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My Mother's Fucked Up Know-It-All Paranoid Mentality Is a Problem This Time
October 10, 2003 - 7:53 p.m.
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Maybe after I write this, I won't yell at my Mom when she comes home, because right now I am seriously pissed off at her.
My Dad is having a problem with his leg. He gets frequent intense pain along his inner left thigh. It gets so bad that he can't walk sometimes. Worse, it's caused him to fall a few times. The last time he fell, it was in the garage and he was about an inch away from hitting his head on the car. The next time he falls, he's going to hit his head and it's going to kill him. His body is sixty-nine years old anyway. And his former boss died exactly that way earlier this year- he lost his balance, fell on that asphalt drive outside of Dad's office, hit his head and he was dead minutes later.
So Dad has been seeing doctors about the problem, and he had an MRI. I went with him on a follow-up appointment with his doctor on Thursday. The doctor admitted that he was a little perplexed. He was expecting to see something pinching the nerve leading to Dad's leg, but the MRI didn't show that. So, ruling out something like a slipped disc pinching the nerve, his next suggestion was that there might be a muscle in Dad's thigh that's easily pulled, and might be rubbing on the nerve causing the pain. He recommended that Dad go to a physical therapist to work on his thigh. The doctor also sent Dad to another neurologist for a second opinion to confirm his interpretation of the MRI.
It sounds like a reasonable course of action to me. From what little I know about biology, it makes perfect sense that if something is pinching the nerve, and the pain is isloated to the thigh, then it's something in the thigh causing the problem. I had actually guessed that before the doctor said it. But independent of whether I think it's a good course of action or not, the doctor is a licensed physician, a specialist, and he really has the best knowledge of what to do.
But Dad relies upon my Mom for advice on these matters. Dad's excuse is that because he's uneducated (he dropped out of the ninth grade), he needs help with this complicated decisions. I think he'd just rather have someone else make the decisions for him, because he's smart enough to take care of himself. But the fact of the matter is that he's going to let Mom make the final decisions on what happens to him.
I knew there was going to be a problem yesterday, when, after the appointment, Dad and I talked to Mom and she started with her rant about how no doctor knows what he's talking about. Apparently because my Grandma's cancer wasn't diagnosed immediately (and I don't know the actual circumstances of that), Mom believes that the whole medical profession is a collective sham. I had hoped well settled the matter of Dad, however, because I explained to her that she never went to medical school, the doctor actually did, and in any event the worst that can happen from physical therapy is that it doesn't work- there are no side effects from physical therapy. So Mom finally agreed that yes, she would set up the appointment with the physical therapist tomorrow (today).
Dad just told me a few minutes ago that he had decided not to go to the physical therapist. I asked him why and he said it was too expensive, that insurance wouldn't pay for it. I asked him if Mom had actually checked the price of the physical therapy, or if she had checked the insurace to see if it would be covered (and I know there insurance would cover this), and he admitted no, Mom hadn't actually checked on the insurance. (By the way, the same guy who thinks that physical therapy to fix his leg is too expensive- when that leg causes him constant pain and will cause him to fall and die- bought me a new car earlier this year when I didn't even need one.) But then after I when I blew that excuse, he said that the physical therapist wouldn't do anything that he couldn't do at home by exercising. I explained to him that no, physical therapy in this case wasn't just to strengthen his muscles, but it was to find and manipulate a specific muscle in a specific way to move it from his nerve. Then Dad didn't want to talk about it any more.
I am so pissed off because I know that Mom waited until today, when I wasn't around to contradict her, to talk Dad out of getting treatment for his leg. I don't give a damn if Mom wants to pretend she knows everything like she usually does, I usually humor her with that. But in this case, her misinformation and her paranoia is hurting Dad. And every damn day, I morbidly await the telephone call from someone to tell me that Dad fell somewhere, hit is head and died.
I don't know if yelling at Mom when she gets home is going to do any good. Probably not. I just sent an e-mail to my sister explaining what's going on and asking her to talk some sense into Mom and Dad. Neither Mom nor Dad take me seriously about anything I have to say, but they might listen to my sister, whom they have always respected more. And, my sister works as a surgical technician for a surgeon (though I think her job is more secretarial work then actual surgical assistance)- but by working in a medical field she has at least an aura of credibility when talking about things medical. It's probably just best if I leave the issue alone and let my sister handle it.
But dammit I'm so pissed off at Mom. Dad needs to get his leg fixed before he gets in a serious accident or worse.