Wednesday, November 18, 2009
As I began to do this I noticed that the doctors seemed a little nervous when they saw me sitting there. One doctor who was training medical students would bring them into other treatment rooms to see the patients but not my mother’s. They knew they did not intimidate me. I had done research on nothing but emphysema and COPD for over a year when I began to go with her into the treatment rooms. It wasn’t long before I could ask intelligent questions and I could also see through their rhetoric. After a while their responses and comments to me started to seem canned, almost like they were prepped on what to say to me by someone. But these were the doctors. They were the boss in the office so who could be prepping them? How could they all have the same responses to my questions almost word for word?
Upon initial diagnosis they had given her the spirometry test to determine the current state of the lungs and the integrity of lung function. They determined that she had the lungs of a 111 year old. I don’t know if any of you know anything about depression but I’m sure anyone with any common sense would realize that when a patient is depressed the last thing you want to do is make them more depressed. This however, is exactly what they did with this information. They repeatedly told her how she had done this to herself by smoking cigarettes. At this time she had not smoked for a few years. After this revelation she became very much to herself. She barely left her room. I finally asked her what was wrong and she said that she couldn’t believe that she had done this to herself.
Watching her depression increase I began to intensify my research, staying up all night almost every night for a year and a half. I would check on her every hour or so to make sure she was okay and make sure she was still breathing. I had to turn the dining room light on so I could see her clearly. I didn’t want to turn on a light in her room and wake her up. She seemed to have more and more trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep once she did finally fall asleep.
As her emphysema and COPD worsened, her sleeping became sporadic. She could only sleep for a few hours at a time before waking up short of breath. Although I was not happy to see her unable to sleep for longer duration, I was relieved to see that she would wake up when she got short of breath. This provided a small bit of confidence that she would not stop breathing in her sleep.
I asked each of her doctors for the list of medications they had prescribed so I could check on each of these medications to make sure they were actually helping her. The first very disturbing thing I found was that they had prescribed Crestor™ (rosuvastatin calcium) which in my research I learned that it actually blocked CoEnzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) production, a nutrient necessary for heart health. I also learned that emphysema patients often died from heart failure! So the very thing that may very well kill my mother was being hastened by the doctor’s prescription! How could this be? Didn’t the doctors know this? Had I, in my limited research, eclipsed their knowledge of this disease? That possibility alone scared me! I was relying on them to do the right thing and now I was beginning to realize that maybe they were not.