Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Something to think about: Old or sick?

By
From page A4 | April 19, 2013 | Leave Comment

Something is just not right. Strange things are going on with your body and you don’t know what to do about it. First, you wait for the symptoms to go away, but, when they don’t or they worsen, you go to the doctor.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. If you are over 35 and the doctor doesn’t know what condition is causing your combination of symptoms, you will likely hear the dread words, “Well, at your age…”

The assumption that completes the rest of that sentence is that at your age, decrepitude of some form is to be expected. Go home, get some rest and suck it up.

One thing I’ve learned from watching CSI and multiple detective programs on television is not to make assumptions. Follow the evidence. Open your mind and explore the possibilities. Follow all the leads, not just the one that seems most likely. It’s probably not the butler who killed Professor Plum in the library with the lead pipe, but you should check it out anyway.

I first heard “at your age” when I was 40. I have friends who are hearing it at 94, but it’s not any more valid at 94 than it was at 40 as a reason for all medical problems. To be sure, things are going to wear out and some things work differently than they used to. They look different too. But, you live in your body 24/7 and when something is not right, you know it.

It’s like that funny noise you hear in your car. Other people don’t notice the noise or they attribute it to something inconsequential. But you know your car and that is not a noise your car makes. You take it to the mechanic and it stops making the noise. The mechanic can’t find anything wrong and implies that it’s probably just a loose screw or something. You drive home, thinking that maybe you’re wrong and then, a mile from your house, the noise returns. If you immediately return to the mechanic, sometimes they find the problem. Sometimes, several hundred dollars later, there’s still a noise in your car and the mechanic looks at you as if you’re crazy. You decide to try to live with the noise and hope that your motor won’t fall out on the freeway.

A friend’s active and independent 90-year-old mother went into the hospital for minor surgery. The surgery went well, but her daughters were dismayed that their mother seemed to be rambling and incoherent upon waking up. The hospital kept her another night and the following morning; the mother did not recognize her children and was hallucinating. The daughters talked to the doctor who said that unfortunately, this sometimes happened to elderly patients — a slide into dementia that would necessitate a placement in assisted living or a memory care facility. The daughters questioned whether the intravenous pain medication or some of the other medications being given to their mother in the hospital might be the cause. No, it was her age — it just happens, said the doctor. Finally, the oldest daughter demanded that all medication be stopped temporarily. Reluctantly it was and 12 hours later, the mother was back to her usual alert and responsive self. She had been allergic to the pain medication.

Thank goodness for the Internet. You can research your own symptoms — follow a few leads and narrow down the field of possibilities. You might have a bit more time and definitely more motivation than your doctor does to do this. Doctors didn’t use to appreciate patients who researched their own symptoms, particularly when they also made their own diagnosis, but if you trot out your research and leave it open-ended, many are more willing to listen. There are countless examples of non-medical people doing research that lead their doctor to an accurate diagnosis.

It’s up to you to refuse the one-hit wonder approach. How about looking at all the symptoms instead of just one? Advocate for yourself even if you don’t know anything about medicine — few of us do. If your doctor pulls the age card, pull one of your own — the informed patient card.

Wendy Schultz is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. Her column appears bi-weekly. 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

Goodbye LUPPU, hello LRPU

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Past due state taxes bring arrest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

 
Sanford trial: Prosecution, defense rest

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Woman, dog back from Oso

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
DA candidate to remain on ballot

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A9

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Benji and the Bickersons

By Matthew Margolis | From Page: A10

 
CPCSD seat unfilled

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

Lew Uhler backs Ranalli

By News Release | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
.

Letters

District 4 candidate

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 8 Comments

 
Open meetings

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 5 Comments

Volunteers and homeless camps

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 14 Comments

 
Bicycle events and traffic control

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 4 Comments

Evacuation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

 
.

Sports

Savannah Stephens can swing the bat

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
King of the West roars into Placerville

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A11

First and goal: Bunt etiquette

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

 
Oak Ridge suffers tough 2-1 setback

By Mike Bush | From Page: A11

Jennings wins national title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Roundup: April 17, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

.

Prospecting

Plantastic sale this Saturday

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Spring art brightens government center

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: April 18, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Time out: A grand time at Grand China

By Earle Camembert | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Temple Kol Shalom hosts Passover Seder

By News Release | From Page: B3

 
Student art featured for Third Saturday

By News Release | From Page: B3

Promenade in high style

By Historic Old Sacramento | From Page: B4

 
Sac State Presents ‘Gypsy’

By California State Unversity, Sacramento | From Page: B4

Friday nights are engaging at the de Young

By Fine Arts | From Page: B5

 
Hats On For the Kids raises money for children

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B6

See what is inside the vault

By Center For Sacramento History | From Page: B6

 
Eggstravaganza

By Fairytale Town | From Page: B6

Gallery tips a hat to Dr. Seuss

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B7

 
Museum presents ‘Diesel Days’

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B7

Engagement: Adam Frega and Wednesday Bienusa

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Air Force Airman Brian Polk

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

Cal Stage presents a season of challenging productions

By California Stage | From Page: B8

 
Duty: Army Pfc. Kyle W. Beasy

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B8

KVIE calls for artists

By Kvie | From Page: B9

 
A Couple of Blaguards tell tales

By Harris Center for the Arts | From Page: B9

America’s ClayFest II celebrates a rich history

By Blue Line Arts | From Page: B14

 
Fine Arts Museums feature two shows

By Fine Arts | From Page: B15

See wildflowers on train ride

By Railtown | From Page: B15

 
Easter at Northstar is family friendly

By Northstar California | From Page: B15

.

Essentials

Crime Log: March 28-30

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Arthur W. Cornell

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frank “Bud” Kraus Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Roy Cluness Chaix

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Frederick Wilbur Heymann

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

 
Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

 
Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

 
Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

 
EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments

.

Comics

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A13

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A13

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A14

Horoscope, Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
Horoscope, Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A14

Horoscope, Friday, April 18, 2104

By Contributor | From Page: A14

 
.

Home Source

Faster sales with spring staging

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

Coldwell Banker outsells the competition

Press Release | From Page: HS7

Handsome Redmond suits modern families

Press Release | From Page: HS11

Growing your own

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS14

Fraud workshop scheduled

Press Release | From Page: HS21

HCD launches assistance program

Press Release | From Page: HS22, 1 Comment

EZ Mortgages Inc. opens Placerville office

By News Release | From Page: HS22, 2 Comments