Aug 26, 2011

Dotty Dotty Dotty

How do you think you would be feeling if you were walking around with an E Coli virus percolating away inside you. I bet you would be meaner than a junkyard dog, and spending a lot of time in bed.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Pee Collector
All I can say is Dotty, Dotty, Dotty.

A couple of weeks ago it looked like Dotty was really starting to go down hill. In typical fashion I start thinking, this is the beginning of the end. Why wouldn't I?

Dotty is 95 years old.

There were a series of events surrounding this.

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To start, we had our regular monthly doctor appointment. I usually take a urine sample with me to the doctor's office. That is Dotty's urine by the way. But not this time.

Why didn't you take the pee sample with you, you might be thinking.

Well, I intended to "kill two birds with one stone". As soon as we were done at the Doc's office, we were going next door to get a blood test and urine analysis. I could arrange this by getting the first Doctor's appointment in the morning. This way Dotty is still "fasting" for the blood test, etc.

A day goes by and I get a call from the Doc's office. Dotty's pee sample looks suspicious, and they want another pee sample. I ask, didn't they culture the first one? Answer No. I am tempted to ask, "why the hell not". But instead I just say okay.

Here is something I learned a long time ago, you cannot change the past, you can change the future. So why waste time discussing "why not" and the past.

It was late in the day, so I can't get the sample to the doctor's office until the next day.. The next day is Friday. Its also August. This means we are going to go about 4 days before we get the verdict on the urinary tract infection.

By the way, suspicious actually means that Dotty has something going on, but nothing is showing up in the blood tests.

Now here is the thing. I watch and check Dotty like a hawk. Normally I can spot a urinary tract infection from a mile away. But, this time around Dotty has none of the typical symptoms of the UTI. The yellow river is not running all over the place, I am not using the washing machine daily, and Dotty has no fever.

So anyway, before we get the results of the second urine analysis Dotty starts going down hill. We don't have the yellow river, but we have something going on with the barely wet pee pee panties.

New New thing. Dotty has been getting tremors in her hands from time to time for a while now. But, never in her legs. This time around they are every where.

Plus, Dotty's feet are stuck. At times she can't pick them up and walk. Plus, she can barely walk. Plus, she is out of it and weak.

So I get worried.

Finally I get the call from the Doc's office. Urinary tract infection. This time around she prescribes Bactrim. First time on this drug for us. So I have to do some homework. Wozo edwards, this is some pretty serious stuff with a boat load of possible side effects.

I go get the medication. Horse pill. The size of the pill usually tells you its a monster.

Dotty gets the medication and I think to myself after two days, she doesn't have a UTI now. But, she is still shaking from time to time,and she is kinda out of it.

Finally we finish the medication. Dotty is seeming somewhat better.

And then it happens. Dotty is up on her own. She is washing some dishes (Dotty washes dishes with water only). She is starting to rummage around. Then it dawns on me. We are getting a lot of stimulation for Dotty. Social stimulation. Interaction.

Dotty is more perky. She is actually moving around in here on her own. First time in at least two weeks.

Okay. Advice and insight.

First and foremost, I continue to believe that sometimes when dementia patients mean and nasty, or dull and not there, it is because they have an infection. Most likely a silent urinary tract infection.

People tell me they only go to the doctor every three months, or so. Say what? It is my belief that you should go once a month. And take that pee with you. Get a B12 shot every month while you are there.

We go to the doctor every month. Well, actually we go a lot more than once a month. 18 times this year so far. But, we never go less than once a month.

Alzheimer's patients cannot tell you when something is wrong. On the other hand, they can act crazy, nasty, and very dull. How do you think you would be feeling if you were walking around with an E Coli virus percolating away inside you. I bet you would be meaner than a junkyard dog, and spending a lot of time in bed.

Dotty Dotty Dotty. What can I say, still going.

This what E Coli looks like.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,910 articles with more than 652,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room