Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sometimes Doctors Don't Know...

Sometimes doctors don't have all the answers.  I have dealt with enough doctors concerning my daughter and myself to know this.  So why am I so floored that when my mom goes to the doctor yesterday for one more follow-up about the issues I've described in earlier blogs... only to find out that he basically said there's nothing he can do?

Maybe the difference comes down to the fact that when I come to the point of knowing a certain doctor doesn't have an answer, it's because I or my daughter do what he/she says and nothing gets better.  This time the doctor actually said there was nothing else he could do. 

This brings a whole new dimension to my mom's struggles. The medical issue she is specifically dealing with this time is that she has times of random low blood sugar and low blood pressure.  We know why she has low blood pressure (which shoots up high in the evening).  She has a type of dysautonomia called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS.  Its main symptom is having a large range of blood pressure readings.  She has dealt with this for a long time and it hasn't affected her this badly before.

It's probably the effect of the low blood sugar aggravating the POTS, said from my non-medical opinion.  However, since no test has shown why she's suddenly getting low blood sugar levels, they can't fix it.

She gets weak spells and has had several falls, some with bad consequences (fractured skull, broken pelvis, etc).  With this, she gets almost unresponsive.  And it comes on quickly.  I worry so much that she'll start feeling bad and not have time to get to a chair or that she'll be alone when it happens.  

In the near future, it may be time to bring up her using a wheelchair.  She uses a walker now, and has for years, but she doesn't always use it.  Honestly, it doesn't even help all the time.  She fractured her skull during the fall where she had her walker right beside her.  It happened so quickly she couldn't grab it.  

I dread this discussion.  The living room, kitchen and her bedroom aren't overloaded with furniture, but there's enough to make navigating with a wheelchair a difficult prospect.  IF she agreed to a wheelchair, we would have to do some rearranging or change some furniture.  Plus, she doesn't have the strength to use her arms pulling on the wheels for propulsion.   I guess she'd honestly need a scooter, but the house is definitely not big enough for that.

Why did I bring this up on a blog about stigmas?  Well, one point is straight from the title.  Sometimes doctors don't know... don't know a solution, don't know enough about how a condition affects you to effectively treat you, don't know that the side effects of a drug can be worse than the condition, don't know an answer.  

The other is something I'm still amazed I believed for so long in my life.  There are many who use wheelchairs and scooters who can still walk, especially in the elderly population.  I always assumed that those who use a wheelchair have no mobility at all.

Instead, there are many who, because of mental, physical, or both kinds of health issues can't walk.  These so-called "invisible illnesses" look on the outside like everything is good.  But pain, dizziness, blood pressure issues, lupus, MS, auto-immune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, and on and on, can mean someone who looks healthy on the outside, might not be.  Some days or even weeks, these same people could be totally fine.  There are many diseases that cycle and have weeks of reprieve but then a relapse.  

So don't judge those who you see sometimes using a wheelchair and sometimes walking around.  You might think of that person as lazy, but live with his/her condition for just one day during a flare-up and you'll see that these are some of the strongest people out there.


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