A Rough Couple Of Weeks With My Mom - Healthy Eating, Cooking, and Baking Blog at Allrecipes.com - 305369

Healthy Eating, Cooking, and Baking

A Rough Couple of Weeks with my Mom 
Jun. 28, 2013 1:23 am 
Updated: Jul. 4, 2013 5:17 am
For those of you that may have an interest in my Mom's progress, I thought I might update you with what has happened in the last couple of weeks. The experience has lessened my confidence in doctors which was already on the edge of total mistrust. 

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed what looked like a possible scratch in the corner of my Mom's eye. It was almost on the side of the bridge of her nose. So I thought she may have bumped her glasses and didn't think much of it at the time. The next morning, her left eye was reddened and looked swollen. As luck would have it, it was a weekend, and all of the doctor's offices were closed. We took her to Immediate Care for the hospital that her doctor uses, and they told us it was a bacterial infection. They gave us an antibiotic and eye drops, and sent us home. By the next day, now Sunday, her eye had swollen to the size of a golf ball, and she was developing sores on her nose and forehead. We immediately rushed her to emergency where they diagnosed that she had shingles in her eye. They prescribed an antiviral medication and more eye drops, and suggested that we get her to an optometrist as soon as possible. We managed to get an appointment for her at my optometrist, but when she got there all she would do is sleep. He couldn't get her to open her eyes for examination. 

Needless to say, the optometrist was very concerned. So he called her doctor, and they decided to admit her into the hospital. We got her from there to being admitted into the hospital, but sat in the room for a couple of hours until someone finally looked into the room. I became angry, and got someone into the room to get her changed, and a meal ordered for her. 

By the next day, she was almost completely unresponsive. They put her in a diaper and didn't even try to get her to the bathroom. Since I am not one to be passive and accepting of irresponsible professionals, I found the lead nurse and explained that at this point she needed help to encourage eating, and that she could no longer walk on her own. They finally assigned a student nurse to stay with her and to help her eat, but each time we went to the hospital, they hadn't ordered meals, or the student nurse didn't help her to eat much. When we were there, I was able to get her to eat at least 3/4 of the meal once we got it. 

After 4 days in the hospital, the doctor discharged her, and she was in worse shape than when she came to live with us 9 months ago. She slept all the time, she could no longer walk, and she ate very little. The second day home, she was sitting in the kitchen chair sleeping and suddenly started making a croaking sound and then a grunting sound. She wouldn't wake up no matter what we did. I panicked, and called 911. An ambulance got to the house within 10 minutes, but it seemed like forever. They took her back to the hospital where they did a number of test including an MRI, and deemed her to be healthy. They said the episode was something called vasovagal which is caused by someone grunting so hard that they press on a vagus nerve that causes them to pass out. Great!! She only pooped in her pants. 

We brought her home again the next day, but at this point, she was completely incontinent again, and refused to eat or drink. Anything put into her mouth was spewed out like an episode of Exorcist. At this point, I started thinking about foods that I could liquefy that would provide a balanced diet. I was really beginning to think that we had lost all of the progress we had made with her. Then I noticed that her urine was dark and had a very strong odor. So I called the doctor to see if the urine test they had recently done was for a urinary tract infection. This was on a Thursday, and the didn't call me back. We finally got an order for the test the next week on Tuesday, and an infection was confirmed on Wednesday.We immediately got the antibiotic for the infection and started her on it. 

It is now Friday, and the antibiotic is beginning to take effect, but she is enduring the nerve pain associated with shingles and also the pain of a urinary tract infection. She can still only eat liquefied foods.So I have been making soups with homemade stocks and liquefied quinoa and bean flour. I make "blasts" that include vegetables and fruits, and try to get in enough whole liquefied foods to make a balanced diet.  

At this point in time, she is starting to come back. She has lost 14 lbs., but we are making her walk to keep her muscles working. Today, for the first time, she started trying to talk again, and she is letting us know when she has to go to the bathroom. I believe that we can get her back to where she was 2 weeks ago. 

