On Pneumonia Watch

I am not an alarmist. I think I’m pretty practical and level-headed. Even a realist when warranted.

With Robert, I do have to be on alert with his health since he can go from having a slight cold to the ICU with pneumonia and septic shock in a matter of hours.

Robert may look happy in the hospital but I'd like to keep him out of there!
Robert may look happy in the hospital but I’d like to keep him out of there!

Well, we’re at the “slight cold” stage.

Yesterday, he had a little bit of nasal congestion and a slight cough.

Today, he also had diarrhea and more nasal congestion but the cough stayed about the same.

He had an unusual seizure at Day Program so they called me. The seizure lasted about a minute but his breathing was labored and he trembled like he was very, very cold. The staff has had Robert for over two years so recognized this was an unusual seizure (I LOVE his Day Program staff!).

This is very similar to the seizures he had before his last bout of pneumonia.

Richard picked Robert up from Day Program since I was still at work.  Of course, that didn’t stop me from texting instructions to Richard (oh, my husband must love me so!).

“How’s his breathing?”

“Put him on his oxygen.”

“Please take his vitals.”

Robert had a slight temperature but it was non-existent by the time I got home. His breathing was labored even though Richard had put him on the oxygen as soon as they got home.

I took his vitals before dinner and they seemed fine except his pulse rate was super high. (That was a problem when he was sick last time.) He is still weak and talking like he’s out of breath but the pulse ox meter says his oxygen level is at a good rate.

Robert didn’t lose his appetite and still wanted his usual amount of food at dinner as well as a scoop of Rocky Road ice cream.  (How can I refuse when he’s sick?)

I don’t understand why he has had pneumonia twice in eleven months and why it appears he’s headed there again.

The doctors are looking into the causes but it is slow-going.

Robert doesn’t see his pulmonary specialist until mid-September. His Upper GI Endoscopy finally happened a couple of days ago and only showed slight inflammation. Per the doctor’s instructions we doubled up on his prescription strength Prilosec. She didn’t express any concern whatsoever.

I sent a note to his doctor to see if there’s anything we can do besides watch him like a hawk, regularly taking vitals and taking him to the hospital at the first sign of a downward slide. I don’t want to be too late in catching whatever is working on him.

(What’s odd is the hospital never seems to be able to grow any bacteria even though the x-rays show pneumonia. They call it aspiration pneumonia but I don’t know how or why he gets it and why it develops so quickly and immediately sends Robert into septic shock).

So we’re on pneumonia watch tonight but I’m hoping by morning, he has recovered and is feeling as good as new.

I may be practical, level-headed and a realist but I’m above all, an optimist.

(Also posted on www.robertssister.com)

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4 Comments on "On Pneumonia Watch"

Profile photo of Kathy
Aug 10, 2013

ohhh I know you worry Trish.

Aspiration pneumonia probably wouldn’t show up as a bacteria as it is my understanding that it is developed by inhaling a food or beverage into your lungs. A foreign object in the lungs sets off the pneumonia cycle. (That’s how I understand it but am known to be wrong on an occasion or two)
I watch Hubby for that as swallowing issues can and most often do develop for dementia.

Lets hope and pray that Robert recovers quickly and completely! he may need another scoop of ice cream to hurry the process 😉

Thinking of you all

Profile photo of Pegi
Aug 10, 2013

@Trish, so sorry you’re in the midst of this. Hoping and praying that Robert gets through this as just a cold. You are terrific at being on top of things! He looks quite content in the picture, love it. In my thoughts.