** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
Working as a caregiver has prepared me to deal with some of my aging family members. One lady in our family who is nearing 90 is particularly challenging, and we are all at our wit's end from time to time. This woman hates going to the doctor and insists that we drop her off at the clinic door and wait for her in the car.
She even told us that the doctor makes her take medications she doesn't want to take, but if she doesn't take them, he won't be her doctor. Personally, as her family, we are very concerned. We've all encouraged her to discuss the side effects of her medications with her doctor and pharmacist. She says she'll talk to the pharmacist soon.
We've all heard various reasons for her not allowing us to go to the clinic; the waiting room is quite small, so they won't let anyone back with her. To her health issues are private and for her only. When we called her doctor to inquire about her reasons for not allowing us to go with her, they assured us they have a huge, well-appointed waiting room and encourage family members to go with patients to learn more about their illnesses and how to help them. While we've all tried to honor her wishes, we are concerned that she's not getting the proper medical care she needs.
She is on a few different medications and frequently forgets to take them. If we remind her, she is very defensive and will be grumpy with the person who reminded her all day. Finally, we got a break. She wasn't feeling up to picking up her medications at the pharmacy one day, and she asked her grandson to pick them up for her while he was in town.
Knowing what was going on, the grandson saved the receipt from her medications so that the family could double-check that nothing is causing her mood changes, etc. He also wanted to ensure that his grandma is taking the proper dosages of her medications, as she frequently took several pills without even looking at the bottles.
Thankfully, this has helped the family a lot. Now we can quietly monitor that she is taking the proper dosages without being too intrusive. Since we knew that she was taking several pills and the dosage was only one, we asked her if they had ever changed her dosage, to which she replied, "no, I always take 3 of these pills daily at a time". I suggested she might want to read the label as one of my medications had recently changed dosages.
After she read the label, she commented that perhaps she should read the labels more often and told me that they had changed her dosage to one pill per day. This is a small start, and we're pleased with this much. However, since she won't allow anyone else with her in the doctor's office, it's challenging at best to keep track of everything. We called her doctor to discuss our concerns, and he assured us that he would subtly address our concerns and check her for Alzheimer's and Dementia.
What would you do if it were your family member? How would you help them? Would you take something if the doctor insisted you take them, or the doctor wouldn't be your doctor?