The bad news -- Dotty has a urinary tract infection (UTI). The good news it is only the second one this year. This compares to five times or more in the years before I learned how to spot the dreaded urinary infection.
Like most Alzheimer's patients, Dotty cannot tell me when she has a urinary tract infection.
We believe the reason that Dotty can't tell us is because she gets a type of urinary tract infection that doesn't hurt or cause pain. It is also possible that there is pain but that Dotty doesn't feel pain. Point. She can't tell us.
The bad news -- if not for the weekend or my hesitation we might have gotten this taken care of on Monday instead of Tuesday.
The good news -- I did see the signs almost immediately and we took action.
On Saturday, Dotty started to get that glazed look in her eyes. The kind of look some people get when they have a fever. I did take her temperature and it was bit on the high side. On Sunday morning she seemed fine and her temperature was down. By Sunday night she was acting sick and her temperature was a bit high. I thought looks like the doctor tomorrow.
On Monday morning Dotty was fine. No temperature and in a good mood.
And then it happened, I P Daily turned into the Yellow River. Even though we were on our usual pee schedule, every two hours, Dotty was peeing all over the place. You read that right. It did remind me of the days of old. Back when I knew next to nothing about urinary incontinence and the dreaded urinary tract infection.
If was obvious to me by 3 in the afternoon that for the first time since January, Dotty had the dreaded urinary track infection. It should have come as no surprise, I had started bragging about how thanks to our good work together Dotty was no longer getting urinary track infections. No wonder they say silence is golden.
So yesterday around 3 I call the Doctors' office and tell them I have to come in, but that I also want to schedule a blood work up along with the urinary tract infection test. This requires going to two separate locations. I know from experience that it is more effective to schedule both back to back. Fortunately, I was able to schedule the office visit and blood test back to back.
We go in the doctors' office and they give me the cup. I whip out my pee collector which always brings a laugh and a smile from the nurse and staff. Away Dotty and I go to collect some urine.
I attach the pee collector to the toilet and explain to Dotty what is going on and tell her to fire away. After five minutes Dotty tells me, I can't fire away. I go OK. We will go to game plan two.
Meanwhile she stands up and walla, there is the pee in the pee collector. We are good to go for the test. Sure enough -- urinary tract infection confirmed.
Doctor decided we need Macrobid. I favor this drug over Cipro.
Doc also decides to give Dotty a Penicillin shot. Fine by me. We could be fighting rolling urinary tract infections here. Sometime these urinary tract infections come in waves. At least that has been our experience.
So I think, one, two, three, four, I declare a pee pee war. Shoot that Penicillin in Doc.
Here is the real good news. You can learn to spot these urinary tract infections. In fact, if you are an Alzheimer's caregiver, it is up to you to spot them. From what I know and understand, few Alzheimer's patients can tell you they have a urinary tract infection as they advance.
Now for a few tips.
Get in the habit of taking the temperature of your Alzheimer's patient. Establish their baseline temperature. Older people rarely have the so called standard baseline of 98.6 degrees. Dotty is at 97.6.
When a person gets a urinary tract infection their temperature does not have to rise to the level of a full blown fever -- not at first anyway. My uh oh level for Dotty is 98.2 degrees. Uh oh means time to worry. At 98.4 degrees the answer is always the same so far -- one, two, three, four, I declare a pee war.
When my mother gets a urinary tract infection she starts peeing all over the place. I mean all over the place. Ever step in any pee pee? If you ever step in pee pee I can only say two things.
Next, get to the doctor for the urine test. Do not hesitate. Do not second guess yourself. Do not pray for a miracle. Get the test.
Do you know what happens if you don't get the test -- put it off? You end up with a filthy, nasty, urinary tract infection, possible monster fever, or monster bad behavior, that sends you to the hospital or worse -- the emergency room. Do you enjoy those trips to the emergency room? I didn't think so.
Don't get lazy like me. For a year or so, I was collecting my mothers' pee in a sterile cup and taking it with me to the doctors' office every month. We go once a month. I was getting it tested. Then I got lazy. I ran out of sterile cups so I let it go. Guess what happened?
Pee Pee War.
Get a pee collector. Trust me, one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. Get some sterile cups. Take the pee with you to every doctor visit. If you get nervous or if your pee pee radar goes off -- collect up some pee and head right over to the doctors' office and ask them to test it for you.
Now for my insight and advice.
You can defeat urinary incontinence and you can defeat urinary tract infections. I know because I did both.
You must declare war and you must look the enemy right in the eye.
Hey, you got something better to do? Get on the stick.
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,880 articles with more than 95,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.