Protecting the Caregiver’s Health and Planning for Contingencies

As a caregiver, I find I always put dad’s needs before my own.  When I have to make medical appointments, I make the first available appointment with the optometrist or general physician for dad and the next available appointment for myself.  In my community, some of the doctors are only in the local office one day or even one half day per week.  My ophthalmologist is only in his office 2 days per month!  While dad saw him this year, I am still waiting for my appointment date.

Nevertheless, I have continued to take the first available date for dad and to wait for the next available date for myself.  Recently I went to visit the general physician to talk about dad’s health issues.  The following week I went in for myself.  That doesn’t seem like much of a wait, but when I first called I had to wait 4 weeks for the first available appointment, which I took for dad’s needs.  I took the next one — 5 weeks away — for myself.

I didn’t know how urgent my health concern was, so I decided it would wait.  I was having symptoms that did not cause pain.  I only was following up on them because of a medical column I had seen in the newspaper.  Sometimes it is hard for a lay person to decide if a certain symptom is important or not.

After reading the article, I decided I needed to follow up and discuss my symptoms with my doctor.  The first doctor I mentioned it to was the physician’s assistant I saw at my cardiologist’s office.  She said it was probably not a concern, but I should discuss it with my regular physician.  Almost 2 months later I finally spoke to my general physician about it.

My physician then immediately ordered a series of tests including a CAT scan and some others.  I had them done the same week.  The afternoon of the CAT scan, the nurse called to tell me there was something that needed to be followed up with the specialist right away.  I have not seen the specialist before, but have seen another doctor from that office.  I didn’t like the other doctor and thus scheduled with his partner.

This doctor was to be out of that office until ten days later.  I will see him next week instead.  I vary in my concern from “well, it is probably not serious as I lived with it so long already” to “OMG, they called me so quickly and wanted me to follow up so quickly it is probably the worst possible diagnosis we had considered.”

Now, I shouldn’t, but I looked it up on Google and found all the terrible problems that could be causing my symptoms.  There are others that are fairly benign as well, but naturally I focused on the bad ones as I know I have neglected myself for too long.  I have become quite concerned in the waiting part of this process since it will be over a week from when I was told to see the specialist until I can actually see him.

In the meantime, I continued to worry about all the possible problems that could develop.  Therefore, when I called my general physician to renew some prescriptions, I asked for a copy of the results of the CAT scan at the same time.  While I am not trained to read all that medical jargon, it didn’t look quite as scary after reading it as I had imagined.  Still it suggests that I follow up with more tests.

I made myself a list of questions for the doctor so I don’t forget to ask the important ones. I know when I am stressed I lose track of what I planned to do.  Doctors have such a limited amount of time to give us; we need to make the best use of it.  My daughter suggested she go with me to help me remember the questions and answers.  I know that will help a lot since I don’t really know this doctor.

I thought I had already put everything I need in place since I already have my will, durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney.  My son is named as the one who has the first duty to be my POA when he is available.

But now I realized I never gave him instructions on how to actually access my accounts online nor had I listed all of the accounts in one place.  This past week I made the list of financial accounts, insurance information, income information, etc in one file for myself and another for my father’s affairs.  I called my bank to see if they would send their own form for son to act as POA since they wouldn’t accept mom’s 4 years ago when I needed to act for her.

Again, I got the same run-around because their attorney apparently told them they can only accept a durable power of attorney in person with a current picture ID.  Now this credit union is in another state and there is no way either I or my son could walk in the door to conduct financial transactions.  I only have stayed with them all these decades because they have the best online services I have ever found.  My local credit union is more convenient, but their online banking application isn’t as versatile.

For the time being, I am not making any banking changes because I have so many accounts with dad as well as for myself.  Instead I gave my son all of the information needed so he can log onto my accounts to pay my bills and transfer funds between accounts.  I feel even if this is not necessary in the near future, there will come a time when it is necessary.

Hopefully my doctor’s visit will not turn up anything serious, but I feel that I have done everything I can to prepare for it.  Soon I hope to know for sure that I can relax and continue with my busy life.

I know I have neglected to write in the past several weeks, but these other circumstances have kept me busy.  Summer will be busy anyway, so don’t assume if I don’t write that there are problems.  We have some family visits coming up in the next few weeks as well, so I will be occupied with those too.

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Lunch with Dad

Lately I have been taking dad out for lunch each week.  Usually we go to the same family restaurant because they have the shrimp that he likes.  Each time he forgets that he has to choose 2 sides.  He looks at the list and it looks new to him each time.

