My love affair with the world of medical care runs hot and cold. It’s like a normal relationship between lovers, I suppose.
Experience reminds us that a urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause sudden confusion in older adults with dementia and lead to irrational behavior. This is what happened to my dear bride Betsy two weeks ago. Lingering effects of childhood polio have rendered her unable to walk on her own, but she tried to, three times in the space of two days, and fell each time. The last fall was a doozy. She crashed to the floor of her room in as assisted living facility, knocking over two tables and scattering their contents. Arriving for my daily afternoon visit, I found her flat on her back, moaning.
Paradmedics bundled her up and headed for the trauma center at the major teaching hospital in our university town. I joined her there at 7:45 p.m. Just before dawn the next morning, she was admitted to a patient room, and I drove home as the sun was rising. During that time she endured several tests separated by long periods of waiting in our curtained-off cubicle, with no contact with a medical professional — x-rays, CAT scan, several blood draws.
Summary: fractured fibula in her polio-affected leg, just below the knee, which was swollen and bruised, deep laceration in her scalp, various bruises and scrapes, and that pesky urinary tract infection.
(This is why I haven’t written a new blog post these past several days.)
Following four nights and the better part of five days in the hospital later, she made her way back to her familiar room in the assisted living facility that has been her home since last August. I am so grateful to those who cared for her and for those who continue to. I wish that a 10-hour trauma center visit was not needed. We need to fix this.
I see gradual progress in her healing as I visit her daily. Yesterday she beat me in a lively game of contract rummy. All three of our daughters plan to visit her next weekend.
Things are beginning to look better.