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.