G. S. Vaidhyanathan
At the start of the coronavirus lockdown, my 82 year old father with a history of UTI and urethral constriction began experiencing inability to urinate a couple of months post undergoing the dilatation procedure. Furthermore, he also lost his ability to sit up and began slumping down, plop on the bed or floor every time he attempted to sit.
In a couple of days, he was completely bed-ridden and in diapers. The doctor who performed the first dilatation now asked us to bring him a week later in the hope that the lockdown restrictions would ease. The family too were hesitant to get him out in the open during the pandemic due to his several comorbidities. Meanwhile dad kept on deteriorating. The family physician was called in to insert the urinary catheter but dad’s appetite remained poor and in a weeks time he became hypoglycemic. He was rushed to the ICU where urosepsis was diagnosed. (Sepsis and Urinary Tract Infections) This meant that from the initial onset of urosepsis to treatment with antibiotics etc. we had lost precious time increasing his mortality chances severely. We weren’t aware of this stealth killer called sepsis and were under the impression that treating just the UTI would get him better.
We never expected him to die because he was out of the ICU in 8/9 days and in the ward where he was discharged for home after 9 more days and after one of his testicles was surgically removed due to severe infection, which was an old one of many years. At home, he grew pale and still wouldn’t sit or balance himself. His haemoglobin levels dropped. We opted for re-hospitalisation and orthopaedic rehab at another hospital where blood transfusions, IV and oxygen were administered. He was discharged after 12 days but still bedridden. His skin began oozing out fluid. , He had painful bed-sores, stomach distension, fluid in his lungs, constant pain due to his fixed posture, and kept lamenting loudly in pain all the time. He had edema or fluid build up in his foot due to his poor heart condition which was an old issue but had resurfaced. He died after 15 days of the discharge from the second hospital, at home. Two days prior to his passing, he stopped complaining of the pain giving us the illusion that he was feeling well, although his skin looked darkened and suspiciously near death.
The lingering feeling that doesn’t go away is guilt that we did not act soon and that had someone in the medical field aggressively alerted us about the sepsis setting in and the urgency of the treatment required, instead of simply waiting and watching at home or maybe, if not for the pandemic and also the lack of our own awareness, our dad would have been with us today.
Source: V S, his daughtr