Earlier this week she had pain and swelling in her left wrist–went round and round with Aetna re in-house x-rays. Nothing broken, “arthritis.”
It’s 6 a.m. and she is on her way to the hospital. Her temperature is 101 and she has rattling in her right lung. They suspect heart failure, which causes swelling in the extremities.
Of course, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure fifteen or more years ago, but this sounds serious. I’ll go over there in a few minutes and update later.
4 p.m. They had her on IV antibiotics when I arrived. She has fluid in both lungs, a urinary tract infection, her blood pressure was 180/113, and her poor left wrist swollen three times normal, angry red, and exquisitely painful. Her right forearm and wrist were also alarmingly red, but not swollen.
I stayed with her until she was admitted five hours later. She responded well to the antibiotics in that her blood pressure slowly dropped to 135/66, far less scary, and her right arm looked better. The emergency room doctor though the left wrist swelling was gout, though he says that usually shows in the feet and ankles. I’ll go back this evening and see what they have determined.
This evening she hadn’t eaten much supper, but was comfortable and resting. Her fever was still high. She hadn’t seen a doctor since this morning. I left word I want to know the doctor’s opinion of the swollen wrist and will go back tomorrow late afternoon.
Saturday evening: Her left wrist/hand are not as swollen–still hot and painful, but no longer look like one of those long balloons. The doctor thinks “celluitis,” which in the elderly can happen from a bump, bruise, or cut. The fact that she had two nasty bruises on her left elbow may have contributed. The UTI was probably what tipped the scale, causing a systemic infection that showed up with fluid in her lungs and that awful swelling.
She is eating fairly well and doesn’t seem to be in too much discomfort, though her cough is still worrisome. She’s right across the hall from a nurses’ substation, put there deliberately, I am sure. I really like the people taking care of her today. Someone from food service called me (at my request) and let me make up menus for her for several days. I know what she likes, but if you ask her to choose, she really can’t.
I was chatting with the charge nurse, who is a dog lover. I said something about how much Mother would enjoy it if I could smuggle the dogs in tomorrow when I come. She said, “If I don’t see it, it didn’t happen. I just won’t see you come in, okay?”
How nice! she’ll love it.