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Dementia and Surgery

dementia and surgery

I haven’t been on here in about six weeks, with good reason I suppose. It’s been that long since I began studying for an insurance license exam that I’m taking in a few hours. It has consumed my life.

But for the last two and a half weeks, so has dementia and surgery, sometimes separately and sometimes together.

Allow me to explain.

At the beginning of the month, I took my mother to the foot doctor for a follow-up appointment on her left ankle. She’s been experiencing pain nearly all summer. The doctor suggested that if she wanted her pain to go away, surgery was the best option, based on what she had going on.

He was able to schedule it for that Friday and we even got her in for pre-admission testing on Wednesday. She also had an appointment with her cardiologist later that same day. So I move my schedule around to accommodate this new plan, which meant rescheduling this insurance test and a few of the appointments they both had.

She sees the cardiologist and WHAM! New plan! She tells him that when she rides her trike, she feels pressure in her chest. News to me. He says no surgery until she has a stress test, which is then set for the following Tuesday.

HOW you’re asking, does all of this tie dementia and surgery together? While all of that is going on, Dad comes in from outside Monday afternoon (the same Monday that we saw the foot doctor) and he’s sobbing. I can’t begin to imagine why, so I ask.

It turns out that “someone sent him a message” that our dog had to be put down. He was wrecked! I assured him that the dog was fine, taking a nap with Mom like she always does during the afternoon. Of course, this is the dementia piece of surgery and dementia.

An unwise move on his part came next – he opened the bedroom door to find the dog. Fortunately, he didn’t wake either of them, but he came back out – she’s not there.


I assured him again that she was just sleeping under a chair. That seemed to do it for a while, but we had at least one, usually two or three of those incidents over the next four days, so I called his doctor. Obviously, we’ve experienced a change in his dementia.

Long story short, after bloodwork, a urinalysis, and a CT scan later, the doctor determined that an antibiotic he had been on was the cause. Fortunately, he stopped.

MEANWHILE, Mom has herself SO worked up over this stress test that she’s having difficulty breathing. We do the stress test on Tuesday and the reports all came back okay. Thank goodness!

So surgery was last Friday. She went kicking and screaming, sort of jokingly, but I think there was an element of truth to the whole thing.

She did well except she’s been experiencing nausea since she got home, so I’m hoping to get her a new antibiotic this afternoon as we determined that to be the cause by process of elimination.

Meanwhile, Dad is all out of sorts because he knows she’s off-kilter with this surgery. I’m exhausted because I have a sinus infection and I’m getting up at 4 a.m. to give her pain meds and readjust stuff like the leg pumps she’s wearing to prevent blood clots.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time dementia and surgery have invaded our lives. Dad required a similar foot surgery two years ago because he had a large bone spur on the back of his foot come free. It was threatening to saw his Achilles tendon clear through, so the bone spur had to be removed.

While Mom can sort of handle being non-weight bearing, he couldn’t remember, so he was forever putting his foot down and putting weight on it.

The doctor became annoyed, but really, he knew what type of patient he had and if he expected anything less, he was a fool!

Dementia and surgery, whether it’s the dementia patient or a loved one of the dementia patient, will bring havoc into your life. Be prepared!

Heck, I even added a smidgeon of caffeine to my coffee today just to get by.

If you have a loved one with dementia, be prepared for some difficult ramifications if that person or another in your life has surgery. Dementia patients require a regular schedule and a true sense of normalcy that goes out the window when surgery enters the game.

Wish me luck!!!

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