Get the Most from Your Elderly Parent's Doctor
By Richard Kuhns
Having elderly parents can be a medical challenge and a lot of stress for the children. In fact some elderly parents seem to think life is about having the best doctors and their self worth is actually determined by the number of doctors and specialists that they see—a subject that deserves its own article.
My mother started having symptoms of an irritable stomach and bowel along with fatigue twenty years ago. I took her to a reputable iridologist (reads the iris of your eyes) who made dietary adjustments (removed fruit and sweets from her diet) and started her on various supplements. Seems that my mother's diet got skewed—she prefers fruit to protein and after several years of overdoing it with fruit, it fueled her symptoms.
The dietary change and nutritional supplements got her back to normal for a few years until she once again began abusing her diet with coconut syrup and fruit. The symptoms were very similar to what she had before. By now the iridologist had moved away and I have to find another iridologist or a new physician for her. I didn't live with my mother so I wasn't privy to her diet but suspected her symptoms were diet related. She, on the other hand, was certain she had some kind of infection similar to what her mother died from fifteen years before.
Finally I found a doctor and took her for weekly visits. It was a twenty minute trip and I soon became frustrated. To cut to the chase I began sitting in on the visits and within two visits it became evident that my mother had a severe case of Candida Albicans. I guided the doctor into having her remove the coconut syrup, sweets, and fruit and within a month she was feeling better once again.
Three years later, my mother's symptoms returned along with a urinary tract infection. The doctor we had seen was no longer in practice and we had to find another one. He was young and I hoped would be nutritionally oriented—he wasn't. He ordered a ton of tests—upper and lower GI track which showed nothing. He treated her for the urinary tract infection with an antibiotic (as I expected) and she responded by having panic attacks in addition to all her other symptoms. Ultimately he decided she was suffering from depression and prescribed Prozac. She became more fatigued with more episodes of panic and continued stomach problems. I didn't sit in on these sessions and in hind sight wish I had.
I suggested she look at her diet and again she was convinced she had an infection and needed to be hospitalized. Ultimately she got fed up with the depression diagnosis and we went searching for a nutritionally oriented physician. This time I decided I would accompany her in every session. With my direction, the doctor ordered tests to once again confirm the presence of Candida Albicans. Six months and a dozen doctor visits later, my mother's panic symptoms were gone along with all stomach and GI track issues. However, the fatigue continued even after many nutritional supplements and chelation therapy with EDTA.
My mother stayed away from sugar to the extent she believed herself to be diabetic—for a while, but her energy never returned.
Another year or two passed and her diet again shifted to carbohydrates in the form of fruits and cookies from the health food store. The fatigue worsened and her stomach symptoms again reappeared. She wouldn't listen to my dietary advice as she was certain she had this mortal infection. I met with her doctor privately before her session and shared my point of view regarding her diet—he agreed. During the visit he questioned her about her diet. She was eating primarily carbohydrates with no vegetables and little protein. He "read her the riot act." She began adding veggies and protein and began feeling better.
Her regular doctor wasn't available for her next med check (Armor Thyroid) and she saw one of the other affiliates in the same office. She never went back to the doctor who read her the riot act, began bad mouthing him as being a bad doctor and she continued being fatigued.
Her new doctor was new to the field of medicine and easy to work with. I suggested a test for Lyme disease and he concurred. We ordered a test from Bowen Labs at 1200 S. Pinellas Ave., Units 11 & 12, Tarpoon Springs, Florida 34689 (Phone # 727-037-9077). Chronic Lyme disease often shows up negative with standard tests. Bowen uses microscopy and finds it when it's often missed by standard laboratory techniques. Sure enough the tests came back positive and antibiotics were started.
Unfortunately, she couldn't tolerate the antibiotics nor the naturopathic remedy of cat's claw to replace antibiotics. About this time she met a man who recently lost his wife. She had an obvious renewed interest in life and with a fairly strict diet her energy returned—love conquers all.
With the passing of time, for various ridiculous reasons, she didn't allow the romance to develop—fearful of what others would say. Nothing I could say would make a difference—her limitations are owned by her and her alone which could be the subject of another article.
Feeling much better, her diet began expanding to include more fruit and carbohydrates and within six months I took her to emergency at the hospital. Again she was certain she had a mortal infection and was discharged after a half dozen negative tests.
Now, you'd think that with all her past experience with diet, she'd be open to getting back to a healthy diet. However, her memory was significantly compromised. she had trouble remembering anything for more than a few minutes—a symptom of Lyme disease.
Again, I worked with her doctor in shifting her diet away from carbohydrates. But what's left to eat? She dislikes meat of any kind (especially fish) and thinks eating two broccoli crowns a week is adequate.
At wits end, I ordered a Vita Mix and began making her a drink comprising of a clove of garlic, a red beet, stalk of celery, and a carrot. I told her doctor of my plan and he suggested I add protein powder, Pro Biotics and Intestinal Support with L-Glutamine (nutrients for the intestinal track), I went one step further and added a dropper of cat's claw (for the Lyme disease).
After six weeks of shifting her diet towards meat protein, her daily vegetable drinks, and coral calcium, her memory improved dramatically and even in the absence of romance, her energy returned.
Instead of wanting to see her doctor every day for relief, she now looks forward to her daily vegetable drink—a quart a day. About the doctor: She wanted to tell him he was the best doctor she ever had until her last visit—the first one I missed—when he basically gave her the "brush off" and rushed her out the door. "He was totally a different doctor when you are there. I think he's afraid of you," she said to me.
Now, I'm not an intimidating type of person and the point is that if you want the best of care for your elderly parents accompany them in the visits with the doctor, look at their diet to make sure it's not lopsided (older folks regress to child like preferences), and the drink I make with a Vita Mix will be healthy for every one—you as well as your parents.