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The wait for a diagnosis

pleasewaitIt took several months and varied doctors to find that my Dad has a tumor in his mouth. We started with the Oral Surgeon who has referred us to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist and orders a CT Scan. It takes several days before we can get appointments. Our first is to get the CT Scan.

This time I arrive with forms filled out. After a short wait they escort my Dad back to perform the scan. He returns a half-hour later. While we wait, I looked for local places to eat that would interest him. He has always been an adventurous eater. I find a local place that is well rated on YELP that offers empanadas. I tell him what I found and he agrees to try it with me.

We arrive and order a few with drinks. He tries his best to enjoy the food, but I can see he’s having trouble with anything that has texture. I realize that he should be on a liquid and soft foods diet. Eating is just too hard for him now.

I wonder how this could have progressed so far without anyone in his Assisted Living community noticing and even having it go undetected at his annual physical which just happened a few weeks ago. We now know something is very wrong and it’s going to take a few weeks to even understand it and learn if there is anyway to make him comfortable.

I sense a new lesson coming on. How will we manage cancer in my father who is also dealing with dementia? Vexed. 

3 comments on “The wait for a diagnosis

  1. My Mom had to have surgery when she was already well into her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It’s a whole new ballgame having someone with dementia have medical treatment or be in the hospital. I had to be her advocate like never before.

    • Yes! We are finding this is a whole new ballgame. I’m recognizing how little an Assisted Living facility can really manage when the care needs escalate. They have skilled nursing, but I’m the one who has had to ask for more care in addition to finding and getting my Dad to what feels like an endless parade of Doctor’s.

  2. I think that many staffers at assisted living facilities are not sufficiently trained to detect health issues in dementia patients. A lack of appetite is just considered a dementia symptom and an underlying cause is not investigated. I feel for those patients who do not have advocates as they must silently suffer.

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