Getting the Most out of Your Elderly Parent's Doctor 
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Get The Most Out of Your Elderly Parent's Doctor

Elderly parents can be a lot of stress for the children and a medical challenge . Some of the elderly seem to think life is about having the best doctors and their self worth is actually determined by the number of doctors and specialists that they see. Many times my mother wanted to see her doctor on a daily basis thinking he had the answer and if he didn't, wanted to see a specialist. It was hard for me to know whether it was her desire to simply have something to do (something to give meaning to her life) of if indeed she was actually ailing. After all, whenever she was feeling badly, a few hours with me riding around town and she'd be feeling much better. So, how much of her symptoms were from the physical and how much was from her needing something to just get her going?

Ultimately I learned to gauge her healthy on her memory loss. When she feels good and has more energy, her memory is improved and when the symptoms are bad, her memory loss is significant.

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A little  history: My mother started having symptoms of an irritable stomach and bowel and fatigue twenty years ago. I took her to a reputable iridologist (reads the iris of your eyes) who made dietary adjustments (removed fruit and sweets from her diet) and started her on various supplements. Seems that my mother's diet got skewed--she prefers fruit to protein and after several years of overdoing it with fruit, it fueled her symptoms.

The dietary change and nutritional supplements got her back to normal for a few years until she once again began abusing her diet with coconut syrup and fruit. The symptoms were very similar to what she had before. By now the iridologist had moved away and I have to find another iridologist or a new physician for her. I didn't live with my mother so I wasn't privy to her diet but suspected her symptoms were diet related. She, on the other hand, was certain she had some kind of infection similar to what her mother died from fifteen years before.

Finally I found a doctor and took her for weekly visits. There was little if any progress, l I became frustrated, and began sitting in on the visits. Within two visits it became evident to me that my mother had a severe case of Candida. I guided the doctor into having her remove the coconut syrup, sweets, and fruit and within a month she was feeling better once again. 

Three years later, my mother's symptoms returned along with a urinary tract infection. The doctor we had seen had been in an automobile accident and was no longer in practice; we had to find another one. He was young and I hoped would be nutritionally oriented--he wasn't. He ordered a ton of tests--upper and lower GI track. ultrasounds... which showed nothing. He treated her for the urinary tract infection with an antibiotic (as I expected) and she responded by having panic attacks in addition to all her other symptoms. Ultimately he decided she was suffering from depression and prescribed Prozac. She became more fatigued with more episodes of panic attacks and continued stomach problems. The slightest effort such as bending over to remove something from the oven resulted in a panic attack. 

I suggested she look at her diet and she was convinced she had an infection and needed to be hospitalized. Ultimately she got fed up with the depression diagnosis and we went searching for a nutritionally oriented physician. This time I decided I would accompany her in every session. With my direction, the doctor ordered tests to confirm Candida. Six months and a dozen doctor visits later, my mother's panic symptoms were gone along with all stomach and GI track issues. However, the fatigue continued even after many nutritional supplements, chelation therapy...

My mother learned her lesson for the time being and stayed away from sugar to the extent she believed herself to be diabetic--for a while, but her energy never returned.

After a year or two, her diet again shifted to carbohydrates in the form of fruits and cookies from the health food store--she believed that because they came from a health food store that they'd be healthy for her. The fatigue worsened and her stomach symptoms again reappeared. She wouldn't listen to my dietary advice as she was certain she had a mortal infection. I met with her doctor privately before her session and shared my point of view re diet--he agreed. During the visit he questioned her about her diet. She was eating primarily carbohydrates with no vegetables and little protein. He "read her the riot act." She began adding veggies and protein and began feeling better.

Her regular doctor wasn't available for her next med check for Armor Thyroid and she saw one of the other affiliates in the same office. She never went back to the doctor who read her the riot act, began bad mouthing him as being a bad doctor and continued with fatigue.

Her new doctor was new to the field of medicine and easy to work with. I suggested a test for Lyme disease and he concurred. We ordered a test from Central Florida Labs at 1200 S. Pinellas Ave., Units 11 & 12, Tarpoon Springs, Florida 34689 (Phone # 727-037-9077). Chronic Lyme disease often shows up negative with standard tests. Central Florida Labs uses microscopy and finds it when it's often missed by standard laboratory techniques. Sure enough the tests came back positive and antibiotics were started.

Unfortunately, she couldn't tolerate the antibiotics nor the naturopathic remedy of cat's claw that he suggested to replace antibiotics. About this time she met a man who recently lost his wife. She had an obvious renewed interest in life and with a fairly strict diet her energy returned--love conquers all.

With the passing of time, for various ridiculous reasons, she didn't allow the romance to develop--fearful of what others would say as they both lived in the same senior housing development.  Nothing I could ever say made a difference--her limitations are owned by her and her alone. Seemed to me that who cares once everyone is dead and gone, who's going to remember or care about who saw who or who had a relationship and who didn't? Even her doctor (at my urging) couldn't convince her otherwise. 

Feeling much better, her diet began expanding to include more fruit and carbohydrates and within six months I took her to the emergency room at the hospital. For four hours we sat and waited, then another six hours after she was admitted before initial test results were available. Again she was certain she had a mortal infection and was discharged three days later after a half dozen negative tests.

Now, you'd think that with all her past experience with diet, she'd be open to getting back to a healthy diet. However, her memory was significantly compromised. she had trouble remembering anything for more than a minute or two--a symptom of Lyme disease. If fact every time her diet is compromised she experiences memory loss. .  

Again, I worked with her doctor in shifting her diet away from carbohydrates. But what's left to eat? She dislikes meat of any kind (especially fish) and thinks eating two broccoli crowns a week is adequate.

At wits end, I ordered a Vita Mix and began making her a drink composing of a clove of garlic, a red beet, stalk of celery, and a carrot. I told her doctor of my plan and he suggested I add protein powder, Pro Biotics and Intestinal Support with L-Glutamine (nutrients for the intestinal tract), I went one step further and added a dropper of cat's claw (for the Lyme disease).

After a six weeks of shifting her diet towards meat protein (her preference--hamburger) and away from carbohydrates, her daily vegetable drinks, and coral calcium, her memory improved dramatically and even in the absence of romance, her energy began returning.

Instead of wanting to see her doctor every day for relief, she now looks forward to her daily vegetable drink--a quart a day. About the doctor: She wanted to tell him he was the best doctor she ever had until her last visit--the first one I missed going in with her--when he basically gave her the "brush off" and rushed her out the door. "He is totally a different doctor when you are there. I think he's afraid of you," she said to me. "He just brushed me off and said, `you're always tired.'"

Now, I'm not an intimidating type of person and the point is that if you want the best of care for your elderly parents accompany them in the visits with the doctor, look at their diet to make sure it's not lopsided (older folks regress to child like preferences), the drink I make with a Vita Mix will be healthy for both you and them, and you may be pleasantly surprised with significantly improved memory. 

Resource Box:

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E. NGH certified, a prominent figure in the personal change field. His aim is to make it possible for anyone wanting to relax while taking care of elderly parents to do so.
For more information please visit 
He has several websites with self help materials:
Self help mp3 downloads for you personal change and improvement plan at
How to Build and Improve Self Worth at
Stop Binging and Comfort Eating at
Over come panic disorder with agoraphobia at
Pendulums for self discovery at
Special Diet for Morgellons and Skin Parasites at


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