My 90 yr old Mom has pneumonia and I'm worried...

Posted by jquartic @jquartic, Jan 11 10:12pm

Hi all… This is my first post here. The Mayo Clinic is my go to website for clear and reliable medical info. My 90 yr old Mom has pneumonia. I'm concerned because I don't believe that her doctor is taking this situation with the seriousness and attention that it deserves.

Here is the situation. My Mom has always deferred to doctors' diagnosis and analysis of medical conditions. I was pretty much shocked when she came back from her visit and she told me that her doctor took a chest xray and said that he could tell everything that he needed to know from that. If you look up pneumonia on this website, you'll realize that was pretty much an ill-informed statement.

To date he has prescribed her an antibiotic, an inhaler that unfortunately I wasn't able to find out what it was, a week or so of Prednisone, and now Anora Ellipta powder inhaler. I have searched high and low on the Internet, and have found nothing that states that Anora Ellipta is a treatment for pneumonia. It does however have a rather long and frightening list of side effects and possible complications. And lastly, I persuaded my Mom to tell him that he needs to take a sputum test. He refused and told her she didn't need it. He also has not done any bloodwork to date.

Bottom line is that I'm very worried that she's not receiving the proper diagnosis, care and treatment… and what the consequences of that might be. She did appear to respond to the Prednisone for a short period, but has since regressed.

Thanks very much for any information, advice or ideas regarding this situation.

John Q.

@jquartic– Good morning and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. This sounds like a scary time for you, watching your mom not getting the best medical advice and treatment that she can have. Are you close to any Mayo facility? Have you spoken to her about your concerns and that you would like to go with her for a second opinion? Maybe even an ER if necessary?

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You are an amazing and wonderful daughter. Get a second opinion. Ask for a CT chest scan. If you live near Mayo Clinic or a similar medical facility have you thought about going for a second opinion?

I ask this because of my history of lack of treatment by a general physician in a small town and a team who did not know how to begin to properly diagnose or treat my symptoms.
The most important thing is your mom’s Quality of Life, as yours too. And as for Mayo Clinic, they saved my life! Trust your instincts. Bravo to you for being such a kind and caring son!

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Hi Linda… Thanks very much for your reply. I very much appreciate it. If you take a look at my reply above to Merry, you'll see that most of the very good points you've raised are points that I've considered. The problem is that my Mom does not consider my opinion when it comes to her doctor. Further complicating the situation is that sadly her husband is not typically concerned about her health. I'm thinking the only way I can get her to consider a second opinion is if another doctor could talk to her, or communicate (in some way) their opinion of the situation. I'm not sure how I can make that happen.

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@merpreb

@jquartic– Good morning and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. This sounds like a scary time for you, watching your mom not getting the best medical advice and treatment that she can have. Are you close to any Mayo facility? Have you spoken to her about your concerns and that you would like to go with her for a second opinion? Maybe even an ER if necessary?

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Hi Merry.. Thanks very much for your reply. I very much appreciate it. Unfortunately, my Mom and I don't live near a Mayo facility as we live in CT. There are a number of good facilities in CT, such as Yale New Haven hospital. I have in fact spoken to her about my concerns, and have actually printed out and gone over with her the Diagnosis and Treatment pages from the Mayo Clinic website. She has told me she won't go to an ER unless here doctor recommends that she go. And she feels she would be betraying her doctor if she seeks a second opinion. I am also trying not to upset her. She tends to get upset with even the suggestion that her doctor might not be diagnosing and treating her in the best way possible.

John Q.

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@jquartic

Hi Linda… Thanks very much for your reply. I very much appreciate it. If you take a look at my reply above to Merry, you'll see that most of the very good points you've raised are points that I've considered. The problem is that my Mom does not consider my opinion when it comes to her doctor. Further complicating the situation is that sadly her husband is not typically concerned about her health. I'm thinking the only way I can get her to consider a second opinion is if another doctor could talk to her, or communicate (in some way) their opinion of the situation. I'm not sure how I can make that happen.

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You are very well informed and so caring and special. Maybe you can ask her some questions, with her husband within ear shot?
With proper diagnosis & proper treatment her Quality of Life could be greatly improved.

You are not alone with this challenge, but do not give up. I’m thinking of you & your mom.

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@jquartic

Hi Merry.. Thanks very much for your reply. I very much appreciate it. Unfortunately, my Mom and I don't live near a Mayo facility as we live in CT. There are a number of good facilities in CT, such as Yale New Haven hospital. I have in fact spoken to her about my concerns, and have actually printed out and gone over with her the Diagnosis and Treatment pages from the Mayo Clinic website. She has told me she won't go to an ER unless here doctor recommends that she go. And she feels she would be betraying her doctor if she seeks a second opinion. I am also trying not to upset her. She tends to get upset with even the suggestion that her doctor might not be diagnosing and treating her in the best way possible.

John Q.

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@jquartic, I have a similar situation with my mother as well. It is a fine balance between getting the proper care and not upsetting her. My mom is battling bronchitis, which threatens to become chronic. I'm puzzled how the doctor can determine whether it is bacterial or viral without proper testing. My mom is reluctant to get a second opinion and feels this would challenge him. I'm considering asking her to get a referral to a geriatrician. This way it is not challenging the physician's diagnosis of this issue, but a request for over-arching elderly care. Might that be an option for your mom?

