Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quick Update

Once again, we dodged the "hospital bullet" with mom and her frequent Urinary Track Infections.

As many of you may already know, UTIs are one of the leading causes of hospitalizations for the elderly. Mom has been no different than millions of elderly people. While a UTI for a normal healthy adult isn't such a big deal (uncomfortable, sure, but treatable quickly), for an elderly person it can be deadly. The condition can begin a simply as most UTIs do - burning and discomfort with urination. However, in the elderly, they seldom feel those early signs. Mom never does. The infection grows and grows without any indication. And then, appearing suddenly, fever, weakness, disorientation ... all artfully disguised under the normal signs of aging ... napping more, not so steady, and some increased dementia. By the time my mom shows these symptoms, she is very sick - and it is only hours before she is septic - a life threatening condition. Then, of course, once at the hospital, you must count in the debilitation that results from the enforced inactivity dictated by the hospital protocols. Twelve to eighteen hours restricted to bed results in weeks of at home physical therapy to get her strength back. Yes, a UTI is a formidable opponent for the elderly.

This time, however, we had several hard-hitters in our corner. To begin with I knew what symptoms to look for. I learned that lesson through many previous hospitalizations for the same condition. (Some things you just have to learn the hard way!) It took me about 3 hours to catch on, but not 24 hours as in the past. Thankfully, I could act fast. I had antibiotics in the house. No waiting for the doctor to call in the prescription, no waiting at the pharmacy for them to fill it, no travel time to and fro. The moment I put the symptoms together in my head with the probably cause, I had her pop an antibiotic. The last and most important element of our success is her new at-home doctor. She returned my call promptly, advised me to double dose her - so a second pill was given right after the first. And the next day, we double dosed her again. Within 24 hours of the first antibiotic, mom was pretty much back to herself.

And for anyone who is keeping count, (I am), since mid May, our at-home doctor has saved us from 3 hospitalizations!

So we are doing well here. Thank you for all your comments of concern both on the blog and by email.

Next time we beat the UTI opponent, I will figure out how to play the "Rocky" theme song on my blog!!

Anyway, next posting ... a new theme to tide me over until I can get my dern camera fixed.


8 comments:

  1. Just a suggestion.....give your mom a good big glass of cranberry juice every day.

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  2. My mom also had this problem. We experienced everything you described on several occasions. It's wonderful that you are so in tune to her.

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  3. Thanks for the education and update. Glad to hear your Mom (and you too) are doing better. My parents have both passed. I was unaware of the danger of a UTI to an elderly. My mother-in-law had one about a month ago, she is 78 years old. She received a prescription from the doctor and said she is fine now. I now have a better understanding (thanks to you!) of how serious this is for her.

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  4. Well, I'm just catching up with the saga but I've gotta say, avoiding 3 hospitalizations is fantastic! Glad to read the good news.

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  5. your at-home dr. saved you 3 hospitalizations! WOW. That is awesome.

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  6. Know what you are going thru - that is what my mom died of. You do have to watch every and any infection. Best wishes.

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  7. My mother in law suffered chronic UTI in her last years. They had a huge effect on her mind. It looked much like dementia. Once they were treated, her mind went back to being sharp as a tack. My heart goes out to you!

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  8. that is definitely not something i want to look forward to-frequent UTI's. i didn't know they became more frequent as one got older. i just recently had my first couple in the last year or so. i tried to remember to drink more water, did the cranberry route but i also tried to re-introduce yogurt into my system. glad you were able to save yourselves a trip to the hospital. :)

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