Monday, August 20, 2007

Puzzling Over Her Symptoms

I returned from being gone for almost two weeks to find my mother with a new set of symptoms but otherwise okay, just a little weaker and more confused.

She knew that Marie had visited her, but she confused her with Emily, my sister.

"How are you feeling?" I asked.

"My bottom hurts. I have a bladder infection," she answered.

I had made 6-8 phone calls earlier in the day to set up an appointment with a nurse for a catheterization, just on Marie's report of two days earlier, so I could answer Mom with, "Would you like to go to the doctor to check on it?"

"No," was her answer, but we went anyway. We have a regularly scheduled appointment with the doctor for next week, so whether positive or negative, this urine culture will provide information.

We accomplished it, with much pain and stress for Mom. I had taken her to the toilet just before the catheterization, but she hadn't urinated, as usual. Furthermore, her Depend was completely dry. The procedure, however, released 600 cc's of urine, so her bladder was full.

The puzzle is: why can't she urinate easily?

Her caregivers at Sunrise reported that she may be constipated.

Or is the problem an obstruction in the ureter?

I don't know... I will ask her caregivers to chart all bowel movements and major soaking of her Depend. Perhaps with a week of careful observation we can figure it out at the coming visit to the doctor.

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