Thursday, November 4, 2010

My mom has a UTI.

I’m a little upset here and I don’t know how upset I really should be. At 6am yesterday I called the nursing home to find out how my mom did overnight. "Oh, she slept really well…" "Still waiting on the UA results, though" Ok.

Then at 4pm I called again, and was told that they still didn’t have the results, but that my mom ate lunch and went to her exercise class, so they thought she was ok.

At 7pm, I got to the nursing home, and my mom was crying and telling me about how her two sisters (she actually has only ever had one, and that one passed on a long time ago) were trying to kill her and knocked her out because they don’t want her to be prettier than them. One of the sisters was hiding and waiting to kill me, DH and a host of other family members. She told me that one of the "helpers" had to call the police and they took the sister away and locked her up and now she won’t ever get out.

I went to talk to the nurse, who told me that although she hadn’t sat down to talk with my mom, she "seemed fine". I repeated what my mom was saying and all of a sudden she got alarmed and went to find the nurse practitioner, who, amazingly, was still at work (at 8pm!) The NP (who knows me and likes me (and my mom)) went with me to talk with my mom and got the same story about the sisters…..and she was alarmed. So she ordered the nurse to call the hospital asap to get the test results.

Sure enough, it’s a UTI. The NP wrote orders up, so they were going to start treating it right away. Thank goodness. Although UTI’s in elderly folks can be deadly sometimes, they’re still mostly curable. That’s a relief.

I’m concerned, though, about the times I was told that she is/was "fine" or "seems ok". I know nurses and aides in nursing homes are way overworked and don’t have nearly enough time to spend with the patients, but it seems to me (and I’m trying hard to just see this from "any person"’s standpoint and not the standpoint of "my mom is sick") that if a patient was noticeably confused on Tuesday, that on Wednesday everyone should be alerted to that and keep an eye out to see what’s going on. But again, this is the only nursing home experience I’ve ever had, so I just don’t know if I’m being unreasonable. I know that staff changes frequently and people call in/trade shifts at the last minute….but it seems to me like there might need to be better communication.

Also, though, I don’t want to "rock the boat" and become a pain-in-the-you-know-what to the aides and nurses—I like them all and I know that they like my mom, too, and I don’t want even the most subtle of retaliation(s).

Anyhow….I’m still deciding who I’m going to ask about that…and I’m glad I was able to be there and advocate for my mom—if I hadn’t been there, she might’ve had to wait an entire extra day for treatment (because medicines are delivered at night).

If you have had any similar nursing home experiences, please share--it might help me know how upset I can justifiably be.

Cross your fingers that the problem resolves itself quickly!


Reighnie said...

I'm not a nurse, I'm a caregiver and because of my husband's condition I know about UTI's in the disabled and elderly, if your mom is unable to articulate that she has a problem, you really don't know how long she has had it and UTI's are deadly. They can go septic and in case you don't know what that means it can go into the bloodstream and kill. I'm not trying to scare you but a UTI almost killed Hubbins when we first moved here because we were on a waiting list to see a urologist.

I would be pissed if that were my family member. I am pissed just reading it right now.

I used to be worried about upsetting people but I got over it quick because I realized what it boils down to is this: either I don't upset people I don't even *really* know, or I lose my husband, the person I love.... you know?

If they are worth anything, they shouldn't take offense but should really listen to your fears. That's what a real nurse does.

Miz Kizzle said...

You have a good relationship with the nurse practitioner so that will work in your favor. Can you sit down with her and go over what is (and isn't) normal behavior for your mom? If they know she's prone to UTIs and that affect her thinking then they'll know what to look for. Maybe they can spend a few extra minutes every day asking her questions like "How's your family?" and "Have you had any visitors today?" Then, if she starts talking irrationally they'll know something's wrong.
She may not have said anything about the imaginary sister's murder plans to the staff. It could be that some female patient wandered into her room and said something to her that seemed threatening. Who knows?
My father used to visit one of his former grade school teachers when she was living in a retirement community. This lady was able to care for herself very well at eighty-something but one day, during one of his visits, my father said she totally freaked him out by announcing that a man came into her bedroom every night and stood there looking at her.
Dad said she seemed totally believable, to the point that he offered to sleep on her couch that night so he could confront the man and find out what was going on. Of course no man appeared and eventually the lady had to more to a nursing home. Dementia is a strange thing;for some people it's a gradual process and for others it comes on frighteningly quickly. One thing is sure: reasoning with the person doesn't work; they just get more adamant that yes, alligators DO live under the bathroom sink. Or whatever.
I'm sorry you're going through this. Too bad your siblings can't help shoulder more of the day-to-day care.