Medical update – 020310

No doubt you’ll recall my golden words from the first two paragraphs of last November 18’s post:

I took him (Pop) to a scheduled 6-month visit with his urologist on Tuesday. Elevated white cells were found in a urine sample, so the doc examined the bladder.  Since a urinary tract infection was suspected, an antibiotic called Cipro was prescribed and was first administered at 3pm Tuesday. 6 hours later, Pop began to feel ill. He didn’t sleep, threw up several times overnight, couldn’t eat breakfast, became occasionally incoherent and frequently incontinent, and developed a fever.

By the time I got to him (after Mom’s dental appointment), the Piedmont Place nursing staff was already on the case. He was ashen. They called his urologist who called me and ordered Pop to the hospital immediately.

So, the urologist visit developed two things: 1) determining the white cell count, and 2) finding a UTI.

We all know, of course, about the UTI and its consequences back then.  And the elevated white cell count caused the doctors to hang an extra IV bag of medicine which was depleted the next morning.  The result: the white cell count of 10,000 was reduced to about 500; well within normal range.

The question remained, however: why did the white cells skyrocket like that?  The answer could be found by an endocrinologist with whom we had an appointment set for today.  Only the endocrinologist canceled the appointment.  Here’s why.

As it happens, Pop had the very same condition (elevated white cell count) in 2003.  At the time, he was taken to the very same endocrinologist who made the following determination: 1) Pop could undergo a major surgery with high risk and questionable probability of success to correct these rare occurrences; or 2) Pop could live his life and maybe it will never happen again.

Yesterday, the endocrinologist’s staff (which was preparing to receive Pop today) discovered the similarities between the 2003 event and November’s event.  They brought the doctor into the discussion, and he said that the same determination would be made today.  That’s why the appointment was canceled.

In a previous conversation, Pop clearly told me that he wanted to avoid major surgery.  He even mentioned this surgery specifically.  So when the doctor’s staff called me yesterday, I already knew the answer: Pop will just live his life, thank you very much.  I then called Pop to inform him, and more fully told the story when I visited M&P this afternoon.  He was pleased that he wasn’t being forced to endure a surgery he did not want.

Over the weekend, Pop got a couple of very low blood pressure readings in succession.  90 over 40.  He was, at the time, well on the way to full recovery from a slight cold.  Nothing more serious than that.  Mom apparently got the idea that this was the end for Pop and shared her concern with Elizabeth who shared this nugget with Lisa today.

Well it turns out that the BP cuff was defective.  His pressure is fine, the cold is gone, and that’s the end of the story.  No grim reaper today.

Truthfully, I haven’t seen the two of them doing as well at the same time as they are now.  Mom is walking the halls for at least an hour each day, greeting everyone along the way.  Pop tries to keep up with her for 15 – 30 minutes before retiring to his room.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed him distinctly less grouchy (dare I say almost happy?).  They spend their afternoons in his room…peacefully by all accounts.

One issue is on the table, though.  Pop’s knees have been buckling during his walks.  He catches himself before falling.  End of incident.  It’s happened about four times over the past month.  I informed the PP nursing staff about it yesterday and either the nurse practitioner or the doctor will be on the case.  Even Pop understands that an actual fall could be serious with possible broken bones or, even worse, a broken hip.

That’s a lot of words to say, “the folks are doing pretty well.”


About FredMarx

Old enough to have wisdom; young enough to learn.
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