Medical update – 022310

Pop has developed an illness brought on by a bacterium called “C. diff”.

Clostridium difficile, often called C. difficile or “C. diff,” is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications.

—  from the Mayo Clinic

Pop’s current illness was apparently brought about by the treatment of his previous illness which is now gone.  He has been in bed for over a week, has frequent diarrhea, loss of appetite, and is not drinking fluids.  He is slouched over, looks gaunt, and his hair looks like Albert Einstein’s hairdresser tousled it.  His demeanor is that of someone who’s body is fighting infection; no eye contact, even less conversation than usual.

A few days ago, Mom took up a vigil in Pop’s room, thinking (again) that this was the end.  She even slept in her recliner.  When Pop messed his bed or the floor on the way to the bathroom, she did not push the nurse-call button (“I don’t want to bother them.”) and instead cleaned up the messes herself.  The staff repeatedly told her not to do that fearing that she would become infected, but she persisted.

Then the diagnosis of C. diff came in and Piedmont Place put Pop’s room in quarantine.  Anyone entering the room has to wear a gown and gloves; staff and visitors.  Mom would not comply, so they called me.  I had a gentle chat with her, she seemed to understand, and she has been compliant since.  She wears the gown and gloves, sits in her chair touching it and nothing else, and not going to or using his bathroom.  She can make one or two short visits per day.

The PP Nurse Practitioner and staff Doctor are on the case.  Pop is now being given two antibiotics (literal translation: against life.  In this case the “life” is the infection being fought) and a probiotic to help restore the normal flora in his intestines.  He is now on a “bland” diet.  This course of action should be completed in about ten days.  If successful, the quarantine will then be lifted.

PP medical staff I’ve talked with are confident that they’re doing the right things and I am confident in them.  They believe Pop will recover.

When I visited Pop at about 7:30 last night, he was in the bathroom.  His dinner was still on the tray, untouched.    When he finally came into the room, he acknowledged my existence, sat on the edge of his bed, and proceeded to consume two bowls of oatmeal, two cups of chocolate pudding, and two cups of apple juice.  This is the most he has eaten in probably three weeks.  I’d like to think that it has something to do with my presence.  Or maybe he was just hungry.

Mom is being tested now for C. diff.  Her own bowel problems of late seemed to indicate that she had been infected.  The current thinking is that she is not, but tests will be run to make sure.  She seems otherwise fine, and enjoyed Elizabeth’s and Lisa’s visits over the past several days.

Mom’s second visit with Pop, yesterday, came just before dinner.  When it came time for her to go to the dining room, he asked her to stay.  He wanted her company.

She stayed.


About FredMarx

Old enough to have wisdom; young enough to learn.
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