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My mother has her 3rd UTI in 6 mos. The first two landed her in the hospital and she was septic the first time. The signs are very subtle - lethargy, loss of appetite, chills. Her doctor came yesterday (she makes house calls for seniors) and all my mom's vital signs were fine. But she believed me when I said her vitals were fine last time, until she got to the hospital and then they were alarming. Doc prescribed a broad-spectrum antibiotic and my mom took the second dose today. So far I don't think she feels much better. The last two times there was a "sign" that we had to call 911 - i.e. she had a dreadful episode of diarrhea and vomited. There hasn't been anything dramatic this time - yet. The last thing I want to do is call 911 again, especially when the oral antibiotics might kick in soon. It is so traumatic for her and for me to deal with the ER, ambulance, etc. So I don't know what to do. I'm terrified of another sepsis episode. I guess I will ask the doc to order a blood test, but that takes a few days to get back.


(FYI, the cause of her repeated infections is a large kidney stone. Docs are not confident surgery for that is good idea due to her fragile health.)

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Xina; we had great success with my mom using a probiotic called RePhresh. It was recommended by mom's gyn. Not sure if it will help, given that huge stone, but I think at this point, ANYTHING is worth a shot!
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Looked up AZO products. These are only for the discomfort of urinary infections, not a cure. My Mom was put on cranberry tablets this time last year after a UTI. At that time they catherized her and removed any urine left in her bladder. Then the antibiotics and because of them she was put on a probiotic.
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It is very, very difficult to prevent UTIs in women who are already sick or frail. The skin thins. In women, the urethra is very short and the vagina is very close to the bowel tract. Add thinning skin to the mix - or dry skin due to drying up of the mucosa - and you surely can see how difficult it can be to prevent a UTI.

I don't know what her underlying conditions are but you are fighting an uphill battle due to aging and, perhaps, medications that are killing her natural flora. Do you have a gynecologist for your mother? Not an OB/GYN - they focus on women of reproductive age - but rather a geriatrician or a gynecologist. You also may want to see a registered dietician.
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Xina, I've more or less skimmed through all the answers so I apologize if I'm suggesting someone already raised by someone else. But have you tried cranberry juice to prevent the UTIs?
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I am so sorry you have to go through this with your mom. Just know that whatever happens, you've done the very best you could. It's clearly a difficult decision for all involved and there are no easy solutions. Your mom is very lucky to have such a strong advocate in her corner.
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Thanks for asking, Barb. She's doing OK, eating well, no signs of a UTI at the moment. I don't know if you read my previous post of meeting w/the kidney stone surgeon, but for now I've decided to postpone the surgery. He won't do it until she sees (another) cardiologist and he said "I know a high-risk patient when I see one," so it feels too scary right now.
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Xina, how is your mom?
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bump
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OK, well I just got a call from the surgeon's office saying that the EKG they did on Friday was abnormal, so they want my mom to see a cardiologist for a second opinion before they proceed with surgery. I think it's highly unlikely that more tests will reveal that her heart is up to this, don't you. She was cleared by a cardio in the hospital on 9/17, but apparently that is no longer valid.

At least this would take surgery off the table (pun!) and I wouldn't have to obsess about doing it or not. So that means repeated hospitalizations (or hospice, not something I am ready for, and she refuses to go there). Next time I think I will have her aide take her to the ER and I will meet them there. I need to give myself some kind of break here and not feel like I have to do everything myself.
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Well, now it's seeming like she may possibly be getting another UTI (let's pray not), so I don't know if they will do the surgery - or maybe they will. OY. 
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Xina, my mom was not able to consent to the hip surgery. She was quite out of it and had no memory of the ER or of the gorgeous wood panelled room with attached kitchenette they put her in because we were bleating like a herd of goats after several hours in the ER.

A year later, mom WAS lucid and competent enough to tell us that she definitely wanted a pacemaker!

Xina, good luck with this. It sounds like you have a cautious, competent surgeon who is considering all options.
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Jjariz, unfortunately she is not a candidate for the longterm antibiotics. Only IV antibiotics work with her, it seems. Even strong oral ones when she gets a UTI don't work.

Barb, thanks for that. Was your mother able to consent? I'm guessing not. We probably will go thru with it. One thing the surgeon said, though, is that he might have to do the surgery in stages, depending on what he finds and how long he thinks it will take. That would mean another operation - which would really be too much.
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Some docs will place their patient on long term antibiotics. It's somewhat controversial.
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Xina, you are truly between a rock and hard place and your anxiety is well placed!

4 years ago, after my mom's stroke, she fell and broke the ball of her hip joint off ( we'll she probably broke the bone and then fell but it's always hard to tell).

My brother and I were terrified to sign for the surgery. Mom had CHF, vascular dementia, was frail and underweight. I was convinced she would die during the surgery.

The good news is that she didn't. She rehabbed spectacularly, learned to walk with a walker and got to see two more great grandchildren born.

I vote for doing the surgery if that helps at all. The surgeon is right to warn you of the risks, and to be cautious. Cautious is always better than cavlier, in my book.
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Back here so that I don't have to explain the situation all over again in a new post. Just a recap: My mom has had repeated UTIs and has had to be hospitalized, one time in the ICU for septic shock. Many doctors have determined that the cause is a huge kidney stone, which can only be removed by surgery (please don't ask if it can be done less invasively; we've gotten second opinion, and done lots of research).

Surgery is risky in a frail 84 yo woman, so we've been avoiding it. But then she had another UTI, so I've scheduled it for 10 days from now. We met with the surgeon yesterday (top kidney stone specialist) and he is clearly ambivalent about doing it, which is not reassuring! There are risks - anesthesia, infection, heart problems, etc. He wrote "highly complex/risky" on the paper scheduling it. But he wouldn't tell me not to do it, because that's not his job.

The alternative is she gets more UTIs and has to stay in the hospital repeatedly. It's sort of 1/2 dozen of one, 6 of another. 

I'm a total wreck about this. My mom is frail. She is not cognitively all there, so she can't make the decision and doesn't grasp the implications. Just the idea of getting her to the hospital, having them lie her upside down and put her under makes me miserable.

I can't stand that *I* have to make the decision. What do I do??
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I agree that the AZO products can be a Godsend. Just be aware that they turn urine an almost neon orange that does stain. Problematic when dealing with incontinence if the person is a leaker.
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Xina, the first time I ever got a UTI was a couple days after having surgery to remove a large kidney stone :( With the UTI I went to the ER and was placed in Observation while the hospital "grew" the infection in the lab to see what type it was. I was first placed on a certain antibiotic, until the results were in, then placed on a different antibiotic. The stay in the hospital would have been ok if it wasn't for the midnight fire alarm, that darn siren and flashing strobe lights that went on for almost a half hour :P

I think the next time I feel like I am getting a UTI, I will go to Urgent Care.

AZO makes over-the-counter products for one to use to help keep away UTI's. Recently I felt like one was tapping me on the shoulder so I used an AZO made for that. It worked for me. You may want to check with your Mom's doctor to make sure the AZO won't interfere with Mom's meds.
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