Well, here I am, surrounded by elderly dogs that are filling my life with pee and sadness, and then....remember I told you my mom had a bad day? Well, she's had a few bad days now, and the other night I stayed in her apartment with her because she was truly very agitated. The staff at the assisted living place were sure that she had a urinary tract infection--that can make elderly people kind of "confused"....they did a test, I was told, and it came up positive. I was relieved, because we knew what the problem was and my mom didn't have to go to the hospital. (It seems like every trip to the hospital makes her Alzheimer's worse...)
So....the doctor wanted to culture the sample. The lab sent it back as "contaminated" and so yesterday, on exactly zero hours of sleep, we made a super-rush trip to the doctor at a clinic 30 miles away so that we could get a prescription for an antibiotic. The doctor said she didn't think there was a UTI, but prescribed an antibiotic anyhow....and supposedly did some blood work, too.
It was very confusing, because supposedly we were SURE that was what the problem was. But it wasn't.
I had told my brother what was going on, and he could tell from talking to my mom on the phone that something was very wrong. But he doesn't come up too often, and I wasn't expecting him this time either. (When my mom was in the hospital earlier this year, and then in the nursing home, he never came). (It's not really that my brother doesn't care, but he has 2 kids, so he's very busy with his kids all the time) But this time he came up and was able to see what was going on. Now. My mom has Alzheimer's, but usually you can still hold a conversation with her. It might only be about what she had for supper, or what the weather guy on the news said, but she's usually mostly oriented. That was why her "bad day" the other day worried me. Then yesterday, my mom was getting obsessed with weird things. Especially her right shoe. When she got her shoes a while back, she couldn't tell the right from the left. So I took a Sharpie and wrote a capital "R" on her right shoe and she was very happy with that. But yesterday, while I was home trying to sleep and my brother was waiting for the antibiotic to get rid of the UTI, the "R" on her shoe was all she could talk about and she was looking for it on her Kleenex boxes, and on her walker, and on her jacket and didn't seem to understand that those things weren't her shoes. Very not normal for her.
Then I took over and decided to take Mom for a drive to see if it would calm her down a little. She was still talking about the "R", then she asked me "What are those trees that they're cutting down?" She's been very concerned about an outbreak of the Emerald Ash Borer here in MN, it's a bug that kills Ash trees and a lot of trees are being cut down because they've just discovered it in MN. So I said, "Ash trees". And EVERYTHING became an ASH TREE. Her Kleenex, the toilet paper, her cat, even when we got back to her apartment, she was looking for ASH TREES. And then she went to the bathroom and asked me about her partial dentures. "They're in your mouth", I said. "In my mouth? We'd better take them out, right?" No. And then everything was a partial. And the toilet paper was her partial and she was trying to eat the toilet paper. My mom is usually pretty good doing the bathroom stuff by herself. This was all very very weird and very hard to see. But then, she had to use the bathroom and she suddenly, even though I was telling her what to do, couldn't figure out where or what the toilet was. Both my brother and I got really worried and we brought her in to the E.R.
In the E.R., we learned (from a new test) that my mom did NOT have a UTI. I'm still pretty confused about that one. But her sodium level was very low....120....and I guess it's supposed to be over 136. Her chloride was low, too. And I guess that these numbers can cause the confusion that we were seeing. So, once again, my mom is in the hospital, and she's pretty worried and upset about it. I guess it's not just a matter of eating more salt, it's more complicated than that. So they have to adjust her fluid intake and try to figure out why it happened. I'm relieved that someone else is helping her with this confusion. I'm very patient, but it was getting very hard. But I'm so worried about where she's going to be cognitively, if and when they get this fixed....all I can do right now, I guess is pray and hope that they can take care of this in a couple of days, before she has to relearn all her apartment stuff again....