For any of you that may be dealing with an elderly person, a urinary tract infection can be devastating. It causes symptoms of dementia even in those that haven't had such problems, and increases symptoms in those that have. Please be proactive in caring for the elderly people that you love. 
Jun. 28, 2013 5:39 am
Judy, I am so sorry that your mom had to endure such an unnecessary ordeal. Urinary tract infections seem to be at the root of so many problems with the elderly. My mom does have dementia, but it is made worse when she has a UTI. I don't know how you feel about cranberry juice. I have always used it to treat UTI with great success. Maybe giving a small glass of juice everyday might help ward off future infection.
Jun. 28, 2013 6:07 am
If she isn't taking probiotics she needs to. Align is a good one that can be found most anywhere. It is much cheaper at Costco. Eldercare is difficult as any illness will set them back tremendously. Good wishes for a full recovery.
Jun. 28, 2013 9:24 am
i understand your frustration completely! it's YOUR mom. you are to be admired for being a bulldog about her care! i hope she continues to improve...and with a daughter like you, she will!
Jun. 28, 2013 9:26 am
Judy - Thank you for sharing. Wanted to just quickly say I am thinking fo you & your Mom! Its a good lesson for us all to learn...do not be passive!
Jun. 28, 2013 11:00 am
Geriatric care is horrendous in many cases. Contrary to the medical professions belief, age is not a disease! But they too often fail to look beyond the obvious. I'm glad you are able to speak up and get her the right care. I hope she continues to improve.
Jun. 28, 2013 3:29 pm
Judy, your mom is so lucky to have you. It is hard and so frustrating, I had some hard times with both my parents and my husband's parents. However, I will never regret that I was there to help them when they couldn't help themselves and to deal with the medical staff. I hope you can get some rest yourself and I hope your mom continues to get better.
Jun. 29, 2013 1:33 am
Judy, I am sorry that your Mom has had to suffer for those 2 weeks. We cared for my Mom and aunt, both had dementia, and UTI's were the worst. My advice to anyone caring for an elderly patient, is to start a journal and track all medication and their reactions to them. My Mom had a horrible reaction to liquid Pepcid, ( for heartburn) and she became violent and unco operative. The Hospital wanted to have her committed, when really she was having a allergic reaction. By tracking her Meds, we able to prevent another doctor from prescribing liquid Pepcid. After the medicine wore off, she was fine, and oh BTW, she originally went to the hospital for her heart condition, not heartburn. Good luck to you and your Mother. You Mom is very Lucky to have you watching over her.
Jun. 29, 2013 4:50 am
Judy, I am sorry for what you and your mother had to go through. Take care both of you.
Jun. 29, 2013 10:55 am
My mother had a bout of UT/dementia this past winter Took a few months to get her back on her feet. Take care dear. For anyone that has a family member in the hospital.....ALWAYS have a responsible family member or friend with the patient. Almost every hospital is owned by corporations now and their interest is to cut cost while short cutting care. Sadly, the old St.Whatevers are NOT owned by the churches anymore. Our care is about a profit margin these days.
Jul. 3, 2013 6:33 am
My mother has UTI's quite often, but NEVER has symptoms. It took us a while to figure out that when she doesn't feel well or is "off" in any way, she probably has one. I am so glad you are blogging about this journey with your mom. It really helps and arms us with information. You are to be commended for being so proactive in taking care of your mother and not just giving up and letting her die.
Jul. 3, 2013 2:08 pm
I am truly sorry. I sit here shaking my head. What is the matter with the system? This really needs to be addressed. Your mother is lucky to have you in her corner. Take good care of yourselves.
I won't respond so don't bothe 
Jul. 3, 2013 4:30 pm
This is sad. I'm sorry you are going through this. You might want to join a medical forum to talk about it, especially since this is a cooking and food Web site... Not to be rude, but if you need attention badly enough to post this on this Web site you might want to go talk to someone, a therapist or something. Good luck...
Jul. 3, 2013 5:32 pm
I feel for you. When we were taking care of my MIL, before she died, she went through some of the same things...bad medical, irresponsible nursing staff. Someone actually burnt her multiple times with a lit cigarette when she was staying in a nursing home! My own Mom who is in her last days with Alzheimer's had a similar event at the hospital in the town where they live! Apathetic hospital staff almost cost her to lose her feet. I was born with red hair and even though it is now white at the roots, I still have a "red" temper! It is imperative that you be your mom's advocate, especially in a hospital setting!! If I was you, I would definitely call the hospital where your mom was and file a complaint with the administrator's office. The hospital where MY mom was located knocked a significant amount off of the bill because of her ill treatment. God bless and keep you during this most trying of all times. I will pray for both of you.
Jul. 3, 2013 5:33 pm
One more thing, when Adela, my MIL was alive, the doctor had me give her cranberry pills twice a day. It seemed to stop her UTI's.
Jul. 3, 2013 7:07 pm
Hmm, so strange. What is the connection between dementia and UTI's? My Mom never had UTI's until she was well into dementia. She was well cared for and had well balanced diets as long as we could get her to eat properly. She wouldn't swallow well. Had to be encouraged to swallow after she chewed. What a wicked disease. Keeping you in my prayers.
Jul. 4, 2013 5:17 am
OMG. I am so sorry you have to go through all this. This is not exceptable from staff and individuals who are suppose to be professional and knowledgable. I would keep detailed records (what has happened, who you spoke with, when, etc.) and consult with an attorney when you are up to it. I know you have a lot on your plate and it's been real tough but thank God she has you.
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About Me
I breed large parrots, like to write, raise most of our veggies, completed my AS degree at 65, enjoy cooking specialty dishes and baking bread. I have done extensive study of cooking and eating healthy. A few years ago, I started researching healthy eating for my parrots, and it has since changed focus to the diet of my family. At this point, I make all of our bread using fresh milled flour that I make. We eat primarily pastures fed meats and eggs, and I make many of our condiments. We also avoid GMO foods and ingredients as much as possible. Since my 93 year old mother has moved in with us, we have eliminated the 10 medications she was on, and her physical and mental condition has improved considerably. I totally believe that we are what we eat. What is really best for us is a constant learning experience.
My favorite things to cook
I get bored with cooking daily meals, but enjoy making specialty and new dishes. I also enjoy baking breads from scratch using freshly ground flour made from various grains that I buy in bulk.
My cooking triumphs
One of my cooking triumphs was baking whole grain breads that are light, tasty, and healthy.
My cooking tragedies
My latest cooking tragedy was recovered with some effort. I made the Navy Bean and Ham soup that I posted and after the cooking time, much of the liquid had evaporated. I was tired when it finished and put it into containers and froze it as it was. The next day we had it for dinner and it was way too thick. As much as I didn't feel like it, I thawed 8 containers of the soup, added more broth, and repackaged it for freezing. It was really a pain, but I'm glad I did it. The finished soup was so much better.
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