He almost always orders French fries.  But the 2nd side dish is less of a sure thing.  Lately he has asked about the soup a few times.  This week he chose French Onion soup.  When the waiter brought it to him, he looked down at it and looked at me with a question in his eyes.

I will admit the soup looked strange as it had melted cheese on it and it looked yucky like a muddy pond.  “What the Hell is that?” he said.  I laughed and told him it was his French Onion soup.

He put in his spoon and as he lifted it to his mouth the mozzarella cheese stretched between the soup dish and his mouth.  He spun the spoon to get the cheese to stop dragging.  He had some challenges with it but he persevered.  He said the soup was hot, but he kept eating it.

All in all dad has been doing fairly well so far this year.  However, he often won’t eat the lunch they give him at his ALF.  He asks for toast instead.  But when I take him out, he always eats very well.  This week he ate most of his soup and most of his shrimp and part of his French Fries.

The only problem is that dad always wears his light jacket while indoors and it always has traces of his last meal on it.  I have started bringing his jacket home with me after each visit so I can wash it.

Finally I decided to go to eBay and find another jacket exactly like the one he wears all the time.  I found something fairly close and brought it to him this week.  Now he will have one jacket to wear while I wash the other.  (He does get his laundry done by his ALF, but they only do a basket of laundry once a week.)

I also have been cleaning dad’s kitchen and end table more than I used to.  I find he has spilled his orange juice or cola on the kitchen counter or his end table and he just leaves it there.  Then when I arrive there is this sticky spot, so I start each visit by cleaning up after him.

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Another Day — Another Doctor for Dad

This morning I got up very early to be ready to pick dad up for his ophthalmologist appointment.  This was just a routine appointment since dad has some eye conditions that need to be followed.

Dad was having breakfast when I arrived.  I was expecting him to be sitting and waiting for me as I had reminded the aides yesterday that I would be there.  I told dad he had just a few minutes to finish his breakfast since we were expected at his eye doctor.

I put his Pepsi in his room and picked up the paperwork from the wellness office.  I got a jacket for dad as I knew he would be cold inside (from the air conditioning) even if he wasn’t cold outside.  I was glad I did.

We arrived at the ophthalmologist’s office just about on time and went inside.  Soon we were ushered to the back where the physician’s assistant asked some questions and did a preliminary exam on dad.  I was surprised he didn’t ace the vision exam as he had always done in the past.  Up until now, dad’s vision has been better than mine, though he still wore bifocals.

This time one eye seemed to be much worse than the other.  Before she left the exam room, the PA put drops in dad’s eyes.  First she put in one type of drops, then a second, and then a third.  “Wow!” I said.  Three kinds?  She said that last time they had difficulty dilating dad’s eyes so they needed extra drops this time.

When the doctor came in the room, he started to look in dad’s eyes.  Then he added more drops.  I wonder if this is related to the fact that he is dehydrated.  Dad was good for the exam, and read back all the letters on each line as the doctor requested.  After he was done, the doctor told me that dad’s prescription would be changing “a little”.  I said I planned to get him new glasses anyway as his old ones are scratched and he didn’t have a spare pair.

As we were walking towards the waiting room, dad said his eyes were blurry.  I explained that it was from the eye drops and it would “take awhile” before they were clear again.  I brought him to the optician in the waiting room and he sat down while they brought him some choices for frames.  He quickly picked out a pair, while twice more telling me that his eyes were blurry.  Each time I explained that he had drops in his eyes and they would be better later in the day.

I ordered a pair of glasses for dad.  His old ones were probably twenty years old, and his vision has not changed in many years.  He was surprised to be getting a new pair.  If he knew how much they were, he would have been really surprised.  His company union had a vision plan that allowed him to replace his glasses for about $20 every two years.  But, they had to go to a specific vendor near his old house.

I didn’t even check for this because we are hundreds of miles away.  So, instead of $20, the new glasses cost over $300!  They will be ready in about two weeks.

As we were leaving the ophthalmologist’s office, I asked dad if he was hungry and wanted to go somewhere to eat.  He said yes, so off we went.  I took him to a local family restaurant that serves breakfast until 11 AM.

He asked what we were eating as he wasn’t sure what meal this was.  I said they are serving breakfast and he looked at the menu.  I realized he couldn’t really read it because of the eye drops, so I read it to him.  He chose eggs, home fries and bacon.  I had French toast as I often do, and we had a nice breakfast.

