My Gastroenterologist is a very busy, very dedicated man, for whom I have the utmost respect. I know for a fact that he works long hours, because one of the times I went to his office lately, they couldn’t find my chart. Then the nurse pulled it out of a big duffel bag full of files, and told me those were the ones Dr. B had taken home that night to work on. He had been reviewing my whole chart, hoping to find a pattern in my symptoms that would help him decide on a course of action. I had no idea that doctors took their work home with them. Considering they get calls in the night for emergencies, I always assumed that they tried to leave their work behind as much as possible when they went home.
So, I’m trying to be patient as I wait for him to call me back. I reported in to his nurse last week to let her know that the cleaning out he had me do with the GoLytely did not stop my problems with elimination or with the bloating and gas. She told me then to check back this week, after I had stopped the Amitiza, to see if that would help. Well, I called her Tuesday, and left a message that stopping the Amitiza did not change the problems. I didn’t hear from her, so I called again late Wednesday afternoon, as she is usually so good about returning calls. She said then that Dr. B was going to call me back that afternoon, himself. So, I stayed close to home, with the phone on ready. No phone call. Well, like I said, I know he’s a very busy man, so I waited until late Friday to call his nurse again, thinking maybe there had been a mixup on who was supposed to talk to me. She called me back just a few minutes later to say that Dr. B had just plain forgotten, and was very apologetic, and would definitely call me that evening. Still no phone call. I can’t imagine him calling me on the weekend, but who knows.
I know I need to work on patience, as it is a virtue I really need more of. The old joke is that you should be careful when you pray for more patience, as the way to get patience is to deal with adversity. I guess my “adversity” right now is having to deal with these digestive related problems for over a year now, trying one thing after another, as the doctor ordered, with no relief yet. I’m definitely showing signs of depression, and I blame much of it on this unresolved problem.
There’s no doubt in my mind that I am under medicated right now, as far as the Parkinson’s meds are concerned. But there’s no point in going back to the Neuro until I have overcome my difficulties with getting used to the CPAP, and until something definite has been accomplished with this digestive situation. As it is, I’m changing two things at once, which is not good science. In order to be sure what the cause and effect is on any treatment change, there needs to be only one variable at a time.
I wrote some time ago about how dealing with Parkinson’s is like being in a clinical trial with one participant. I still think that is an accurate assessment of what it’s like. After reading lots of comments and stories from other PWP, it is apparently true for most, if not all, Parkies. The doctors can only try things, never knowing exactly how any one patient is going to react to the meds, or their side effects.
And the depressing thing is, none of these meds work to improve the underlying brain deterioration. They only work on the symptoms. So far, no medicine has been proved to actually slow down or halt the progression of the PD itself, and there’s not even a whisper yet of anything that can repair the damage already done, with the exception of claims made for stem cell therapy.
I do have one positive piece of information to report, though, and I try hard to end on a positive note. I mope about all this enough. Since brain fog is a problem I’ve had for a long time now, I was very curious when someone on the PatientsLikeMe site mentioned the idea of using brain training to improve their mental abilities. That started me doing some research, and led me to the MyBrainTrainer site. It was not very expensive to join for three months, and I figured I could give it a try for that long, and then decide if it were worth taking a year’s subscription. They have a series of online brain exercises, set up like miniature games, that you work through on a planned schedule. I’m on Day 12 of the 21 day basic training part right now. My scores are consistently falling in the 25 to 29th percentile of all their participants in my age range. Not anything to brag about, that’s for sure. BUT, here’s the good part. The brain fog is beginning to lift, just a little. I’m not groping blankly for answers to questions on the Smarter that a Fifth Grader show nearly as often. I find I know the answers more often on Jeopardy, too, and I don’t feel nearly as frustrated by watching these shows as I was a few months ago.
So is the BrainTrainer the reason, or the CPAP machine? I have no idea. Again, changing more than one thing at a time makes such a conclusion impossible. But I don’t care, all I know is that I’m thinking better, even as my body is slowing down again from not having a strong enough PD med dosage in my system. I’m very grateful for that, and I cling to any positive outcomes as I try to work through this depressed stage I’m in.