all, well done on getting your mother the help she needed.

Secondly, if she had gone in to the ER within 3 or 4 hours of onset of symptoms,
she would have likely received TPA to control the stroke (*unless she had a contraindication)
which would have been to her advantage.
After 2 days, there is nothing for medicine to do except a whole lotta different imaging studies,
(to try to determine a cause for the stroke)
and Rx for a blood thinner of some sort (or daily aspirin)
Then rehab if needed.

In other news, hopefully not threadjacking, but you brought up Google....

I have a serious issue with people looking up their own symptoms on the internet.
My boss says, it is an insult to presume that because you spent 10 minutes
looking something up on Google, you are smarter than a Neurosurgeon
who has gone school for years and then been in practice for 20 + years...

I struggle with family members of patients in hospital EVERY SINGLE DAY
about patient's treatment plans, etc.
We have to be so politically correct these days, and even then the family
can refuse things that we consider in the best interest of the patient.
I have one young man who just suffered a devastating hemorrhagic stroke.
His wife is refusing certain adjunctive treatment that he needs because *they are praying
and they just know that God is going to make him walk out of here....*

No. That is not going to happen.

I know this because it is my job to
evaluate these patient's imaging studies
and I know what part of this man's brain is injured.
Irreparably.
I don't deny there is God, by the way. So please don't think that of me, please.

It's just that all the reading of information and blogs and what-not is not helping the average layperson.
I have had some patients basically dictate their own treatment plans (by refusing certain stuff)
then several days later decide that they were wrong and begging for the treatment,
here is part of where our health dollars go, extra days spent in hospital while you the patient, or your family,
decide to play doctor on Google.
 

rainydaze

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

oh wow, LGK. yikes! your mom is lucky to have a quick-thinking, quick-acting daughter and you are lucky to have the support system you have! i sincerely hope this was a wake-up call for her husband, and that she was indeed very, very lucky and will be ok. **hugs** to you, this had to be an incredibly frightening experience!
 

Amber St. Clare

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

LGK--sending out prayers and dust for your mother. Here's hoping she can recover quickly and go home soon.

My MIL recentlyexperienced severe,long lasting nose bleed swhich she failedto mention to us. One morning she felt so ill from a 4+ hour bleed she called me. I couldn't get her to call 911, but I got her to the local walk in urgent care where she promptly coded and they called 911 and we went to the hospital where she coded again. Long story short, she was told that the nosebleeds, in all probability, stopped a stroke. She was hospitalized for about 4 days. This changed our relationship--we have to check in on her A LOT more than we used to .My husband has 4 brothers and I'm a little surprised at their blase attitude about the whiwole situation. There's a lot I could say about it, but I won't.

But you do what you have to do, what you are comfortable with to ensure that she's OK.
 

VRBeauty

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

My mother is also a retire, long-time RN. I'm very grateful for that, because her medical knowledge, and the aggressiveness with which she's pursued proper care for my father's heart and lung conditions, have probably saved his life. When you live in a rural area with limited access to medical care because there are so few doctors who will accept Medicare patients... well, I could go on but I probably don't need to. Suffice it to say that my father's health would be diminished even more than it is were it not for my mother's diligence.

That said, I think there have been three occasions in the past few years in which she was admitted to the hospital on an emergency basis because she waited too long to get medical attention for her own symptoms. In the most recent case one of my brothers went to visit my folks (they live two hours from most of us siblings, including me) and realized that a condition my mother was going to live with through the weekend, before she would see a doctor on Monday, should be seen to right away. I forget what the condition was that time, but their trip to the emergency room resulted in a hospital stay of four or five days.

I don't mean to take anything away from the concerns ooo~Shiney! raised about people using google when they should be visiting their doctors, but I think there's something more than that going on with older people. I'm not sure if it's denial, fear, not wanting to inconvenience others, an accumulation of times when concerns turned out to be unwarranted, anger or distrust with the medical establishment, fatalism, or what... but this goes beyond using google instead of visiting a doctor.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

LGK, you really came through for your Mom! That was wonderful! She was lucky the stroke was not much worse, considering a 2 day delay in getting treatment. My mother had a severe stroke last November, and she is now mostly paralyzed on one side. Her life changed in an instant, and she did get to the hospital right away. I hope your mom and her husband are on their toes the next time. They might not be so lucky again.
 

