Last week Daddy called and said he was worried about my mama.
“She’s confused,” he said. “She woke up from a nap and couldn’t remember where anyone was.”
I knew she’d been having some trouble remembering things. I also knew she thought she had a bladder infection. Then she developed a skin rash.
“Karen,” she said. “Do you think I’m allergic to something outside?”
Now mama has been working outside on the same two acres since 1987 and never developed a skin rash. I thought it was unlikely at 81 years old she suddenly became allergic to one of her beloved plants.
“No, Mama,” I replied. “Did you start using that weed killer again?”
She hadn’t used any spray so now I’m thinking, “Could it be related to her bladder infection?”
I did a little research on the internet and found that skin rashes often develop with a bad urinary tract infection. This is especially true for patients taking chemotherapy.
Resistance to Medical Care
I told her to make an appointment. She didn’t want to. So I made an appointment for her for the next morning. She called me early in the morning and said she felt “much better” and didn’t want to go. I don’t know about you but it’s hard for me to argue with my mama especially on her and Daddy’s 63rd wedding anniversary.
“Okay, Mama,” I said. “But if you have any more symptoms, you’re going even if I have to drag you.”
I also told her to take it easy, put her feet up and drink lots of water. Did she do that? Nope. Instead she went outside with daddy and cut up a huge limb of the eucalyptus tree that had come down on the neighbor’s side of the fence. According to my mama, hard work will cure anything.
The next morning she called and said she was feeling awful and her rash was much worse. She said her mind was not working well and it was scaring her.
“You’re going to the doctor,” I said and I hung up and made her an appointment.
Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly
What I knew from my classes in gerontology is that older people are more susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and the symptoms are less noticeable. A UTI can also cause dementia-like symptoms in the elderly. What I didn’t know is that older people often develop a rash with a bad UTI.
Well, one doctor’s visit and two prescriptions later my mama is feeling better. I gave Daddy the job of writing down when she takes her medicine. She’s still confused enough that I was afraid she would get the two medicines mixed up and she agreed.
Her skin rash started to clear up the very next day and her mind is working a lot better today on day three. She’s even agreed not to work in the yard for a few days. We’ll see how that goes.