My loved one with dementia struggles daily with the affects of dementia, add a urinary tract infection and the results are amplified.
But the impact of an UTI on my loved one is very cunning. It does not manifest itself overnight rather slowly creeps in. It can go unnoticed for days even weeks. She does not have the typical UTI symptom. Most of the day she is very pleasant and may tire easily. Patience (what is left of her patience) is slowly depleted. Agitation increases.
She does not know she is sick but she feels different. Her brain does not function like those without dementia. Her agitation and impatience eventually morphs into anger over something usually quite harmless. For my loved one, her bed was made improperly and her reactions and demands were loud and no one could accommodate her.
As a caregiver I have learned that these events occur a UTI is likely in need of treatment. Early in her diagnosis, she had numerous of the UTI events and we were finally able to associated specific behaviors with a UTI. Treatment eliminated the UTI and mitigated the behaviors. It occurred frequently so a urologist was consulted. Eventually a low dose long course antibiotic was prescribed and the UTIs and behaviors were gone.
Subsequent follow up appointments lead to the removal of the antibiotic to avoid the long term effects of the treatment. Life went on. I was lulled into a sense of security that the problem was resolved once and for all.
Slowly over a period of time my loved one’s agitation has increased. She does not live with me, rather in assisted living making it difficult to see the subtle changes. I sensed something was wrong but could not substantiate it. The tone of her texts started to concern me. I contributed it to her sundowning and made a note to discuss on her next psychiatry appointment. She was more tired. I attributed it to her restarting adult day health programming after months of Covid19 sheltering.
Yesterday I received a call from staff at the assisted living describing an incident that was concerning. Her agitation was very high and redirecting techniques were not working. I was asked about the UTI possibility. Yes, it made sense.
It has been more than a year since the last event. Staff changes at the assisted living facility changed thus they had not experience the prior events. I had forgotten the subtle signs. Or maybe I had hoped they were gone for good.
I am writing this the next morning after my phone call from the staff. Waiting for the urologist office to open up so I can arrange the test. I am grateful I can arrange my schedule to accommodate it. I am hoping that I am correct and she has a UTI. If not, then the progression of her dementia has increased.
I am jumping to conclusions and fortune telling. I need to wait. I envy my loved one. She is using this time and went back to bed. She has no worries this morning. She thinks she is going for planned lab work, a little fib-let I told. She will likely not remember the events of yesterday or at least not the agitation it caused. Me, on the other hand, I am worried. I am going to try and stay focused on the positive outcome.
Strange to say, “I hope it is a UTI”.
HartFelt wishes that you listen to that little voice in your head, it maybe onto something