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anxiety and pneumonia
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anxiety and pneumonia

hi my 76year gran has pneumonia and has been in hospital, she lives in a nursing  home and is back there now but keeps on having attacks were its like she drowning , cant breath very fast heart rate gurgling when she is trying to talk, we nearly lost her twice this week and plus her lips went blue, then the nursing home give her more anti biotics and she a bit better again and gave her some oxygen, is this normal to be up and down like this or do you think there is something setting her back such as alcohol cancelling her antibiotics because she seems to be doing great then bang she is back to nearly dead dont no if someone is giving her alcohol when they shouldnt be. please help before it is too late
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Welcome, sorry to hear about your Gram.

Pneumonia is a serious medical condition that requires aggressive treatment, especially in the elderly population.  MANY older people succomb to Pneumonia.  Do you happen to know what "kind" of Pneumonia she was diagnosed with?  A more common type of Pneumonia in the elderly is called "Aspiration Pneumonia", this is when food and fluids are sneaking down into the trachea (windpipe) rather than down the esophagus to the stomach, where it is supposed to go.  This happens in people who have had strokes, or other events that would impair their swallowing.  There is also bacterial pneumonia and others.  If she is responding to the antibiotics, then it is likely a form of bacterial pneumonia, or aspiration pneumonia.

Let me ask you this...why would you think someone is sneaking her alcohol?  And, who do you suspect is doing so?  Like another family member?  If you have any real suspicion of this, you must intervene on your Gram's behalf ASAP.  If this is your family doing this...they have NO idea of what kinds of interactions alcohol would have with meds your Gram is on, or even if it would exacerbate a preexisting medical condition that could actually put her into a very precarious situation.  If this is a REAL possibility, you need to inform the NH staff immediately of your suspicions that your family is giving her alcohol.

If you suspect that the employees at the home at giving her alcohol (which, honestly would be very unlikely...there would have to be strict MD orders to allow for that and there are harsh consequences for that kind of thing if it isn't done per protocol)..then you would need to approach the Nursing Home Administrator immediately.

You can always insist that she be transferred to the hospital for treatment.  If your Gram has a POA (power of attorney) for medical decisions, or someone who is listed as the primary contact person, THAT would be who needs to insist that she be assessed in the ER.  If your Gram is lucid and still 100% making her own decisions, try to persuade her into getting evaluated at the ER.

Don't let this go, what you describe sounds very serious, and having worked as an RN Supervisor in a Nursing Home, I've seen how serious Pneumonia can be in the elderly.  If it isn't being successfully treated, and keeps recurring, then action needs to be taken.

Good luck and please let us know.  The best to your Gram!
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