Monday, June 10, 2013

Health Care Continues to Let us Down


Wednesday morning when I got up, there was a terrible odor coming from Parrish’s room.  I couldn’t figure out what it was but thought it might be body odor triggered by his medicines.  Soon thereafter he got up and the odor followed him into the kitchen.  I sniffed him to see if it were coming from his body and made the awful discovery that the smell was coming from his mouth.


Yes, from his mouth.  He complained that his teeth were hurting.  (He only has a few left on the bottom in front).  I took a look into his mouth and found pus draining from his gums.  Ever the one to take action, I found some antibiotics and gave him a big dose.  Then I had him rinse with half strength hydrogen peroxide and water.  I tried to figure out what to do next.

As the day wore on, the odor persisted and P began to complain of pain in his teeth and jaw.  I drove him to Urgent Care where, after a short wait, we were ushered into a typical boring examination room, painted that dreadful biscuit color and having not one modicum of life about it. 

She a left, saying the doctor would be in soon.  I assume his vital signs were all normal because she didn't mention them.  The doctor, a mousy sort, came in and got just close enough to P to look at his teeth, then he backed up to the doors and peered at P as though he had maggots in his mouth.  He stood there and told Parrish he has periodontal disease. He left the room without so much as touching P, saying he would write scrips for pain and an antibiotic.    

There was pus draining from Parrish’s gums and by that time he was complaining of his ears hurting.  The doctor didn’t so much as to get a white count or an x-ray to see if there were bone involvement.  Hell, he didn’t even look in P’s ears.  I grow increasingly disillusioned with health care every time I am involved with it.  I am certain that P would have received more complete care if he were privately insured. Cynical?  Yes.

We were home by 6:30 and once we were here, I was faced with the problem of managing pain meds in an addict with a very high tolerance for opoids.  The doctor prescribed Lortab 7.5mg every eight hours.  I gave P two tabs in his first dose because his pain was so acute.  I told him it was a one time deal and that I would follow the instructions on the bottle.

He was agreeable at first but as time passed, he became agitated, saying he could not bear the pain and insisting he needed a pain pill.  He insisted his jaw hurt more than it did earlier in the day.  I held my own and am still holding it but not without negative consequences for me.  P hounds me and complains and wakes me in the night trying to get more pills.  I am emotionally exhausted and short of patience and eating for all the wrong reasons and praying for Friday, when he has an appointment with a well respected oral surgeon.  

He complained that he couldn’t hear, especially in his right ear.  So......I irrigated both ears with peroxide.  It bubbled over out of his ears several times before it slowed down.  I thought that might help.  Nope.  He is still complaining, and it is clear that he can hardly hear.  I almost have to shout at him to be heard.  Is it because he spends so much time with ear buds inserted into his ears listening to loud music?  Does it have anything to do with his other symptoms?  

Jesus.  This business is wearing me out.  I haven’t felt rested in weeks, although I sleep long hours.  I use sleep as a hiding place, which is probably not good for me but I don’t care.  I have to find relief where I can.        

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