While we ate, dad told me his eyes were blurry and I explained about the drops.  He told me about his eyes about four or five times before our food arrived.  I had brought in his jacket and he said he was cold.  I put his jacket on him and zipped it up.  Then I asked the waitress to turn off the fan over out table as the air conditioning was also on.

Dad enjoyed his breakfast and soon we were headed back to his assisted living facility.  On the way, dad told me his eyes were blurry.  (Now that I think about it, I am surprised no one called me since I got home to tell me his eyes were bothering him, though I did tell one of the aides when I took him back.)

Dad was tired when we got back to his assisted living facility and went straight to his room to have his nap in his recliner chair.  I cleaned the dishes in his sink and then went out to do the rest of my errands.  I reminded dad that today was Tuesday and I will see him on Thursday.

I went to the post office, the library and then home.  By the time I got home I was really tired too.  I had just some toast for lunch since I had a late large breakfast.  Then I sat in my recliner chair and took a nap too!

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Dad’s Results are Encouraging

Last time I wrote, I was waiting for results of dad’s blood tests and the visit to a specialist.  He has been dizzy regularly and was severely anemic on the blood test of a week before.

Today I have more encouraging news.  The updated blood test was done on Tuesday and I got the results yesterday.  In addition, he went to the specialist yesterday.

I reviewed the blood test results myself but haven’t discussed them with his primary care physician.  Still, even I could see that his anemia had improved markedly and there was no chance his doctor would ask him to go in for transfusions.  I made a copy to take along when we went to the specialist.

I picked dad up in the early afternoon – earlier than I needed to.  I was afraid he might be dizzy or difficult to dress so I left him a lot of time.  That morning one of the aides had called to tell me he was refusing to shower or shave.  He refuses a lot and I said maybe he wasn’t feeling well.  I said it was OK and not to worry about it.

When I arrived dad was almost ready to go.  I told him we were going to see his specialist and he should use the rest room before going to the car.  He asked why we were going and I told him about the symptoms he had before and that the doctor just wanted to check him.  It shouldn’t take long, I said.

Well, though we arrived 15 minutes early, we ended up waiting an hour because the doctor was running behind schedule.  I don’t know why I always worry about being on time when doctors always seem to be running late!

Anyway, I really like this specialist as he explains everything that he is doing and why.  Of course, dad kept forgetting what he was waiting for so we had to repeat it to him frequently.  He had to wait even while in the procedure room because they gave him an anesthetic and had to wait for it to take effect.

Dad kept complaining that he was cold and uncomfortable.  I gave him my sweatshirt which he put over his legs.  Finally the doctor went in the procedure room (and I went out).  It took literally less than 5 minutes after all that waiting.

The doctor said dad had scar tissue that was causing the bleeding and he removed it.  He didn’t see any other growths or signs of anything like cancer or anything else.  Basically, he just needs to remove the scar tissue that keeps coming back.  I should make an appointment for the same time next year and with that he was done.

Dad still didn’t understand why we were there, so I just told him everything was good and we were done.  By this time it was late afternoon.  I asked dad if he was hungry.  Yes, he sure was.  OK, I said, “Let’s stop nearby for dinner!”

If he remembered anything from our outing, I wanted him to remember the great dinner and not the long wait and the procedure at the doctor’s office.  We went to a restaurant we had not visited before.  The menu was extensive and the food was very good.

I stayed with dad only a short time after I brought him home.  He had gotten food on his jacket, so I made him give it to me and put on a different heavy shirt (as he was still cold).  I brought home his jacket and washed it last night.

Today I visited dad again and brought him his now-clean jacket.  I don’t think he remembered very much of yesterday which was good.

Now I am quite relieved about dad’s health as it appears that nothing serious is imminent.  I asked his specialist about the blood tests as his kidney function was even worse than the last time.  This doctor said the same as the other one – he is dehydrated and that makes the kidney function look worse.  He needs to drink more fluids, especially after losing so much blood.  But it is hard to convince dad to drink since he is never thirsty!

I did leave dad more orange juice and other drinks in his refrigerator.  He seems to be drinking more soda than juice, but anything should help.

I haven’t called dad’s regular doctor yet and she hasn’t contacted me.  Since things look better, she may not contact me.  However, I still want to talk to her about planning to work with the palliative care people.  The problem is that they require a referral from his doctor and at the moment he has nothing acute.  I don’t know if I can get him in with just his chronic issues and his advanced age or not.  But if I don’t, then the next time something happens we will be right back to the point where she wants me to take him to the ER for immediate treatment.

