It’s too painful to clean Dad’s teeth.

mouthpainWhen I made the dental appointment, I shared my Dad’s diagnosis and tumor location. They got him in immediately.

My brother takes him but they find that it’s just too painful for my Dad to have his teeth cleaned or take x-rays. The dentist refers him to a specialist and tells him most likely we are going to have to put my Dad under general anesthesia to clean his teeth.

When my brother speaks with the new Doctor, he shares our concerns with putting my Dad under general anesthesia. He asks if other options like “twilight” medications are an option. Apparently other options don’t work well on patients with dementia. They need to be in my Dad’s mouth for possibly two hours cleaning and doing x-rays. In this Dentist opinion, the other options are just not reliable.

So now, before my Dad can get his teeth cleaned, his primary Doctor needs to approve that he is healthy enough to go under General Anesthesia. Detoured. 

** Apologies, I’m trying to bring my blog up to speed with current events. 

Door Number 1: The 7-week Radiation Option

petscan** I apologize to my subscribers. You will get a slew of posts as I quickly bring my blog back to real-time today. 

The Pet Scan shows the tumor in my Dad’s tongue and mouth base. It also shows that the lymph nodes in his neck are also cancerous.

The Oncologist walks us through his recommendation: 7 – Weeks of Radiation

My Dad is not strong enough now for the Radiation / Chemotherapy cocktail, so he suggests 7 weeks of Radiation. He tells us it will be about 2 weeks before the tumor starts to shrink in his mouth. Before we can move to the next step, we will have to get my Dad’s teeth cleaned and have a feeding tube inserted.

Sounds simple, right?

We ask questions about the feeding tube insertion. I share that given my Dad’s age and cognitive state, having him undergo a general anesthesia is a concern for me. When my Dad broke his hip 3 years ago, he was never the same after the surgery to insert the pin. There are some documented issues when general anesthesia is used for patients with dementia.

I’m told it’s just out-patient and a really simple operation.

I get my Dad scheduled for a dental visit that afternoon with my beloved dentist. His motto is if you feel pain the dental chair – you’ve got the wrong dentist. Thankfully, my brother is here and can get my Dad to his appointment. Focused.