I had Dad into Innovage this morning and talked with their doctor for a long time this evening. I am more and more impressed with their doctor.
Here’s what she said –
Dad’s heart is working at 49% – borderline, but at his age, anything above 50% is considered normal. His valves are a little sticky, but not that bad considering his age and that he recently had a mild heart attack. Heart beats are regular, also unusual considering his recent heart attack. So, all in all, he’s doing very well. He’s supposed to walk more – without fatiguing. Going down to the dining room should be about right.
Regarding his cognitive/memory scores – they dipped a lot from November to February. Not a surprise. Mostly he’s having those little memory issues like, “what doctor are we seeing today?”
Recap of our morning –
Dad – “Do I look okay without teeth?”
Me – “Yes, Dad”
Dad got his teeth back, after some confusion and not a little frustration mixed with humor. I have to find the humor here.
They have a dentist filling in at Innovage. He usually works in Loveland and is only filling in till they get a new dentist in Denver.
They got out Dad’s dentures, back from the lab, and tried to fit them in Dad’s mouth. Not a good fit at all. Looked closely at the dentures and saw there was a different name on them. So we all assumed the lab had mixed up his teeth with someone else’s. Many calls to the lab…
Dad – “Do I look okay without teeth?”
Me – “You look great, Dad!”
Meanwhile, Dad and I went to therapy – PT checked Dad’s walking. He now has a new, upgraded, heavy duty rollator walker. He walked well and the pulse-ox test afterward showed his oxygen levels were still good. OT came to tell him she would see him at their apartment soon.
Went to clinic. Got Dad’s ears cleaned out. No more wax. He’ll see the audiologist a week from tomorrow (12th). Might provide new hearing aids or new mold for the newer hearing aid.
Dad has an appt with the cardiologist next Tuesday morning. Same cardiologist he saw at Lutheran, so we’ll go to his office on 19th and Ogden.
Back to teeth…
Dad – “Do I look okay without teeth?”
Me – “Dad, you look adorable”
Lab has precautions for the possibility of getting teeth mixed up. In this case, it seems only the names were mixed up. Those WERE his teeth. Didn’t look right to me. Dad’s still got a significant overbite. Seems the folks in the dental office (who have only seen Dad twice) took Dad seriously when he said, his teeth were fine – they fit fine – they were just the way he wanted them… (Dad’s way of saying don’t mess with me). So, they had the teeth adjusted WITH THE OVERBITE. And then kept telling me that’s the way his teeth have always been and that’s the way he said he wanted them.
By this time it was 11:30. I was on the verge of a migraine and I knew I needed to pick up Mattheus from school. I didn’t deal with it. But I told Dr. Kane and she will have the dentist schedule person call me. I am going to ask for new dentures for Dad. Completely new. He can wear the overbite till the new ones come in. He’s just so happy to have his teeth back, he doesn’t care about anything else. He may even balk at getting new ones – means taking impressions. But the dentist showed me how the teeth are getting very worn down on the ones he has. That plus the overbite fiasco, I’m going to insist on new ones.
Got back to the apartment around noon. Mom was unhappy. I ran out of the apartment. Okay, only because I needed to use the bathroom and Dad had run into theirs. When I came back, I asked Mom what was up. She said she had fallen night before last. Scooted on her butt to their bed. Told several girls what happened, they all said they’d tell the nurse to come down and check on her. No one came. Nurse (LPN) was in for a moment yesterday, didn’t look at her knee, but told her to keep it elevated as much as she can. Maybe that would help. I asked at the desk for someone to come down and look at Mom’s knee. Don’t know if it’s happened yet. I reported this to their doctor and she said she’d send a note to St. E’s asking for Mom to be evaluated after the fall and ask them to report if Mom has continued or worsening pain/swelling, etc. I’ll check in with St. E’s tomorrow and see if someone has actually checked on Mom. I will also check to see if they are walking to meals again. And remind them to CALL ME WHEN EITHER OF THEM HAVE A FALL. Technically, they are supposed to report ALL falls to their doctor, too.
We’re on to more mundane sorts of issues, now that Dad is recovering from his heart attack. The current complication involves dentures.
The Monday before Easter, both my parents went to the dentist to have their dentures adjusted. They weren’t fitting exactly right. Both of them needed their dentures relined. I don’t know what that involves, but their teeth had to go on to a lab and spend a few days getting this done. Mom and Dad were not thrilled to go home without teeth, but they resigned themselves to it because they wanted to be more comfortable. They got their teeth back on Thursday. The next day, we started Dad’s heart attack adventure.
Within 15 minutes after Dad got home from the hospital, Mom was complaining about her dentures. They (the lab) had obviously done something wrong because her dentures didn’t fit. She needed to go back to the dentist. Even so, she had little faith the dentist would ever get it right. My brother checked with the clinic and was told I would receive a phone call about an appointment. I tried to reassure my brother that it takes a little time to get used to dentures after a reline (I think) and Mom complains each time the dentist does anything with her dentures (I know). It wouldn’t matter how many times they were adjusted, Mom would be complaining by the following afternoon (she does).
The clinic scheduled their dentist visit for April 27, exactly two weeks after they had gotten their teeth back from the lab. The appointment was for both of them, which surprised me as Mom was the only one complaining. I didn’t argue because, well, the thing is, Dad seemed to be developing an overbite. In fact, the overbite was getting worse by the day. Dad didn’t complain, in fact, he said his teeth felt fine and he didn’t need to go in. Mom disagreed. Even with her poor vision, she could see Dad was turning into Bugs Bunny.
In the office, the dentist was confused. How could their dentures not fit so soon after she had adjusted them? A close look at them and the dentist shook her head. She told my dad, “You’ve been using too much Fixodent.” Dad looked at her blankly. The dentist sighed, took a deep breath and yelled, “YOU’VE BEEN USING TOO MUCH FIXODENT!”
“Really?” my Dad replied.
I know how much Fixodent they use. A lot. They keep a tube or two with them all the time. They put more in before meals. The dentist commented about how they must spend $10 per month on it. No, doc. They spend more like $25 per month on their Fix.
It seems Dad’s dentures had such a build-up of dental adhesive, it was pushing the dentures about 3/4 of an inch away from his gums on top. He had not remembered to clean out the old stuff, either, and so it had turned into a cement like substance which was almost impossible to remove. They put Dad’s teeth into the ultrasound cleaner in order to get the gunk off of them. The cement also took off the relining. The teeth would need to go back to the lab, this time to spend an entire week being put right.
Dad was not pleased. “But they feel fine!”
Fortunately, Mom’s dentures were not as bad. She had also been overusing the Fixodent, but not to the same degree. It had thrown off how they fit, which I now know to be the reason she has always complained so soon after they are readjusted. Dentures that fit well do not need any adhesive.
Dad went home without his teeth. We made sure to tell him how cute he looked. He laughed, but didn’t buy it. He won’t venture out of the apartment until he has his teeth back. I will make a trip up there to take out all tubes of Fixodent and Polygrip. Dad’s memory issues combined with habit would mean getting the dentures relined monthly, if we weren’t careful.