I suppose I should just take things one day at a time.   But after my last conversation with palliative care earlier in the week they are expecting to get his records faxed over in advance of giving me an appointment.  With the holiday weekend coming up, I will probably do nothing until next week!

I am a bit late in posting this as I wrote it a few days ago.  Sorry.  To all those that served our country — Thank You.  And to all families getting together for the holiday — may you celebrate with family and friends in sunshine.

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiving, Dementia, Doctor, Elder Care, Eldercare | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Mini Update On Dad’s Health

I called dad’s ALF this afternoon as I had not received any word about his blood test results.  Was I ever surprised when the nurse said “What blood test?”  She thought I was referring to the one from over a week ago because somehow they forgot all about the blood tests the doctor had ordered for Friday morning.

The nurse said she would call me back and in the meantime I guess she looked in the file and called the doctor.  She then called me to say dad’s blood would be drawn tomorrow.  The doctor had said she wanted more extensive blood tests for (last) Friday, so hopefully those will all be done with tomorrow’s sample.

So now I am still waiting to know what is really happening with dad.  I am frustrated and edgy and unable to concentrate on other plans.  Everything seems to depend on if dad is sick or if he is OK before I am ready to make other plans – even haircut appointments and medical appointments for myself.

I have also been thinking more about last Friday’s meeting with the doctor, dad, me and the staff from his ALF.  I feel frustrated that I did not get a chance to talk to the doctor alone – without ALF staff present.  I know I have the right to do that, but somehow everything was orchestrated by his ALF to keep them totally present.  Yet, the nurse was not so focused that she even remembered to do the follow-up blood test.

I need to keep my own focus the next time I meet with dad’s doctor.  I want to talk to her about planning dad’s future and what would happen if he had to leave the ALF.  For now I am waiting for the results from his urologist as well.  After I learn that and the blood test results, I hope to be able to have time for a normal discussion without rushing dad to the hospital, etc.

The doctor dad would see in the hospital would not be his usual doctor.   They have a “hospitalist” doctor from the same practice who is always in the hospital.  His personal doctor never makes hospital visits.  I don’t like this system but as I mentioned in a previous post, it is becoming a common way for doctors to practice.

Dad needs continuity of care and I need to be the one to find a way for that to happen.

Again, thank you all for your support.  I will keep you updated as I am able.

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Dad’s Medical Issues May be Coming to a Head

Things have been busy for me and for dad, so I have neglected to update you all here.  Basically after dad’s urology appointment, I waited several days without hearing the results of his urine culture.  I finally called his office and waited awhile for a call back.  Several calls back and forth and someone finally told me it was negative.  I asked then why it looked so dark and the original test indicated there was blood in it?  The PA was going to have his doctor call me back.  I waited more with no call back.

Then I called his assisted living to ask when his last blood labs had been done.  They told me his geriatric physician’s office had just called them to do a blood draw the following morning.  Oh.  There must have been communication between the urologist and the geriatric office.  I decided to wait for the results of that blood test, which was to be on a Friday morning.

The following Monday I called the ALF to learn if his blood tests had come back.  The nurse sent them to me by email.  They didn’t look good.  He looked extremely anemic.  I also wondered about the kidney function tests.  I called his geriatric physician’s office and set up a meeting with that physician which was to take place the following Friday when she visited his ALF.

In the meantime, the next day his urologist called me and asked me to set up another appointment for him to examine dad with a scope.  He was going to be gone for a week in between, so the appointment is for next week.  I wondered if that were the right exam as I was confused by the kidney function tests.

On Friday I went to meet the doctor very early so I wouldn’t miss her.  In the past she had come and gone before I ever got there, so I arrived 30 minutes earlier – just after 8 AM.  She had arrived 30 minutes before me, but was writing notes.

Apparently dad had gotten up that morning with a lot of blood in his Depends, which they just told me and the doctor when I arrived.  They brought us all into a small room – dad, me, the doctor and the ALF nurse.  Dad was confused and freezing.  I didn’t realize they had put dad in front of an open window and that was one reason he was so cold.  Also he is usually cold when other people are comfortable.

I put my sweatshirt on dad and tried to explain why we were there, but he didn’t understand.  He just sat there asking why he was so cold.  I asked the doctor about the tests and what to expect next.  She said the poor kidney functions were not unusual for a man dad’s age and were not of concern now.  She was worried that his anemia was so much worse than it had been in the past.