Skippy123

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Oh my gosh I am so sorry. I will keep your mom in my prayers. huge hugs
 

Amys Bling

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

As soon as I started reading this I knew it had to be a stroke. Glad everything is ok-- I would be curious at your mom's husband as well.
 

LGK

Ideal_Rock
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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

She'll be turned loose on the unsuspecting world, which is great news since earlier they were saying she needed to stay overnight again. I don't know the exact details yet but presumably she is out of danger for the moment, yayyyyyyyy! :appl: :appl: :appl:

I'm going over when she comes home in a few hours, with my porta-kitten Bug to cheer her up. And her sister, who lives in the midwest and whom she is very close to, is going to come in a few weeks which is also great news. Although her husband should be a little afraid I think ;)) :devil: :devil: My aunt is awesome and I talked to her earlier, she called to say thanks for out-stubborning her, haha.

Thanks so much for everyone's thoughts and dust and prayers. It's been a tough couple of days.
 

centralsquare

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Oh dear - I'm so sorry about your mother! Very happy to see that it looks like she's doing well despite the stroke. Hopefully she learned a lesson!
 

Okie_girl

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

LGK, so glad to hear that your mother is doing well. If I may, I'd like to add my own little PSA. If your parents are elderly, have them notify their doctors, insurance providers, Medicare, etc., that they may provide YOU with information regarding your parents' health and medical needs. My mother passed away in December, and while she was ill, it was difficult to get information from my father. He's not one to ask a lot of questions, plus his hearing is not so great, so I never was completely sure how much he understood. I wound up calling my mother's doctor, and thankfully, she sort of bent the rules and would talk to me. But, even after my mother's death, Medicare would not talk to me at all because my mom hadn't given them permission to speak to me. After that, I made sure my dad listed me and my brother on the HIPAA forms at every doctor he goes to, and had him send that authorization to Medicare, and to his Medicare supplemental insurance provider.

Sorry, threadjack over. LGK, I hope your mother continues to do well, and if I may, I'd like to adopt "blows goats" as my own!
 

bee*

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

Wow-you're so lucky you made her go to the hospital! Glad she is doing better. How scary.
 

TheDoctor

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Messages
371
Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

LGK|1315193906|3009870 said:
...
Finally he called to apologize for not taking everything seriously enough, and to thank me for taking care of her, but good lord. Please leave Google for figuring out how quick your fingernails grow or something, not your whole right side being paralyzed, lethargy and confusiion[/size]
If all of your research is conducted online, you will undoubtedly wind up misinformed. Too many agendas.
Self-diagnosis online stuffs hospital emergency wards with people who fearfully react to the slightest symptoms.
On the other hand, people who really should see medical professionals resist going to emerg because it is stuffed with people who make it impossible to get through the lineup in under 2 days. We have all seen them. Attention-whores.
Solution:
Schedule every non "presenting"' patient at the ER for an emergency colonoscopy...to see if their head might be found there. They will waltz out the doors and not return until they actually have a life-threatening condition, which is what the ER is dedicated to.
 

LGK

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Re: PSA + rant: If you have older parents, try to convince t

So I talked to the staff my mom and I both work with today. A. said that mom had complained of a headache on the left side for over a week! And A. had said that it may be a sign of a stroke and to go. to. the. hospital! She didn't obviously.

And she's back in the hospital tonight. Apparently the left-side headache showed up again and she started getting dizzy, and so her husband, halleluja, called 911. Her blood pressure was normal so they suggested that she go to the ER, but they didn't take her in the ambulance. So she is currently hooked back up to the IV and waiting for yet more tests.

All I can say is THANK GOD THEY LISTENED. Holy god. It is so scary she's back in the hospital with the same symptoms that lead up to the first stroke, but at least she's there and not wandering around her garden alone crying, like she was last week.
 
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