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80 yr male w/ diabetes, leaky heart valve, stress and shingles
tylerrose posted:
My dad has not seen a doctor. He is suffering from shingles and is very weak. What can I do? What should I do? He's thinks doctors are just in it for the money. Very hard headed.
davedsel57 responded:
You need to convince your father he needs medical treatment. If it becomes very serious, call 911 and have the paramedics come and perhaps take him to the emergency room.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.


Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi tylerrose and welcome -

Your fathers situation sounds very serious and stressful for you! Are you the primary caregiver for your father?

We have an excellent information center here that I found helpful when caring for my mother with dementia: Caregiving: Insights for Caregivers However, my mother was unable to protest going to the doctor and there were legal documents in place putting me in charge.

Has your father ever had a positive interaction with a doctor? If so, he might be open to another appointment with that health care provider.

I'm going to forward your question to our experts and see if they have other suggestions that might help him get the medical care he needs. Please check back in!

tylerrose replied to Haylen_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thank you. I appreciate your help.
confused replied to tylerrose's response:
Hi, sometimes you have to be firm with your parents when they need help. If he's very weak though, maybe if you say, "Look dad, you took care of me for years, right now you're ill and I want to take care of you. I have to get you to a doctor."

I know how hard it can be and how stubborn a man in his 80's can be. Good luck and please keep us posted.
Rider66 responded:
Well, he may have some experience with docors who are in it just for the money. I've met a few of them myself. But a few bad apples doesn't mean they're all rotten!

What I've had to do with my mother was discuss with her what she wanted me to do when she could no longer decide. The shocked look on her face was almost funny! But I calmly discussed what hospital she wanted to be taken to, you know, when I would have to call for an ambulance. At first she really tried to blow off my concerns and tell me I didn't have to worry. And I would ask her how she could possibly know what would happen tomorrow. I slowly forced her to see how much stress she was putting on be by not taking more responsibility for her own healthcare. Mind you, this was while I was at wits end so I was extraordinarily emotionless, that may be why it worked. Normally she would push buttons and get me so upset that I'd just give up.

It turned out that she was more against pharmaceuticals than doctors. So I finally found what are called Integrative Medicine Physicians, and looked for the ones in our area. We still don't have a regular doctor, but she's getting some professional care.

I hope you've had some luck since you wrote this post. And if you have some insights or words of wisdom, please send them on...this is an ongoing battle!
CAMMSNNP responded:
Sometimes when you get to be 80, and consider the economic times, depression regarding life sets in, and seniors may start thinking their collective family might be better off if they were dead. Which might be the cause of choosing to not follow doctors.

The shingles for most people is a wait it out and treat any residual pain. Unless it might be affecting the nerves of the face and possibly could cost him his eyesight he might have no motivation to treat it. Depending on how long he has had the diabetes, peripheral neuropathy might prevent his awareness of pain. Most people do not understand, but shingles can affect internal organs also, so assessing where he might be having pains could be important. He may not understand how shingles is affecting him, and have attributed abdominal pain to end of life pains and chosen not to treat. You should casually admit you know shingles can affect more than just the skin and see if he is in denial about pain elsewhere as a misinterpretation, and then maybe a trial of antiviral drugs to see if it helps. Which might confirm for him it is not something else.

Some of us are born with sloppy heart valves, and some acquire them. Surgery can result in death, and my own father, knowing the statistical odds of surviving a second heart surgery, chose not to, but understood he would die a little earlier from the defect, as opposed to surgical correction and dying during the surgery.

Only the individual can review their own medical status, and determine if they want to risk the odds of a surgery, or further treatment. Maybe you could ask him to help you understand why he made the choices he did, so you can provide the correct treatment if he should become incapacitated to make his own decisions. Let him know it is a hard topic to discuss with family. Then see what he has to say.

You should be aware he may have been told if he doesn't have surgery, he most likely will die within a year, and if this is the case, and this is the path he really wants, hospice home care is a benefit of Medicare, and the nurse or nurse practitioner they will send out to manage his health while he is actively dying, will not be in it for the money, but in it for the cause. Hospice can be terminated at any point, and the decision is not forced on you, nor are you forced to remain in hospice should you change your mind.

A doctor of osteopath or a nurse practitioner might be a good provider for him to have his care managed by, as both should respect the individual's right to make their own decisions.

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