Many families find themselves taking their loved ones to the doctor during the busy holiday season. The stress of the holidays can make an already difficult situation even harder. However, it is important to remain hopeful and remember that self-care is key. By taking care of yourself, you can be better equipped to support your loved one.
Getting out of the house
A visit to the doctor can rank pretty high on the frustration scale, for you and your loved one alike.
First, getting your loved one up and out of the house can be a monumental task, requiring maybe two or even more hours. It’s even more challenging when the loved one needs complete assistance with hygiene and dressing.
Then there’s finding parking for the doctor’s office, the test site, the hospital outpatient facility, or physical therapy - whatever.
Does your loved one need the toilet during the visit? This challenge is magnified in the cold winter months because of the extra layers you must deal with.
But that’s just the transportation part. What about the actual visit, and in the exam room with your loved one’s doctor? This can be frustrating as well.
In with the doctor; but opportunities missed
You struggle to remember your loved one’s complaints of the last week. She seems to have a new one every day. It’s especially annoying when the doctor asks your loved one “Mrs. Jackson, how have you been feeling?” and your mother says, just fine doctor!”
The doctor is virtually in and out. The visit is over. She is busily on to her next patient.
Before she leaves, however, your loved one’s doctor asks, “Do you have any questions?”
Indeed, you did have questions. They were so clear and urgent before but now they are just a blur. Between the rushing and traffic, the bored vigilance while waiting to see the doctor and the rush of the visit, your mind went blank. You ‘re mad at yourself because you can’t remember your questions, and they seem so trivial now anyway.
What about the vague symptoms that disturb your mother’s sleep? Her appetite has been off lately, and she complains about her stomach; yet the doctor’s scales don’t show any weight loss. A confusing variety of aches and pains bothered her knees today, her right shoulder before that, her back all the time. Now and then she worries about headaches.
And she is argumentative. “I can never do anything right”, you chafe. “I understand that she’s been upset ever since she moved in with me seven months ago. Her memory and falling made it unsafe for her to live alone. Plus, she’s been struggling since Dad died two years ago.”
“But the doctor doesn’t have time to listen to my troubles. Sometimes I feel she doesn’t take my issues seriously. Mom tells her that she is feeling fine, and the doctor doesn’t find anything in her routine exams and tests, so I feel as if I’m just whining and complaining.”
“Yet I know from experience that as soon as we get home, mom will start complaining again about her aches and pains and her stomach. What do I do?”
You've got a big job