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    • CommentAuthorJan K
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2017
    It's well known among dementia caregivers that if there is a sudden physical downturn in the condition of our spouses--or in any other elderly person, for that matter--or if there are sudden emotional or behavioral changes, that the first thing you check is whether they have developed a UTI. But for some reason, I had given no thought to the fact that I was one of those elderly people now, and the idea of me having one had never crossed my mind. That is, until I landed in the hospital because of one, and also for being dehydrated. (There is a whole other story involved here in having a husband waiting for you at home, and being too sick to get back to him.)

    In retrospect, I can't believe that I didn't pick up on it, but my attention is always focused on my husband's condition, and not my own. Also, I was a pretty sick old lady, and wasn't really thinking all that clearly. I didn't have any of the symptoms I remembered from having other UTIs, but just kept feeling more exhausted and overwhelmed and ill. Over the years, I've gotten so used to feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and ill that this just seemed like a natural progression.

    Having just reread that last sentence, it sounds like I must be really dumb to feel that bad and not think something major is wrong. But haven't we all had moments (or days, or weeks) where we felt ready to drop, and thought that all of it was just from caregiving? Well, in my own defense, my family doctor didn't think of it, either. It wasn't until I got to the emergency room that somebody checked for it.

    If I had a caregiver, instead of being one, I think Adult Protective Services would have gone after that caregiver for senior neglect because they didn't get me to the emergency room sooner. But I guess they can't arrest me for my own senior neglect.

    I feel like hanging a big sign on the bathroom mirror that says, "Are you sure you're not sick?" Maybe it would be a much-needed reminder that things can happen to caregivers, too.
    • CommentAuthorLindylou*
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2017
    Oh Jan K. Feel better soon, and may all be well on the home front.

    Hanging a note on the mirror to the effect of 'How are you feeling today? And if you're not well, what are you going to do about it today?' is a good idea. I have notes everywhere, hand bag, refrigerator, car, telling people how to take care of my partner if something happens to me. But I too have never thought about doing what I need to do to avoid becoming sick in the first place.
    • CommentAuthorRSA*
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2017
    Good luck, Jan K. I just visited the neurologist with my wife yesterday, and she told me that dehydration can be a contributing factor in a UTI. So lots of liquids!
    • CommentAuthorBev*
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2017
    I get the order every day from my kids: Are you drinking enough. Do you have enough bottles in your room? Are you sure you're drinking enough water? Stay hydrated! I reminded my husband all the time but I don't always watch out for myself. I saw a worker at the hospital who always carried a water bottle that had measurements on the outside and had a straw. When she finished it she knew she had had enough water for the day and was a stickler for maki g sure she drank enough. Recently my own daughter had a UTI and was told she was not hydrated enough. So, as RSA says: lots of liquids!
    I just mentally keep track of the cups of fluid I have every day. Morning coffee, 11am tea, milk at lunch, 3:30 pm tea, milk at supper, one glass of water after supper . That is too much caffeine and only 6 cups of fluid daily (supposed to be eight cups)--but I've learned over the years that that is what works for me.

    My point is that you need to be cognizant of how much you are drinking, to make sure you get enough fluids--whatever your method may be for remembering. Generally the advice is eight-8oz. cups of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic fluids. One thing I saw in my years as a nurse was that people who had any issues with urinary frequency or incontinence (very, very common--people just don't admit it)...would try to manage or control this by not drinking enough. Bad idea. I would say to wear a pad or shield if you need to--or stay close to your bathroom--but drink your fluids.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2017
    I doubt I've drunk ten glasses of water a year over the last 20 years. I have drunk strong coffee morning till night for all that time and much longer. Sometimes some orange juice and sometimes a ginger ale for an ice cream float. I easily get my eight 8oz cups of water that way especially when you add in that many foods contain water such as vegetables and fruits.

    I look for clear lemon yellow. I glance most times to monitor what's coming out of me. I eat once a day, usually after six somewhere unless I'm with friends.

    That's unhealthy the pundits say, except I'm the same weight I was thirty years ago and I haven't gone to a doctor in twelve years. I haven't even had a cold in that time.

    For me the secret of fluid intake health is to watch for clear lemon yellow. Orange tones mean I'm not getting enough liquid. Pale yellow means I'm processing more liquid than I need. If it's not clear lemon yellow the vast majority of the time, then I'm not in balance with my body. If it is, I don't worry about my fluid intake habits. By monitoring my own body, I know and don't have to guess.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2017
    To add to the interesting comments, my family doctor says, "Drink when you're thirsty; you don't need x number of glasses of fluid a day."
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2017
    Much of the thinking today is that any fluids will do, even eating food that is high in liquid (mostly fruits and veggies). It doesn't have to be water for most people, just fluids any way a person will drink it. I have a friend who will not - had two episodes in the last year. Both times her dehydration showed up as thinking she was having a heart attack. Her heart was fine, her vascular system just didn't have enough blood - otherwise her blood was too thick.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2017 edited
    A lot of animals get their hydration from eating prey. This is true of cats in the wild. Cats evolved as desert animals in the savannahs of Africa. They are like camels in that they don't need a lot of water. They have a very concentrated form of urine, which is why it smells so bad. Cats also have an instinct to look for water in unexpected places, like dew on a leaf. That's why a house cat will ignore its water dish but drink out of a water glass on your bedside table. Because of their low level of hydration, many house cats die of kidney failure. For that reason, I have always added a little bit of water to my cats' wet food.
    This discussion is all wet.

    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2017 edited
    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaahaha. Why does everything seem funny when the discussion veers off to the subject of cats?

    But seriously, dehydration is an important subject. Since mary75 posted about drinking water when you wake up, I've been doing that and even though I do not feel thirsty then, I feel better and more awake after a glass of water. Once I got so upset about something (this was when I was waiting to hear the results of the genome test on my cancer) that I became unable to eat or drink anything. The doctor said I was dehydrated and he made me go to the ER so I could be put on an IV.
    Some odd facts,

    Cats drink more water when the water dish is not located next to the food dish. I have never had a problem with my cats drinking enough water, our water dish is by itself in the kitchen on the floor for both dogs and cats and cat food was up on the side table.

    Also when we think we are hungry, we most likely are really thirsty. Try drinking some water first and see if the hunger goes away.

    : )
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2017
    When I put water in the tray for my African Violet, my dog Jas will push it over to drink the water. Make sure I never add fertilizer to the water when I know she will be thirsty!!

    Got to love our animals!
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2017 edited
    I have also found that to be true, Blue. For some reason known only to our animals, food and water must be kept apart.
    And as far as our water intake goes it is 44 C (112 F) here today and I have drunk so much water that I couldn't possibly fit any food in so you are right there too!
    Jasmine sounds like a lovely dog, Charlotte. Hope that she is helping you through these sad times.