Thursday, January 6, 2011

More On Dad's Pain

Over the past few weeks, Dad has been doing a lot better, both emotionally and physically. Actually, more emotionally than physically, but doing better emotionally seems to be helping him at least want to improve his physical situation. Of course, he's gone to doctor after doctor over the years, seeking relief from his pain, but he was only interested in what they could do for him, but he would never do things they suggested he could do for himself.

For example, the physical therapist wanted him to do some exercises. Even when reminded, he wouldn't do them very often. He always sleeps on his right side, with his right arm under his head. The doctors think that his lack of variation in sleeping positions caused the soft tissues in the right side of his neck to shorten, and those in the left side of his neck to lengthen, which causes pain in a particular muscle that attaches above his left eye--exactly where his pain is. He can't lie on his back or stomach for very long at a time because of breathing issues, and he wouldn't try sleeping on his left side because he's completely deaf in his right ear and didn't like not being able to hear anything while he's in bed.

In October, I talked to his doctor about how every time we make plans to do something, Dad would end up sick, and asked him if he thought it could be caused by anxiety. Dad said, "But I wanted to go." The doctor said that didn't matter. Even good stresses can cause anxiety. He prescribed Buspirone, a medication that would boost the effects of the Cymbalta antidepressant he was already taking, help with anxiety, and even help relieve his belly pain.

Only a couple of weeks later, the belly pain was gone. His mood improved. He not only told jokes, but started laughing while telling them, to the point his face turned red. For years, he didn't want to talk to anyone on the phone. If he answered my calls, he quickly asked if I wanted to talk to Mom. Now, suddenly, he was calling people just to see how things were going with their farms and families. For years, he practically ignored Mom. Now, he calles her sweetheart, hugs her every chance he gets, talks to her, watches TV shows she wants to watch, and generally seems more interested in her. I've got my dad back!

It took a little longer, but in the last week, he's started sleeping on his left side! With the help of his doctors, I think we'll make some progress on his headaches.

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