First of all, I would like to express that I really appreciate everyone's support and suggestions. I know that many of you have experienced taking care of an elderly person, and I'm sure that many of you have learned through the experience that you were
able to do things that you never dreamed you could do - just as I have. I also want to apologize that I have gotten so far off the track of the original theme of this blog, but hopefully, others can learn through my experiences with my mother.
I'm sure you have all heard the old adage "Smile, it could be worse". To this I have added "So I did, and it was". Well, I must have smiled because it has gotten worse. We found out today that the bacteria causing my mother UTI is a mega bacteria, described
as an ESBL, that is resistant to all disinfectants and most antibiotics. I had never heard of an ESBL (extended-spectrum beta-lactamase), so I did some research on the internet.
The specific bacteria that my mother has is E-coli, but it can be any bacteria that has been exposed to multiple antibiotics and has developed a resistance to all of them. Most often multiple antibiotics must be tried to find one that will be effective.
Not only is this bacteria difficult to eradicate and control, it is highly contagious. If someone touches anything that the infected person touches, they can become infected. Worse yet, a person that gets infected and is colonized by the bacteria, may or
may not become ill. If the person does not become ill, they become a carrier that can infect other people without knowing it. If a person becomes a carrier, there is nothing medically that can be done. The only hope is that the person's immune system will
eventually eliminate the bacteria.
Since my husband and I did not find out that my mother had ESBL until more than a week after she developed symptoms of a UTI, we have already been exposed. We can only hope that we don't become ill or become carriers. In the meantime, my mother has to
be quarantined, and no one can come to see her, including care givers.
In addition, I found out that ESBL has become common in hospitals, and it is difficult to control. Considering the 4 days that my mother stayed in the hospital for the shingles, and the length of time after she came home before we was any symptoms, I believe
that she got the bacteria in the hospital. I have called the hospital to let them know about this, and the head nurse in the wing my mother was in sounded appreciative of the information. She said someone would call me back on Monday. We'll see if that happens.
They may be concerned about a lawsuit, but my intent was only to warn them so someone else doesn't become ill. I find it very upsetting that people can go into a hospital to help them with a medical condition, and they can get out of the hospital worse off.
As of tonight, my mother seems better. We still have to feed her, but for the first time in almost 3 weeks, she ate some solid foods and actually swallowed them. She is still in a lot of pain from the shingles and the UTI, and busts out in tears holding
her head or her stomach. She cries every time she has to go to the bathroom because that is painful, too. Fortunately, all of her vitals and blood work are that of a healthy person, but the don't measure the pain she is experiencing. Even so, it is fortunate
that we were able to get her off all medications and build her up before all this happened.
Tonight when I put her to bed, she held my hand and wanted a hug. I almost cried. She is in so much pain and knows we are trying to help her. We are at the mercy of the doctors to get her well, and I feel so helpless.