Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taking Care of Dad, 3 / Judy

We had another bad night, meaning Dad was awake all night "talking," which we can hear from the baby monitor in our room. This happens when he's having a urinary tract infection (UTI). Since September, he's had one every month or so, but this is the second one in January. They say it's because of the catheter that he's more susceptible.

Every time goes through specific stages: 1) he's wakeful and energetic for long periods. He will wake up early in the morning and go to bed late, be awake all day with no naps at all, eager to be doing exercises or go outside or go through his office. Once he was convinced he needed to look for a job. He wants to try to use his walker again. Many times he'll want to watch TV or a movie and once he was all excited about a championship football game, which he watched all through for nearly three hours. He seems more lucid even than usual.

The only thing that lets you know something may be slightly off (besides the job thing) is his complete lack of empathy--he has no idea he's keeping us awake along with him. Since he's such a sensitive, generally kind person, this is unusual. (Side note: everybody who comes in to care for him, from nurses to physical therapists to social workers comments on what a sweet man he is, always so gracious and grateful for whatever they are doing for him.) When we see the beginning of this wakefulness we immediately give him a basic antibiotic, but still he goes on to the next stage before it can take effect.

Stage 2: he starts having hallucinations, both visual and auditory. Evidently this is usual among older people with infections. Once he said there was a man singing so loudly in the living room that it kept him awake. He often asks who all these people are in his room and he has long conversations with individuals or groups "surrounding his bed." This is what happened last night. We would probably ignore it except at the same time he's anxious to get out of bed and will try everything to get around the bed rails we put up at night. Once he slithered all the way down to the bottom of the bed, then right off the end between the rail and the footboard, where we found him on the floor. He was going for a walk and was very surprised when his legs didn't hold him up. During this stage we can hear him talking all night long, like last night, so we know he's not getting any sleep.  And we know we have to check on him frequently. We give him a medication for agitation and insomnia, but it doesn't seem to do much good.

Stage 3: I don't know if the antibiotic is starting to work at this point or if he's just worn out, but after a day or two of hallucinations and agitation, he sleeps deeply for long hours. Once it lasted 24 hours and he was completely unresponsive, meaning we couldn't wake him up. It was more like a coma than a sleep. Then after 24 hours, he woke up and said he was hungry, which also happens no matter how long he sleeps.

Last Tuesday, when the first symptoms appeared, the doctor ordered a urine sample. Yesterday (3 days later), it came back positive for an infection, now we're waiting to hear which antibiotic will specifically target this particular bug. Since the broad-based antibiotic we've been giving him since Tuesday doesn't seem to be doing much good, I'm anxious to start him on something that will.

Thank goodness today is Saturday so there was no Seminary this morning and also Lloyd has the day off. Maybe we can spell each other with naps today.


  1. We agree with President Uchtdorf, that "it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions." Judy and I are learning to live right now without undo thought about what might have been or what could be. In the process of attending to Glenn, we eat together, spell each other getting sleep, enjoy listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and reading, and we pray together. Judy prepares and teaches seminary and I go to work. As we enjoyed having our children at the time, we appreciate that in this moment we're walking on sacred ground with Glenn. Lloyd

  2. i missed you at stake conference last night. it sounds like things have been hard with grandpa again. i hope that you are all able to recover some before the work week starts back up.


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