Sunday, September 20, 2009

My writing week 2(38)

Hi all,

Last week was one of the most stressful in my life. My father, who has the early stages of dementia, had a hernia operation on Monday. His health is not that great so the operation was not without risk. The operation went well, but at 11.30 that night I was awoken by knocking at the back door. I opened the door and it was my father in his PJs and dressing gown with an intravenous needle in his arm. We found out later that he had also removed a catheter, before shuffling out of the hospital about one and a half kilometres away. I asked him why and he kept on saying, "there was nobody there". The pain killers were obviously making his dementia worse. A call to the hospital found them frantically looking for him. They had called the police, who arrived a few minutes later and took him back to hospital. My father's deteriorating mental state is a huge and saddening worry.

On Tuesday I went to the dentist to have a crown put on a tooth. Unfortunately, as the dentist was putting it on, he noticed another problem, so I have another trip to the dentist in a few weeks.

Wednesday I went to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) and found out about the cataracts that had mysteriously developed on my eyes. I was in for a couple of shocks. Firstly, the unsympathetic doctor said that there was less of a chance of success of removing the cataract form my left eye than the usual 95 out of 100. Why, I am still yet to find out as I was freaking out at that stage. Then I found out the cost - about $1850 for both eyes done in a public hospital in Benalla 50k's away, or $3700 at the private hospital in Wangaratta (the same private hospital my father had walked out from). Or I could wait 9 months on the public waiting list. I opted for the Benalla public hospital, with the left eye due to be done on the 21st of October.

After I got home, I fumed about the
ophthalmologist's attitude, but unfortunately there is only one in Wangaratta, perhaps only one in the surrounding region. When my eyes cleared from the examination's eye drops, I read the information pamphlet given to me. I then wanted to know why me as cataracts don't usually become prominent until people are in their 60's, and that is over a decade away for me. I also wanted to know why my chances of success were worse. It is not as if I am unhealthy, in fact, I reckon I would be fitter than 80-90% of people my age as I swim three kilometres three times a week and lift weights three times a week. I also walk a lot. I rang the ophthalmologist on Thursday, but he, of course, was in surgery. He still has not rung back. I did get some answers from the receptionist, but not to the above two questions.

On Thursday I did some research on cataracts on the web that provided me with little reassurance.

On Friday I woke up with diarrhoea - probably due to stress - and missed work.

So I had a wonderful week. But surprisingly, I did more editing of Stalking Tigers last week than I did the week before. As they say in the not classics: go figure.



Satima Flavell said...

Oh, I do feel for you, Graham! That was a terrible experience with your father. Thanks heaven he at least knew the way to your place! I sympathise because my eldest sister is just coming down with dementia and I can see she is going to wind up in sheltered care before too long.

And as for the cataracts - well I have them too but I am nearly 20 yrs older than you. I hope the treatment is successful and you carry good vision into your old age.

Graham Clements said...

I just hope my father's dementia doesn't progress too rapidly. I pity my mother having to cope with him.

I've spoken to my eye doctor's receptionist - as he is on holidays - and she read his notes on me. They say I have a slight chance of a problem with the lens capsule, whatever that means. I have made an appointment to see him the week before the operation.