Doctor number one, "she's getting old". Fired. Doctor number two, "she's getting old". Fired.
Doctor number three, she has Alzheimer's. No MRI, no serious effort to rule out other possible causes of her symptoms. Doctor number three actually flipped the prescription for Aricept to me. She didn't get fired on the spot.
Ever hear the term, I'd rather be lucky than smart. Well, that is how we got doctor number 4. The wonderful, now deceased, Dr. Carlos Chiriboga. I could say a lot of wonderful things about Doc Chiriboga. But I think this sums it up. Question: did you know Dr. Ciriboga? No, but I heard about him. Then the answer to the question: They say he was the best, a wonderful man.
How did I find Dr. Chiriboga?
Dotty woke up very sick on December 31, 2004. It was a Friday. Our then current doctor was on vacation. So I was willing to take any doctor we could get. We finally got into see Dr Chiri in the afternoon. He examined her and thought she had pneumonia. The problem. There was no place available to get her a chest X ray. Keep in mind most places close early on Dec 31.
So the Doc says to me. I'm thinking about treating her for pneumonia because Monday is a holiday and she won't be able to see anyone until Tuesday. He asked me what I thought. Imagine that. I said, lets do it. I also said, I'm coming back here on Tuesday. He said, well your regular doctor will be back on duty. He finally said ok, gave me the prescription, and I went and set up the appointment.
Tuesday rolled around and Dotty was already 90 percent better. We went in. I talked to him for a bit and then said, will you take my mother as a patient? He kinda stumbled a bit, so I said Doc don't worry, I know our rights and you are our new doctor. Mine too, I said.
Here is something I didn't know at the time. Doc had just gotten to Delray Beach. He was more or less taking the call ins while he was building a new practice. I think we were his third patient. 3 and 4 actually.
I could never recount here all the wonderful treatment Dotty received from Doc. I can tell you this though. Thanks to his competence he helped make Dotty laugh and smile for the first time in two years. Think thyroid here .
He also brought a man back to the world. Good story .
So lets skip up to the present and the real purpose of the story.
Our current doctor is out on maternity leave. They offered us a new doctor but originally I decided we would go without a doctor until she came back.
Of course, Dotty didn't cooperate. Two weeks ago her temperature shot up and I knew she needed a doctor. Yep, the dreaded urinary tract infection. Did I tell you it happened on a Friday.
So, I was willing to take any doctor we could get. Welcome to our parade Dr Manuel Abreu.
So dig this. We go in for our first appointment and we are actually discussing Dotty's history as it pertains to the dreaded UTI. We get the strip test and it doesn't look good. I say, no CIPRO. He asks why, I tell him CIPRO and dementia don't play well.
Then I say, can you give her a shot of penicillin in the butt? I might have said ass. He laughed and asked why? I say, penicillin is magic and it will kill some other infections if they are lurking around.
He says, okay, not to the shot, we will give her Cefuroxime Axetil (Ceftin). I went home and read up on the drug -- exactly what I wanted. It worked by the way.
So we went back today. So our new doc, I think I'll give him a nickname, the Brew, starts asking me question about Dotty and the drugs she is taking etc. He as about the simvastatin, etc. Can you believe it? He is asking me questions. We discuss some issues. He decides we will give Dotty a blood test and get back at it in 2 weeks when she is due for a B12 shot.
Well, I could go on and on here. The Brew is a doctor of internal medicine which is what I really wanted after Doc C passed.
What can I say, I would rather be lucky than smart.
You will love this part. The Brew arrived in Delray three days before we saw him for the first time, and, tada, he is mostly seeing walk ins while he builds his practice (were you paying attention up above?). Sound familiar? I think we are his third patient.
God bless Doctor Carlos Chiriboga, I think we found the next Doc C, The Brew.
Welcome to our parade Doctor Abreu.
PS -- I didn't tell the Brew he is our new doctor yet.
More Insight and Advice from the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room