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How can an old woman recovering from chickenpox be cared for?

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Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 3 Questions
My Mom is about 1 month into recovering from Adult Chickenpox or Shingles as she doesn't think she had them as a child. She was hospitalized for a few days and given sodium IV, Vicodine for pain (this made her really sick as she’s allergic to codeine) and although she's on 2 blood pressure meds- her BP was 189/98 for a few days and then released to my home and care.

After a week at my home, she returned to my sister's still in poor shape. She's very weak, pain in ribs and back and stomach aches and constant nausea. She's taken Valtrex and only Tramadol at night (as she's allergic to codeine and pain med's) and Xanax for the anxiety...Dr. said for her to take Prevacid in AM so she could take Motrin. She's still having overall uncomfortable, light appetite, dizzy, crying and not sleeping much - just lying on couch and dozing.

My sister hasn't slept in months as Mom lives with her. Mom's has had 2 myocardial heart infarction episodes with stents since 1996 but XXXXXXX 2011 angiogram is clear. Feb she had the right thyroid removed with pathology that found small cancer cells that the surgeon said was normal in a woman of 81 years.

My sister and I both have individually and together cared for her. I don't know what to do for her and we're both loosing it.

She went to her Doctor on Thursday and Endo and will be getting esophogram for her difficulty in swallowing and nuclear test to see if there are any cancer cells and then have blood work and TSH and back on Synthroid.

Do you have any advice or input for us?

God Bless You!
Desperate Daughters

Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Narasimha Murthy 5 hours later

Thanks for the query.

It is good to hear that you have been looking after a 81 year old lady very well. This gives lots of reassurance to your mom. Continue with it.

As I went through your queries, it appears a consellation of causes for the complaints you have mentioned.
Firstly she is 81 years old with post myocardial infarction, Right hemithyroidectomy done with recent episode of Shingles. Difficultly in swallowing is the latest complaint to develop.

In my opinion,

1. There appears to be a immunosuppressed state which is evident by the recent episode of shiingles. This may also cause oesopageal candidiasis, which may be the cause of difficulty in swallowing in her. Hence it is essential to rule out "Esophageal candidiasis", by the test suggested by your doctor..

2. Secondly, thyroid scan is also an necessary investigation to ascertain the thyroid functions and to rule out the possibility of reactivation of cancer though rare.

Overall, her major symptoms appears probably secondary to recent infection and the medications. The tests are been done to rule out the aforementioned conditions.

Hope I have answered your query, I will be available to answer your follow up queries.

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