Sunday, August 28, 2011

Home Again, Second Time Around

Dad was discharged after lunch today. Seemed a little weaker then when he went in, but the hospital is no place to rest. Did get some results. Learned a thing or two. A couple of meds were changed. A couple of meds were added.

The big news came from the neurologist though it's been tough to find out anything. (I wish I had been there to see the neurologist. Mom and Dad had a hard time understanding what the doctor had to say.) But the diagnosis was in the the discharge orders.

"A small stroke in the pons," it said.

"What is the pons," I asked.

No one seemed to know. Googling tells me that the pons is the brainstem.

Exactly when this event occurred is difficult to determine. I think it could have even have been before the surgery, but what do I know. Yes, stroke sounds major to me but nobody's playing it up at all.  I must say that I am not surprised. Dad's grasp has been fuzzy since the surgery. I'll talk more to Dad about it tomorrow. Also Dr Musselman. More to report then.

Dr. Musselman radically cut down on the Amiodarone, which was the prime suspect for causing the nasty side effects. Since it controls the fibrillation of the heart, it's just as well they took it down under observation in the hospital.  If you read about the medication, you would find out that hospitalization during withdrawal is common.

And a small rant on drug administration. I have always found that knowing "why" helps me to "do." (I'm sure Mom would disagree.) For instance, knowing that a chemical found only in grapefruit causes wide variance in the potency of some drugs helps me understand why grapefruit is often singled out as something to be avoided. When the drug controls heart rhythms, it's time to pay attention. In particular, the body is usually only able to absorb 22-95% of the amiodarone in a given dose. The higher absorbancy is achieved when the drug is ingested with food. Hence the instruction, "Take with food." Following all these micro-instructions would sure make life more complicated!

The neurologist also prescribed two medications to control the tremors in his leg and arm (left side) and they seem to be working.

I spent the afternoon getting them situated, getting the new meds and helping Mom get Dad's pills ready for the next week. Helen made a Central Market run and arrived shortly before I left. Dad wanted ground beef patties and buttered rice for dinner, so that was the agenda for the evening.

Tomorrow Dad has an appointment with Dr. Musselman (cardiologist) at 11 followed by Mom's 3rd radiation treatment. I'll pick them up at 10:30 and the plan is for Dad to go see where Mom goes for treatment, maybe followed by Braum's for lunch, if Dad can last that long.

It will be a long outing.

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