Aging parents (and a rant about the VA)

My dad hasn’t been feeling very well lately.  No big thing, at least you wouldn’t think so.  His leg has been sore for quite a while now and it’s gradually moved up from the calf of his left leg into the thigh area on the back of his leg.  A little worrisome, but dad is 74 years old and pretty active, so I wasn’t too worried about it.  He’s never been one to just sit around, and he still works pretty much full time as a security guard.  He’s a retired police officer, in case I hadn’t mentioned that before.  The first time he mentioned it to me was on Easter Sunday when we were over at my in-law’s house for dinner.   He said his leg was really feeling bad and he was limping quite a bit.  I was a little worried about a blood clot, but he said it wasn’t swollen or red, and the pain had been going on for a couple weeks.  The following week he went to the VA and saw his doctor(s).  He did get some bad news, his ophthalmologist thinks he’s developing glaucoma, but everyone in his maternal side of the family had it, so that’s not a surprise really.  It’s not even bad enough for eye drops, but his pressures have risen a bit. 

His regular doctor did some x-rays of the leg and told him she’d get back to him.  That was a week ago yesterday, on Thursday.  Well, he didn’t hear anything Friday, and the leg was getting worse and worse.  On Sunday he almost fell walking over to my sister’s house across the street (dad also has vertigo, so between the dizziness and the sore leg he was an accident waiting to happen).  On Monday I called and talked to his wife.  (Please, she’s younger than me.  She is NOT my stepmother.)  She said dad had been in quite a bit of pain the night before and hadn’t been able to sleep.  I asked her if she had called his doctor.  I swear, I’m going to throttle that woman some day.  “I don’t know who it is”.  What?  Are you not his wife?  Oh nevermind, don’t even get me started on THAT topic.  Anyway, I told her I was going to call the doctor.  Funny, I didn’t have any trouble finding out who his doctor was (even though the stupid VA did manage to disconnect my call 4 freaking times before I finally got to leave a message).  I wasn’t rude though, you would have been proud of me.  I left a message with his name and social security number, blah, blah blah…. The nurse called me back about 20 minutes later.  Surprise, surprise.  I explained to her that I was really concerned about dad, he was having quite a lot of SEVERE (I stressed severe) pain, and he was pretty unsteady on his feet already because of the vertigo, so you can imagine what a hard time he was having, yada yada yada.  I knew she couldn’t give me any information, but she assured me she’d give the message to the doctor and have her call my dad.  I found out later that my dad had also called and left a message for her to call because he was in so much pain. 

 By Monday evening he was in so much pain that his “wife” finally decided maybe he should go to the hospital and get something for his pain.  (Only after discussing it with my sister and waiting another 90 minutes – duh.)  So he went to the hospital.  Which shall remain nameless, because their ER doctor is a moron.  They did x-rays and Doppler studies to rule out a blood clot, which was good, I’ll give them that.  Then the doctor told my dad it was tendinitis and to go home and put heat on it.  He told him he didn’t have to stay home from work because staying active was going to help it heal.  They also gave him some Darvocet, woo hoo.  At least he had some relief from the pain. Okay.  

 Tuesday, no call from the doctor.  Wednesday, no call from the doctor.   Wednesday during the day Bitchsister had gone over to his house to mow the lawn (Yes, the young wife felt no need to take care of the jungle in the back yard.  Maybe it cut into her tanning bed time… Oh yeah, I’m not going to go there…)  Anyway, while sister and nephew are there, dad nearly falls twice.  Thank goodness nephew was there to literally catch him both times.  The second time he hurts twists the sore knee.  Not good.  So, Bitchsister starts to look up tendinitis on the internet, because he’s still not getting any better.  Well, hello!  Seems the treatment for tendinitis is ice, not heat, and the less activity the better.  He certainly should NOT be working for 8 hours standing on his leg.  I actually can’t give the doctor too much crap because I knew this too, and just didn’t think.  Which I really, really feel bad about.   Really…  Seriously. 

Anyway, Thursday comes and I take dad out some lunch to save him from having to eat cereal.  (Wife….? Oh yeah, not going there.)  While we’re chowing on BK the phone rings… Guess what?  It’s the VA doctor!  And it only took a week from the time of the x-rays and 4 days since dad and I both called her about his pain.  I’m glad to see nothing has changed about that VA since I worked there 15 years ago.  Idiots.  And guess what?  Dad has tendinitis!  Imagine that!  God help me, I want to go down there and throttle that woman. 

She suggested a shot of steroids to the knee (ouch) which dad declined.  She’s going to have a prescription mailed out to him for a steroid taper (any bets on how long THAT will take?) and he should feels some results in a week or so.   Augh. 

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3 Comments

Filed under family

3 responses to “Aging parents (and a rant about the VA)

  1. yah, VA is notoriously slow.

  2. Bitchsister

    Just to update…today is April 23rd and imagine this…still no prescription has arrived in the mail. Maybe they’re using the Pony Express???!!!

  3. Later on the 23rd – the prescription arrived, but it’s not a steroid. Imagine that! It’s an NSAID. Augh.

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