One important lesson I learned while caring for my dear Mother. This is for all caregivers.

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As some of you know, my Mother passed on 12/27/12. But this is not about that, I want to make sure that all "caregivers" on this forum know this as many nurses or Hospice care companies neglect to let caregivers know that oral hygiene is very important.

My Mother wore dentures when she was well; but once she got ill, she hated them and did no longer use them. I pureed her food to make it that much easier to swallow and made sure she drank enough liquids. For some odd reason she got into drinking a lot of juice. And part of her treatment was to inhale solutions like Spiriva, Simbycort and Pro Air. Only after 3 weeks she started getting sores in her mouth, on the sides and under her tongue (Thrush). Because of this, she could no longer eat or even swallow water. It was very hard on her. The hospice doctor came over and gave her antibiotic and some "swish and spit" medicine.

Thrush is a yeast infection, antibiotic creates yeast. Now, don't you think the doctor should have known this. The worse part is that this might have been prevented with a simple suggestion from the nurses/doctor at the very beginning of her sickness. Oral hygiene. Even if she doesn't have dentures or eats very little or drinks and citric juice (like Orange juice); make sure she washes and gurgles after each time she eats and drinks.

This is very important! I don't know if my Mother would not have gone as fast as she did because of this, but I do know that her last week was horrible for her and for her family to see because it is so painful and there's nothing one can do once it starts. So please, make sure you help your loved one by making sure she/he washes and gurgles after any medicine, drink or food intake.

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Thank you Braida. I'm happy to have shared that info. May I also tell you to never forget to give your Mother a hug or a kiss and tell her that you love her. Everyday and every night. We simply don't know how long we will have them in our lives. I'm so sorry about your Aunt and God bless.
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Oops. I accidentally pressed the wrong thing, and I wasn't done. :) Anyway, I will possibly use the swish and spit method too. (I'll look that up for further info about it.) I will no doubt save pain and misery down the road w/ this good info from you, because I don't think the Drs. tell us so many things that they should. So thank you, Hispagirl. And know you are not alone in thinking that you should have done more....but we must realise that we did the best we could at the time. We really did!! Blessings and peace to you!
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Hispagirl, I know exactly what you mean by "hinsight," and the sadness we can experience from not knowing ahead of time. This happened to me in the recent death of my dear Aunt (right before Christmas, as well) and the things I wished I would've known and done. It's such a hard lesson when it's too late to help the ones we loved and cared about so very much. But, we just can't beat ourselves up about it, and dwell on it. (easier said than done.) I wake up in the middle of the night, and start thinking about things. Why didn't I do this? Why didn't I take that action? I could've made things so much better if I had known this or that!!! But I didn't, at the time. It makes me unbelievably sad, too. But the thing is....we did the best we could do at the time. We were THERE for our Mom and Aunt. We showed them love and they knew it. And what we can do now (as you have kindly done w/ your valuable info about thrush) is to let others know about our experience so that it may help them w/ their loved ones. You just helped me so much, as I am caring for my 87 year old Mother, who tells me she has brushed her teeth, but when I check her toothbrush, it is dry. I will make very sure about this dental hygiene now, and use the probiotic, and possibly the
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Thank you all for your comments and thoughts. Take care of yourselves so you can be there for your loved ones. They know how much you do for them. And you are absolutely right, Reverseroles, regarding beating myself up. I do this a lot, I need to simply accept that she's no longer suffering and the decision for her to go was not something because of I did or didn't do, but simply because it was her time. Thank you again for reminding me, I sometimes forget and it breaks my heart. I do miss her smile and her voice, but everything else is within me and I take it everywhere. Have a good weekend all and Bless you all.
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Hispagirl, My mom also is experiencing dementia because of strokes. At least the nursing home is now keeping her on the thrush mouthwash. I'm hoping once she gets through the thrush, not eating and UTI that her dementia will improve a little. She has good days & bad. It is amazing what doctors & nursing homes don't know. Thanks for your thoughts too.
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Hispagirl, thanks for your comments too. You need to stop thinking "what if" or "I shoulda" because you did everything right. Someone above wrote a depressed immune system can cause it and you had no control regardless. I read your profile and you took your Mom home , thats the ultimate sacrafice and you should hold your head up and feel proud! If your Mom was sleeping alot, the end was coming no matter what she had and you were there for her, dont we all want that? Bless you!
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Another tip about thrush. My mom wears partials and some nights just refuses to let me take them out to soak overnight. My dentist says it is very important to take partials and dentures out each night. If not, this will increase the chances of getting thrush.
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Mick, I'm sorry that your Mother is going through this. It is very unpleasant and painful. I truly believe that this contribute a lot to her last few days here because she couldn't eat or drink. One of the Hospice nurses that was here told me that any antibiotic causes yeast and that thrush is a cause of too much yeast. In the case of my Mother, her Hospice doctor said she had a throat infection without really doing any culture so he prescribed an antibiotic which I believe was the cause of more thrush she had to endure. I really can't pin point the reason for the thrush, but what I do know is that Oral Hygiene is extremely important to TRY and prevent thrush. Nothing is a 100% for sure, but I now know that I might have been able to prevent it had I known and this is the only reason why I share my experience. Is your Mother suffering from other ailments as well? My heart goes out to all of you. No matter how prepare one is for a loved ones departure, it is never easy and the grieving process doesn't stop anytime soon. It hasn't even been a month and I miss my Mom so much and I truly want her back. I know, not possible. But I can't stop thinking about her and wishing she was here. Sorry, I went off the track of what I was saying. Please remember oral hygiene. Good luck everyone and God bless.
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I'm sorry about your mother too. I am now so worried about mine.
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I should also say that the ER said the antibiotic she used for a UTI caused it..
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