She said if he lost much more blood she wanted me to take him to the ER to be admitted to the hospital for a transfusion.  I said I had been trying for a long time to keep him out of the ER and the hospital.  But she said that is the only way since they need to run lab tests there and then do the transfusion and maybe the scoping at the same time.

She ordered another set of blood labs to be done in a week – this past Friday.  The results of those tests should be ready tomorrow.  In the meantime, she said if the aides find he has a lot of blood in the toilet, they are to call me and I should take him right in to the ER.

I asked what she thought the bleeding was from, if not the kidneys.  She said it was probably the bladder and maybe a growth or tumor in the bladder.  So there went my hope of canceling the scoping!

I went to the store and bought dad a six-pack of individual orange juice containers and some of his favorite snacks and brought them back to him.

I woke up early every morning since that day, wondering if I was going to get a phone call to come take dad to the hospital.  Fortunately so far nothing has happened.  I visited him a few times and he looked better than he had last Friday.  Except today.  Today when I visited him he was in the lounge sitting in front of the television.  But he was dizzy and cold and looked thin.  His face had no color in it.

Today I was not able to have much of a conversation with dad.  He seemed to be having more trouble than usual just hearing me, and everything I said to him had to be repeated several times.  Finally I just sat near him and we watched television.  He said he was cold and I asked if he wanted me to bring him a warmer shirt.  He said no.  Did he want to go to his room and sit with the blanket on his legs?  No again.  We waited until lunch.

I asked in the wellness center about his weight as they weigh him the first of each month.  For April it was the same as in the past.  For May, he had lost 2 ½ pounds.  It has fluctuated some in the past two years, but this was the lowest since 2 years ago.  He had lost a lot of weight when he was hospitalized 2 ½ years ago.  They won’t weigh him mid-month except if the doctor orders it.

Tomorrow I will call and ask for the results of Friday’s labs.  If they are bad I might get a call from his geriatric physician’s office.  Otherwise I will see what happens mid-week when we see the urologist for the scoping.

I have this on my mind 24 hours a day lately.  I was called out of meetings 2 or 3 times in one day from doctor’s trying to reach me.  Once it was a wrong number and I was really frustrated because I usually don’t answer unknown numbers.  However, doctors often use private numbers so I answer everything when waiting for a doctor to call.

I was at a presentation last week about palliative care.  I asked the presenter afterwards how I might get dad into a palliative care program if he isn’t hospitalized.  Is it possible?  He said yes, to call the program in the hospital dad would be working with.

I called the palliative care doctor dad had seen before, but was told he had moved and was not there anymore.  Neither was his former colleague.  All new people are there now and besides, that was the inpatient program.  By this time it was late on Friday.  I called the outpatient program and spoke with a nice woman (less of a “gatekeeper”) and she looked up dad on the computer and could see he had been seen by palliative care there before (as an inpatient).  She said the outpatient palliative care physician would call me back.  It was late and he never called back.  Perhaps I will hear from him tomorrow also.

Honestly, I am so afraid things will start moving really fast once dad gets o the ER or in for the scoping.  If they find a cancer I am afraid they will want to start doing things – surgery or procedures – that I might want to refuse.  I need someone to help me make decisions – in the moment!  I hope I can get a palliative doctor at my fingertips so I can immediately ask for guidance.

I know I worry in advance for things that may never happen.  But dad has been losing blood for a month or more now and is dizzy most of the time.  Something is wrong.  His doctor increased his iron medication, but that is just a stop-gap measure.

So, my friends pray for us now.  I need help making decisions and dad needs help with his dizziness and his unknown problem.   I hope I don’t get too busy to update you all on what is happening.  But if I don’t write for awhile, you will know something is keeping me occupied.


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Dad’s Medical Appointment

This week I had to take dad to his urologist for a medical checkup. He only needs to go annually to make sure everything is still OK following the prostate cancer he had many years ago. Because of my own tight schedule and the limited hours this specialist is in the office, I ended up making a 9 AM appointment for dad.

I left my house by 8 to be at dad’s ALF by 8:15, leaving us plenty of time to be early for his appointment. However, things never go as planned, and as I walked down the hall towards dad’s room I heard the aide say:”You HAVE to get up. Your daughter is going to be here any minute to take you to the doctor!”

Dad was still in bed wearing only his Depends and a t-shirt. The aide saw me walk in and said hello and she left pretty quickly. I think she was relieved not to be dealing with this unexpected problem. I was surprised she didn’t stay to help me as clearly this was not a usual morning.

