So tonight I call my dad and he's officially in a panic. Because he hasn't taken a crap in a week.
Now its typical for him, as well as the majority of old people that I know, to get obsessed with their bowels. And he's a complainer in general, so I have a hard time guaging the urgency of any of his complaints. He whines about everything, and its been a lot worse lately in general. I feel like I need a Kevlar suit when I go for my weekly visit.
He complains about being constipated all the time, he's on 3 different meds to get him to crap regularly, so this isn't anything new. A week without a crap is new.
So I call the glorious VA, whose call center is in Dayton Ohio after hours, and speak with a nurse, who in turn called him to get his symptoms directly, and then calls me back.
We discuss the fact that his body is probably used to the laxatives (constipation is another unfortunate side effect of the Parkinsons and the meds taken to regulate his tremors) and they need to be taken a little more aggressively when he's backed up. She says it probably isn't a blockage, but could be impacted blah blah enema blah blah (enough poop talk). If nothing by tomorrow take him to the ER so he can have an x-ray, blah blah... Dude, I am NOT giving my dad an enema... I will take him somewhere where he can get one, from a nurse. Bathing him when he was in the rehab center is where I draw the line... I never wanted to see my dad naked, and I certainly don't want to become intimately involved with his asshole...
So I call him back, and he fessed up that he has refused his liquid laxative (the powerful one) for two days - because the taste "makes him sick". Gee Dad, I wonder why you are having a problem. I explain to him why this med is important, and he just says "Oh, I didn't know." &$^%(*#!!!
I ask him what he wants to do, if it is painful enough if he wants me to take him to the ER tonight (not my first choice) or if he wants to try the liquid every 4 hours like the nurse suggests along with milk of magnesia. He tells me he "doesn't know, my head is all goofy and I don't know anything." Then I tell him that I will make the decision for him then, I didn't want him to feel like I was bossing him around, and that he still has a choice when it comes to his medical treatment. So I tell him I'm going to have the home dose him every 4 hours, as the nurse suggested, and call him in the morning - see if he's crapped, if he hasn't then I will take him to the ER.
Next step is to call the assisted living place - to discover why a) I wasn't informed that he was refusing his meds (legally, he CAN refuse them - they just need to document it) and b) tell them to dose him every 4 hours.
I try for 15 solid minutes before I can get anyone on the phone. I get the med aid (nurse is at home, of course), explain it to her and she advises that they "aren't supposed to do anything without doctor's orders, but she can probably make an exception given the situation." She, as well as my father, were instructed to contact me at all hours of the night should his condition worsen - the VA nurse said if the cramps get horrible or he vomits that he needs to be seen immediately at the ER.