Wednesday, March 05, 2014
After being with Mom every day for the past month, spending all day Monday and Tuesday mornings in the hospital with her and helping her out, the verdict finally came in. C-Diff: a highly contagious illness that older people tend to get after taking antibiotics for a period of time and/or being in a hospital or nursing facility.
Mom got a chemical burn on her hands in November and was on two rounds of antibiotics. She had chest pains December 28 and was admitted to the hospital. She had a bout of diarrhea then, C-Diff was suspected, and she was put on more antibiotics. Stool was tested and we were told the test came back negative.
Come to find out, the test is at best 60% accurate. Once someone has C-Diff, it increases the chances of a recurrence. A follow-up test is supposed to be recommended. Mom was given three new medicines when released on New Year's Day. All three had side effects of diarrhea.
I took Mom in to her usual doctor a week ago Monday. The doctor kinda fluffed off my concerns about the diarrhea. She's older, she may have IBS, her diet probably changed. Oh, she lost how much weight the past month? We'll re-test her thyroid (she has hypothyroidism).
By the time I got Mom to the doctor she had gone to for years on Monday, she was so weak that she couldn't even stand for the nurse to weigh her. She's so dehydrated that the electrolytes and potassium were depleted. Her blood thinner had to be stopped: the reading should be between 2-3 and hers was at 10. Her kidney function was down 30-40%.
She was started again on antibiotics yesterday afternoon. The nurses then told us how contagious it is and that we were supposed to have gowns, gloves and masks on around her. We were told to change all our clothes ASAP and wash them.
So, I spent time when I got home washing clothes, changing my bed, cleaning my house. I am up early to go to Mom's with gloves to start on her house. I did stop at the store and get garbage bags, disinfectant, bleach, new garbage cans, a new shower curtain, etc. I knew I had wanted to clean her house really well for her. I didn't know that it would be sooner rather than later; all at once as opposed to as I could get to it.
The story of my life continues...my schedule is again determined by others. This time, I couldn't even think about that I could say no. I am SO disappointed in the health system. I am one that investigates and understands medical jargon. It was something I learned because it was part of the program when I went to junior college about 12 years ago. Why do doctors not take the time with patients? Why do they not listen to family members who actually keep track of everything and have a folder of medicines and conditions on their relatives? The thought of trying to make the doctor accountable for her lack of actions has crossed my mind, and I'm usually a laid-back person who doesn't like to rock the boat. It's just that Mom has suffered so much since November. No one likes to see a loved one suffer.