Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I think I might have been a bit naive to think that with mother being in a nice safe place it would make life easier for the family, more importantly me.

I saw her on Monday, lording it over the craft activities, waited while she had lunch and wheeled her down to Bingo.

Sister saw her yesterday around 3 o'clock and she was gleeful as she'd sold one of the boxes she'd made in craft. She did say she'd had a pain in the head the night before and hot and cold sweats but she felt fine.

By 8 o'clock she was deathly ill. An undiagnosed urinary tract infection and fluid in the bottom of the right lung but the nurses were onto it pretty quickly and had a doctor there sharpish. Sister went down and stayed until mum went to sleep because she refused to go to hospital, which is her right. The staff said they'd ring if her condition worsened. They did say she was an "uncomfortable colour", sister said she was whiter than white.

Today she was a lot better but with more antibiotics to take which didn't stop her giving orders about a certain piece of lace she'd like and she knows I've got it. I swear she'll be giving orders to the driver of the hearse. At least she doesn't have a phone beside the bed and I might get some sleep tonight. Her colour was still in the white zone but up from "uncomfortable" to pale.

But this shows how quickly a UTI can take hold of someone who's immune system is down when even my sister the nurse didn't notice anything wrong. With another hot summer coming up, anyone looking out for their oldies should take notice of any odd behaviour or confusion and make their doctor test for infection.


Brian Hughes said...

"With another hot summer coming up, anyone looking out for their oldies should take notice of any odd behaviour or confusion..."

Unless they're looking out for me, of course, it which case it would be impossible to tell the difference.

iODyne said...

Bri is reliable, bless him.

Dear Coppy, if the Big M had not been where there were nurses, but still been at home at 8pm last night ...

so thank the lace gods for that

River said...

How does a UTI go undetected? Aren't there painful or burning symptoms when using the loo?
This reminds me of a friend whose father died from bowel cancer while living in a nursing home. He'd noticed bleeding etc but didn't tell anyone as he didn't want to make a fuss.
Is it possible your mum just didn't say anything for the same reason?

Jayne said...

Cranberry tabs and/or juice.
Ask GP for Macrodantin, too.

JahTeh said...

Dear Fleetwood, with the amount of pints going through your system, there's no chance of that happening to you. I'd give odds on you being kicked in the Khyber by an enraged cow though.

Stacks, so right but we know what to look for, the last one was 5/6 months ago. The test stick showed up the brightest purple you can have and that was for Leucocytes.

River, they're very sneaky, sometimes no symptoms until it's very advanced. My M-i-L was undiagnosed for 6 months until she was well into a kind of dementia.
Mum did have burning but didn't say anything but from now one there'll be a test at least once a month.

Sorry Jayne, but no cranberry juice, it interfers with other stuff going one but she is drinking nearly two litres of fluid a day. Problem is, she's trying to re-train herself to using the toilet at the same time each day so holding on too long. At least the staff is on to her and will be checking more carefully.

Kath Lockett said...

UTIs are very common in nursing homes and apparently cranberry juice or tea is pretty helpful?

Isn't it funny that's she'd be feeling fairly uncomfortable 'down there' (to revert to an older person's style of talking) but is obsessed about lace instead?

Kelly & Sam Pilgrim-Byrne said...

My nanna used to get these all the time - bloody awful.

JahTeh said...

Kath, she feels uncomfortable all over, it's hard to distinguish the different aches and pains so she's doing what she's always done, focus on something else...lace.

Hello Muriels, they'll be watching her a bit more carefully now but she didn't say anything and we're not mindreaders although I should be after all this time.

Middle Child said...

True - another thing often forgotten is to test sodium level in the blood - this happened to Don a lot and too often he would drink too much, because of dry mouth caused by medications, and wash his system of sodium / causing tiredness and laterly confusion - also when it was too hot he would lose too much fluids - this can be easily treated by Schuessler Tissue (12) Salts from health food stores (cheap about $8) Chemists dole out just salt tabs but the body needs 12 tissue salts not one...

not to worry re your mum as no doubt the nursing home would be air conditioned and she wouldn't get hot and sweaty inside there. but if ever it happens to you this is the way to and it works