Last week, while assisting my mother in the bathroom, I was nearly rendered unconscious by a pernicious odor wafting from her wet diaper. My instant concern was infection. Alzheimer’s Disease and infection do not marry well; infection magnifies it's symptoms. Because the evidence was in the diaper, my first thought was her urinary tract.
My mother’s doctor saw her immediately for blood and urine samples. The quick test showed she was UTI free. However, her urine was dark and cloudy. We’d wait for the blood work results for additional information. When those tests came back, we discovered my mother was slightly dehydrated and her kidney functions were off, most likely to due to it.
The remedy? Get fluids into her quick and keep her on a consistent intake of water.
My mother doesn’t like to drink water. In fact, she doesn’t like to drink much of anything.
The first day, though, she was a fairly well-behaved patient. She understood the significance of dehydration and knew something was amiss as she was experiencing the same swelling bouquet I did with every potty break. Surprisingly, six glasses within 24 hours really cleared things out and the next morning, Mom was odor free. With it went her cooperation to drink.
”You’re drowning me! Who drinks this much water? My belly won’t hold anymore!”
It’s been five days now. Five torturous days.
The first two I used bribery. Mom got to watch one of her favorite TV shows for each glass of water she drank. No empty glass? No Jon and Kate and their 8 children to delight her.
When that wore thin, I started with the tough talk.
“There is no option here, Ma.”
“It won’t go down!”
“Drink it now old woman.”
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”
“They want you to drink too.”
That got two more days out of her.
Today, we are reduced to song and dance…literally. Dan said we had to make it fun for her, give her a pleasant impetus. So we came up with a little melody. “A sip you take with every break,” which we sing at every commercial with a clap of our hands and a stomp of our feet.
The levels we have stooped to....
But it is working, for now.