Dad looked confused, even as I explained that he had an appointment with his doctor. I dressed him as I would a toddler, putting each arm into the sleeve and really having to work to get it in. Then I rummaged in his laundry basket to find a pair of sweats so he wouldn’t need a belt and his pants wouldn’t be falling if he refused to wear one.

Finally I had him dressed. Dad insisted that he was too dizzy and he couldn’t stand up. How would I get him to my car and then to the doctor’s office? Usually he uses his walker but this day he seemed unable to do so.

I ran down to the nurse and asked to borrow a wheelchair. I asked her to take his blood pressure as he was so dizzy but she refused because she “needed doctor’s orders” before she took blood pressure. I asked if he was usually this dizzy in the morning and she said yes, but I think that was stretching the truth a bit.

I sat dad in the wheelchair and got his warm coat from the closet. Then I realized he hadn’t eaten anything yet this day. I pushed him to the dining room and asked for a quick breakfast for him. I said he was in a hurry as he was now running late to make his medical appointment.

Dad ate his cold cereal and had some coffee. He seemed to revive a little, but not a lot. I pushed him in the wheelchair to my car and off we went. Now we certainly weren’t early for his appointment but if I hit all the lights just right, maybe we wouldn’t be very late.

We were lucky to get a parking space near the office door and I pushed dad into the waiting room. They gave me a clipboard with forms to fill out and checked on his insurance again (as they had already done this by phone 2 weeks ago). Since we were barely on time, I somehow expected to be escorted right in, but that never happens. We waited awhile and were then called in.

I mentioned that dad is dizzy today and I need to stay near him. They asked him to give a urine sample and then the medical aide wondered if he could do it by himself as he looked so unsteady. I said I thought he could, and luckily he did. I went in to check after he was done and moved the sample from on the sink to the little hole in the wall shelf where he was supposed to leave it. I noticed the urine looked a bit dark and asked about his kidney function. They said they only ordered the PSA test and not full blood tests, so they didn’t have that information.

Then I wheeled him to one of the examination rooms. The physician’s assistant tested his urine. She checked his vitals and at my request, also took his blood pressure. His blood pressure was a bit low and she suggested I have the nurse check it again that afternoon. I told her the nurse needed doctor’s orders before she would check the blood pressure!

The physician’s assistant told me she thought he had a UTI from the initial urine test she had run, but would need 2 days to run a culture. She asked who to call if he needs an antibiotic. I said to call his assisted living facility, but also to call me as I need to oversee his care. She said to make an appointment for next year for his next checkup. Apparently if it is a UTI, they expect the antibiotic to work without follow up.

When I took dad back to his ALF, I was already running late for my next appointment. I asked for the papers I should have been given before I took dad to the doctor. They specialist’s office wanted an official list of his current medications. Though I had an unofficial list on my iPad, they asked me to mail the up-to-date list from the ALF. I gave the wellness staff the appointment information and blood test referral for next year and they gave me the list of medications.

After I got home from all my tasks from the day, I sat down with the paperwork I had gotten for dad. Then I noticed it listed the results from the instant urinalysis the physician’s assistant had done. It says he had a large amount of blood in his urine, as well as protein (which I presume is from the blood). I suppose this is consistent with a UTI but it could indicate something else as well.

Three years ago when dad ended up in the hospital it was due to lots of blood in his urine. I think the problem he had at that time has been solved, but at first they thought the symptom was just due to the UTI he had at that time. This time I think we caught the UTI earlier, though just by good luck as we had set up an annual appointment.

I should get a call tomorrow after they check dad’s culture. I guess I am hoping it is positive as that would be easily treatable. Anything else could be a bigger problem. I worry about all sorts of things such as kidney disease, etc. I really don’t want dad to end up hospitalized or to need lots of medical treatments. Finding this UTI now may be the whole solution to his fatigue as well.

I don’t really know what happens next, except I will be checking on dad’s follow up. I want to be sure he doesn’t remain as dizzy as he could fall and break a bone. I called his ALF later in the day and was told he slept most of the day. The aide also said they had called his doctor’s office for “orders to take his blood pressure later that day” and I was glad for that. I suspect dad’s fatigue and dizziness are due to the infection and not “usual” as the nurse seemed to imply in the morning.

In the end, I was frustrated that the nurse didn’t show any more concern for dad than she did. It felt like she wasn’t willing to go out of her way for him. I will follow up with dad’s regular physician once I learn the results of dad’s urine culture.

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