Dad refused to have most of the medical tests that were ordered for him before his dementia set in. I remember begging him to go have the prostate exam done, as he showed multiple symptoms and at the time I thought for sure he had prostate cancer.
I sent cards, I begged him on the phone, all to no avail.
Of course, my diagnosis turned out to be wrong. Cancer would not kill my dad, despite his almost lifelong smoking habit.
The last test I ever saw performed on him was the swallow test at the hospital in Albuquerque. It was about a month before his death. He failed the test miserably. Then came the dreaded feeding tube question. We declined. He was hand fed instead, but I don’t think he actually ate much that last month of his life.
Now Mom is the one that faces test after test after test, to keep track of her cancer. It is daunting, keeping all of the doctor’s appointments straight. There are people out there, too many poor souls no doubt, that have to manage all of this on their own. No one should have to do that, while trying to recover from surgery and get stronger.
The trepidation behind the tests are two-fold. Not only is there fear and anxiety of taking so many tests, but there is the fear of the results of the tests.
All a caregiver can do is to try to be a supportive secretary, by setting the appointments, helping to navigate the logistics and offering moral support.