The Tale of an Irascible Old Man, the Love of my Life for 48 years, and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
One thing most people in our age group have in common is frequent visits to the doctor. Usually it is a good thing if both husband and wife go to the visits. It was lucky I did go with Joe to his last check up for diabetes with our GP in Panama City, Dr. Marwan Obid. Dr. Obid is a great doctor for what we usually need colds, diabetes, regular old aches and pains. His greatest asset is he knows when to refer someone to somebody who knows more than he does about a certain ailment.
Well, Joe suffered the indignity of the scales, checking the ears (a problem because Joe took the hearing aids out and that is the last we have seen of them), taking the blood pressure (a little high, but hey, we were in a doctor's office. Always concerning.) And then we were led into the waiting room where we waited for the doctor.
Dr. Obid came in and sat at the computer and began checking off the list on the screen. He completed those questions and said, "Well, take this to the check out. And call me when you need me."
"Dr. Obid," I said. "Have you noticed how Joe is shuffling when he walks?"
I then mentioned his memory problems (something I feared because his mother and grandmother had Alzheimers), and the problem with incontinence on occasion. The three things I listed apparently made a bell ring and he said Joe needed to see a neurologist. Joe chose Dr. Jacob whose office is near us and Joe and I had actually come to Panama City to take a deposition of the doctor in a case he had years ago.
Dr. Jacob immediately recognized the condition as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, a condition often confused with Alzheimers, but one that something can really be done about. One MRI and lots of bloodwork later and Dr. Jacobs could see the enlarged ventricles in the brain. For some reason, the body makes too much cerebral spinal fluid and the ventricles fill up because the fluid does not flow out well enough. That pressure causes the aforementioned problems.
Dr. Jacob then referred us to Dr. Voss, a neurosurgeon in Dothan whose advice was pretty much, I've done some shunts to relieve the pressure, but not with great success in adults. But, if you are determined to do something let Dr. Obid make you an appointment for a cystogram. The radiologist does a spinal tap and removes 30 ccs (they could only get 6 ccs from Joe). Then he inserts "the medicine", a $12,800 shot of radioactive something that will circulate through the brain. (Thank God for Medicare and Humana!) Joe then had to return the following three days to take 20 minutes of more pictures of his brain.
They have assured him he still has one.
We have not gotten the firm diagnosis from the doctor, but those 6 ccs have already made a world of difference for Joe. He no longer shuffles and that makes him SO HAPPY. Also, it seems his memory is better. So he is looking forward to having a shunt put in. This sounds dangerous to me because they are messing around in the brain. But there is hope of relief.
|This is not Joe's brain but his is pretty much like this..|
We have visited the hydrocephalus.org website and we found doctors listed there. The one we will probably try to make an appointment with is:
Our daughter-in-law, Brittany, is assistant Director of Development for the Mitchell Cancer Center. She and our son Drew and grandsons, George and Sam, live in Mobile and will certainly be an asset for us there. Plus I have some very good friends around there, including two BEST FRIENDS over the years, Karen Smith Vano and Rick Williams so if we stay at Sylvia's place at Ono for recovery (she has an elevator) we should be good. Family and Friends what greater blessing can two doddering old fogies have?
Now, for the IRASCIBLE part of this story. Today we were at Outback for lunch. I ordered the 6 oz filet and my favorite pecan chopped salad. Joe ordered a lesser cut of meat. I was all prepared to say "nanny nanny boo boo" with my fine juicy cut of meat when much to my surprise, the steak came out flat as (well flat as a flatiron can make it). All of my anticipation disappeared like air out of a balloon. If I am going to pay $21 for a steak, I want it to LOOK like what I ordered! (This happened to me once at Applebees as well.)
I thought Outback was a "cut above". ( I'm not adverse to a cheap pun every now and then.) But, I will not pay $21 for a flat iron steak like I see advertised at Denny's! So, the manager came out and explained (pretty much like the manager did at Applebees) "I am sorry, ma'am. But they get backed up there in the kitchen they use the flatiron to speed things up."
"Now when they do my steak," the manager told us, "THEY KNOW BETTER than to use the flatiron on a steak! AND I HAVE THEM NOTE ON THE TICKET NO FLATIRON!"
I suggested it might be a good idea to make it policy to treat all of their customers like they do their manager! Just saying!
So this is a warning to all you steak eaters out there. TELL THEM NO FLATIRON WHEN YOU ORDER YOUR STEAK or you too may have to call the manager and tell them that you are not paying for a flatiron steak when you order a filet!
Okay, that was IRASCIBLE ME.
But, when the manager and the waitress made the mistake of saying,"No Problem," when Joe thanked them for taking care of it on our bill...
Well, if there is a pet peeve greater than the "NO PROBLEM" response to this retired attorney, I cannot think what it is.
"Yes, there was a problem! Saying there is 'no problem' means you have not comprehended that there WAS A PROBLEM!"
Neither of the individuals understood what he said. No one has the billion times he has said that. So, I am reporting to all of you, if an irascible old man has a problem, DO NOT RESPOND "NO PROBLEM." Because if you do, his wife will have to hear that complaint AGAIN AND AGAIN!
Say, something like, "That was a problem I will work on fixing here at Outback/Applebees. We appreciate your patronage and look forward to your returning."
Later in the kitchen you can say what an old f (ogey) that person was if you like, but this is certainly a lesson our young people could take to heart.
Ah, if only I could draw! Our granddaughter says she wants to start a sit com titled My Grandparents Drive ME Crazy!
We have the appointment with Dr. Martino.