A ‘side effect’ of Multiple Sclerosis can be a myriad of urinary tract infections. If left unfound for even a day or two, these infections can turn ugly very quickly. In the old and infirm any nurse (do not translate doctor, only nurse) can tell you that a UTI can make the patient seem crazy, terroristic, and downright demented. Once the infection is under control, your loved one returns as if they were on an amnesiac’s vacation.
Caregivers who experience this more than once are always prepared and at the first hint of trouble, we get a urine sample, a doctor’s appointment, an antibiotic, or whatever it takes to stave off the impending doom.
And………………you make sure, as a caregiver, that no one steps on your toes, whilst trying to prevent a UTI.
After spending three consecutive Friday nights in the ER due to UTI infection, even my brother-in-law doesn’t allow any shenanigans when it comes to prevention. The one thing that can cause a UTI faster than you can say ‘UTI’ is a Foley catheter. This is an internal catheter, not to be confused with a Texas catheter which is the big ol’ nice name for a condom catheter. Oh, those Texans, anything big and manly belongs to them.
One fine Wednesday night, my brother-in-law spikes a blood sugar that Willy Wonka would be proud of and must high tail it back to the hospital. This spike, sure enough, signifies an infection. His white count is higher than Mount Everest and his behavior is actually still normal. Yay….we caught it in time.
Hooked up to IV antibiotics, treated for a few other annoying maladies, and complaining about hospital food tells me that recovery is just around the corner, with one tiny (or he would have you believe extra-large) exception. They don’t have his size catheter in the hospital. Really. They don’t have his size catheter in the hospital. Because every single man in the entire tri-county area is one size fits all. And girls, you thought size mattered.
I make a hasty trip to my brother-in-law’s apartment to snatch from his personal Texas catheter supply. As we entered his hospital room, my husband said to my brother-in-law:
“No worries, man, we have brought the ‘hombre grande’ catheters you ordered.”
And even though I can believe almost anything any more, three days later, I had a suspicion and grabbed a fresh supply of catheters to take to him. I eavesdrop through his hospital door as they are changing his sheets.
“You aren’t using my catheters,” said my brother-in-law, “these don’t fit.”
“Yes we are,” said the aide,” I think the nurse is getting a Foley catheter, so we don’t have to change the sheets so much.”
“No, no, no.” I heard him say. “I have UTI’s and a Foley is not for me.”
I burst through the door, like Cathwoman :
“I bring the correct catheters!” Sort of Shakesperean and Marvel comics at the same time. “There will be no Foleys, these are the ones that fit.”
As she leaves the room, with a weird expression on her face, I checked the supply of his private catheters in his room. Nope, they have replaced them all with the wrong size.
You have to be on guard….and…………..
“You just have to Laugh……………..”