Many elders experience readmits to the hospital. They want to be home or their doctor thinks they’re well enough. Urinary tract infections, also known as UTI’s are a huge reason elders have to go to the hospital in the first place and be readmitted after the infection rages on. Dehydration is another huge factor in elders being hospitalized. There are lots of reasons they aren’t drinking enough including the fear of not making it to the bathroom on time which may be linked to limited mobility.
Medications can be another reason for readmits. Elders who live alone often have trouble knowing how and when to take their medications. Elders are also a lot more sensitive to prescriptions. My daddy is one of them. He only takes one prescription and that’s for acid reflux.
If you read my last blog you know that recently my father has been very sick. Last week, we finally got him to agree to go to the doctor. On the way to the hospital daddy told me he didn’t think he would ever make it home again! Talk about a heart breaker. I reassured him he would feel better soon and be home in a jiffy. After 6 hours and a whole bunch of tests my suspicions were confirmed. He had an UTI.
The doctor wanted him to stay overnight but daddy wouldn’t hear of it. Again the doctor strongly advised him to stay, but daddy wanted to be home with momma. I should have insisted that he stayed but I felt it was his call. So I made my way to the pharmacy while the nurse helped him get dressed and we headed home. He was feeling better. They had loaded up his IV while in the ER with antibiotics and fluids. But that night was a totally different story.
The antibiotics he had been given were very strong. After taking the first pill daddy experienced nightmares like you wouldn’t believe. The next morning daddy told me, “Every one of you and the kids visited me last night. And at some point someone tapped me on the shoulder.”
Well, that was really strange but at least it wasn’t a really scary dream. But the next night was far worse. Daddy was hallucinating that someone was just outside pointing a shotgun at him.
“I yelled at your momma,” said daddy of his dream. “Get the gun!”
Daddy’s never owned a gun.
“Then in my dream after the shot gun incident was over, someone tried to pull me out of the bed by my feet,” he said.
By that afternoon he was back in the hospital. This time he did stay overnight. Actually he was determined to stay. Those nightmares really affected him. The side effects of the medications were considered serious. If daddy had been living alone, I don’t know what would have happened. My heart goes out to all older people who have no choice but to recuperate alone.
We can all be watchful of the elders we know and care for, especially when they live alone and have been ill. A senior’s illness can take a nosedive at the drop of a hat. Hospitals make most people well but especially during flu season just being in the hospital is a risk of contracting a bad flu.
Medications can easily alter a senior’s ability to think well and make good choices. It’s up to us to stay connected and know what’s going on especially when they are sick.
Yesterday I told my daddy in no uncertain terms that the next time he felt ill at all he was going to the doctor whether he liked it or not.