One of the most common reasons for an elderly person’s hospital visit is the mean old Urinary Tract Infection, also known as an UTI. In elders there are very few symptoms except for generally feeling awful. They are also hard to get rid of for older people. My mother had one for a month and that was after she had antibiotics. There’s no delicate way to put this. If your older loved one seems to be run down — check the toilet. If their urine is dark and has a strong smell, it’s time to see the doctor!
Last week I wrote about letting go of my beloved daddy. He had been sick for a few weeks but refused to go to the doctor. He was weak to the point of lifeless. Rarely was he getting out of his recliner. He took a small fall and yet he still wouldn’t go to see the doctor. I begged and pleaded to no avail.
“Angel, what can they do?” he argued. “I’m soon going to be 85. I know it’s hard for your momma and you to face it but I’m just not going to get better.”
I cried and cried for days. Then I got a little perturbed. I called my son. You know sometimes that first born grandson can be very persuasive especially when he’s a CT tech and works in the ER.
“Grandpa you got to go to the doctor,” Isaac told his granddaddy. “I think you have a urinary tract infection. I see it all the time in the ER.”
With momma and Isaac on board, we convinced him to at least go to the emergency room after promising I wouldn’t let them keep him for more than a few hours. Momma said she’d get him ready to go if I could take him. She was beyond stressed from taking care of him hand and foot. I gave her orders to go to bed and not to step foot in the garden which is her “drug” of choice when she has some time away from daddy.
Then when I got there he was already in the car and insisted on us going through the McDonald’s drive in for a sausage biscuit! Oh, my. Raising a parent is exasperating!
Needless to say, it was a very long day in the emergency room. We did get there early in the day and they got us right in. Then it took some time to go through all his medical history with the ER doctor. I told the doctor that he had numerous UTIs and that was what I suspected. Wanting to be thorough, they did an EKG even though daddy has never had heart problems. They hooked him up to everything and started running tests. Blood work, a urinalysis, an X-ray, a CT scan and even a VQ scan was done. That last one I had never even heard of before.
Yes, the doctor said. He has an UTI. No, he doesn’t have a blood clot in his lung — just a regular, very severe UTI. Of course he wanted to admit him. Well, that didn’t work. So they gave him antibiotics and fluids in his IV. After 6 or 7 hours they unhooked him from all the wires and told him he could leave. An older lady in the next bed was also there for an UTI, as was another elderly man in the hallway. I went and paid the ER bill then hoofed it to the pharmacy for his prescriptions. What a day!
On the way home, daddy seemed in much better spirits.
“I do feel better about the whole thing, Angel,” he said. “I’m glad we came. Now if I could only feel good enough to get on the lawn tractor. That would really be great.”
So at least for now, daddy doesn’t think he’s dying anytime soon. After that trip, I think I might be!
Needless to say, it would have been so much better had we gone weeks before. Take a lesson from the dense gerontologist. Don’t wait until they agree to go. Do whatever it takes to get them seen.
If your loved one has any kidney problems, I learned from our ER doctor, to not allow IV dye to be used. It can severely damage compromised kidneys.