well it started out as a smattering
Published on April 14, 2007 By DrDonald In Life Journals

I thought I'd do a personal blog for a change. I spend most of my time lost somewhere between gratitude and resentment on the one hand and fear and faith on the other. In other words, I'm probably not much different from anyone else here. Not where it counts.

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My mother turned 80 last weekend and insisted on cooking for the entire extended family with only the help of my 83-year-old dad. They've always been the type to give until it hurts, but have always found it hard to accept the help of others. We had a lovely Italian-style Easter meal and my brother, sister and I returned home with full stomachs, lifted spirits and left-overs for the next few days neatly packed into containers. I'm so proud of my parents and grateful for them too.

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My wife has been holding up well lately. You see, her 85-year-old mother, Louise, died suddenly in November. By suddenly, I mean that Louise was a lady who lived in her own home, attended aqua-fit classes twice a week at the Y, and volunteered daily either at a hospice center or by driving people to their medical appointments. We enjoyed the last Christmas cake she ever baked as a sort of Christmas present from her from the great hereafter. Disposal of belongings, sale of the house and visits to lawyers and banks 200 miles away kept my wife pretty busy. The last month or so the dust has settled and the grieving has become a bit more real for both of us. My wife has been praying a lot more lately. I think it is an amazing thing the way Mary Lou lives in her feelings and becomes stronger as a result.

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My 20-year-old daughter, Alicia, has had some struggles of late. She's been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice-weekly because she feels that she cannot control her drinking on her own and that the drinking has messed up her life. Apparently being discovered unfaithfully "making-out" while drunk almost caused her boy-friend to leave her. Her boy-friend of 18 months, who incidentally seems like a very nice guy, has schizo-affective disorder, which is something like a cross between schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder. He has a job and is a great guitarist in a band, but spends a lot of time sleeping because of his medication, without which he loses complete contact with reality. If they have children, each would have about a 15% risk of also having schizo-affective disorder. I worry about what kind of a future Alicia and Chad will have.

Lately, my daughter's been having a lot of pain on the right lower side of her abdomen. It was bad enough that, 4 days ago, my wife took her to her family doctor, who then became concerned about the possibility of appendicitis. The doctor arranged for her to have bloodwork and an ultrasound done and asked a general surgeon to meet her in the Emergency. I kept her company during an anxious five hours. Not being allowed to drink in preparation for possible surgery meant that they couldn't visualize the appendix very well on ultrasound, because the bladder was empty. With no fever and a normal white blood count, though, the surgeon decided that watchful waiting was the best course. If symptoms were to persist a few more days, he suggested a repeat ultrasound with a properly full bladder. He said he suspected that Alicia had a torsion of an ovarian cyst, since she is known to have polycystic ovarian syndrome. The surgeon is probably right, but despite no fever and normal bowel sounds, the pain has been getting worse over the last few days. Alicia is resistant to more medical intervention at this time and despite my expressed concern and efforts at loving detachment, I'm still worried for her and she knows it.

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Right now, my 15-year-old son seems to be the best-adjusted member of our family. He has shoulder-length hair and has been an altar server at church for the past 7 years. With his gown on, people joke that he looks like Jesus. He doesn't seem interested in sex, alcohol or drugs yet, has been studying piano for the last six years and has a great sense of humour. He's at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina now with the high-school choir. They're in some kind of heritage festival choir competition. The theme his school choir is using is "British Invasion", so Gregory has really been into Queen music lately. He'll be back home Monday. I miss him.

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The walk-in-clinic has been busy lately, with a lot of strep going around and also a lot of difficulty with physician recruitment. I had an unusual case yesterday, with a woman who appeared to be an African refugee. To begin with, there was something of a language barrier and she was there alone. She informed me that although she'd been in Canada for at least a year and had a family doctor, that she was eight months pregnant and had neither requested nor received any prenatal care whatsoever. Her problem was extreme leg swelling. She had a lot of protein in her urine and a high blood pressure. The diagnosis was toxemia of pregnancy. I was able to get her the care that she needed despite some complaining by already overburdened staff at the local high risk maternity center. I think I'm starting to take work too personally, losing perspective. Boy do I need time off. I'll be getting a week in about three weeks time. That'll be something to look forward to.

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So there you go. I've vented. Reading this may not have done anyone much good, but at least it's been a slice of real life. One of my favorite mottos says that you should never compare your insides with other people's outsides. People that seem to have it together, often struggle just as you do. I do have a heck of a lot to be grateful for, though.

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Comments (Page 2)
on Apr 17, 2007
Don,

Years ago, I started getting pains in the lower right side of my abdomen. After some time (a long story) I finally went to a doctor and found out, after a series of tests, I was suffering from colic due to undiagnosed lactose and sucrose intolerances. At the time of the diagnosis, I had lost a lot of weight and was feeling dreadful. The only way to stop the pain was to change my diet, which I did. I am now nearly back to the weight I was before I got sick. I don't pretend to know anything about medicine but maybe this is another option. How is your daughter's diet?

Hmmm, a 16 year old boy terse? Nah, doesn't happen...

on Apr 17, 2007
Interesting... She had unbelievable colic for the first three months of her life. She also underwent investigation about five years ago (gastroscopy, barium enema included) with a final diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. I can certainly see that sugar intolerance would cause similar symptoms. I'll run it by her. She might be willing consider a trial of sucrose - lactose abstinence. Thanks.