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@colleenyoung

@jquartic, I have a similar situation with my mother as well. It is a fine balance between getting the proper care and not upsetting her. My mom is battling bronchitis, which threatens to become chronic. I'm puzzled how the doctor can determine whether it is bacterial or viral without proper testing. My mom is reluctant to get a second opinion and feels this would challenge him. I'm considering asking her to get a referral to a geriatrician. This way it is not challenging the physician's diagnosis of this issue, but a request for over-arching elderly care. Might that be an option for your mom?

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@colleenyoung– It's a very sad day when we have to care whether a physician is in a good or bad mood to get an accurate diagnosis.

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@jquartic

Hi Merry.. Thanks very much for your reply. I very much appreciate it. Unfortunately, my Mom and I don't live near a Mayo facility as we live in CT. There are a number of good facilities in CT, such as Yale New Haven hospital. I have in fact spoken to her about my concerns, and have actually printed out and gone over with her the Diagnosis and Treatment pages from the Mayo Clinic website. She has told me she won't go to an ER unless here doctor recommends that she go. And she feels she would be betraying her doctor if she seeks a second opinion. I am also trying not to upset her. She tends to get upset with even the suggestion that her doctor might not be diagnosing and treating her in the best way possible.

John Q.

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@jquartic– I understand. I took care of my mom when she had Parkinson's Disease. That generation believed that doctors walked on water. I also live in New England and use MGH. Yale is a great hospital. I had to dial down what I wanted for my mom so that she wouldn't be upset too. It's really a trade-off, isn't it? And so frustrating! I guess it's just a waiting game now. It use to be so easy to talk to doctors without our parents or spouses knowing but that can't be done now. What have you decided to do?
I found this video about the difference between virus and bacterial pneumonia. You brought up and excellent question about telling the difference between the two.. This might help:

Has your mom started to feel better?

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@merpreb

@colleenyoung– It's a very sad day when we have to care whether a physician is in a good or bad mood to get an accurate diagnosis.

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YES! I agree. I am an 82 year old lady who came down with pneumonia May 2019. The emergency room doctor could not care less in many ways and boy did it show. However I did not fight back by saying anything and played stupid to survive as I was to weak and struggeling to breath. Shame on them as we the elders do know when we are put down. To sum it up: With much, much difficulty I survived. To me the important thing is to keep my dignity and belief in myself. Thank you Mayo for allowing this on your site. Peach

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@peach414144

YES! I agree. I am an 82 year old lady who came down with pneumonia May 2019. The emergency room doctor could not care less in many ways and boy did it show. However I did not fight back by saying anything and played stupid to survive as I was to weak and struggeling to breath. Shame on them as we the elders do know when we are put down. To sum it up: With much, much difficulty I survived. To me the important thing is to keep my dignity and belief in myself. Thank you Mayo for allowing this on your site. Peach

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@peach414144– Good morning Peach. I hope that you are feeling much better now. You are right, beyond a certain age some physicians don't want to waste their time on the elderly. I am so glad that you have spoken out, more mature people should. Perhaps that would change things. I am glad that you survived and I absolutely agree that being treated with respect so that our dignity is held in high regard.I want to be treated like a person of some value and not a pig in a pen with a tag in it's ear.

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@merpreb

@peach414144– Good morning Peach. I hope that you are feeling much better now. You are right, beyond a certain age some physicians don't want to waste their time on the elderly. I am so glad that you have spoken out, more mature people should. Perhaps that would change things. I am glad that you survived and I absolutely agree that being treated with respect so that our dignity is held in high regard.I want to be treated like a person of some value and not a pig in a pen with a tag in it's ear.

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Thank you. I need to add this other important serious item. The doctor made me feel as if he was not even trying to help me and I became very, very anxious. It took much determination on my part to cope with this. BUT; Perhaps another person would have given up and then perhaps died? Sorry t burden you with this but it needed to be said. Peach 82 and still breathing.

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Hello Peach 82: I really really appreciate you sharing your story. My story was very similar. My diagnosis after I left local hospitals and doctor and went to Mayo Clinic. My proper diagnosis with a CT Scan at Mayo Clinic was Non Small Cell Lung Cancer . After surgery and an amazing support team at Mayo,
I continue to follow up at this fantastic facility and am celebrating 12 years of survival. So, you are not a burden to me, we need more worriers like you. I
would love to stay in contact because you give inspiration with hope as a worrier! Happy New Decade ! Thank you again,

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@colleenyoung

@jquartic, I have a similar situation with my mother as well. It is a fine balance between getting the proper care and not upsetting her. My mom is battling bronchitis, which threatens to become chronic. I'm puzzled how the doctor can determine whether it is bacterial or viral without proper testing. My mom is reluctant to get a second opinion and feels this would challenge him. I'm considering asking her to get a referral to a geriatrician. This way it is not challenging the physician's diagnosis of this issue, but a request for over-arching elderly care. Might that be an option for your mom?

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Hi Colleen…

Thanks for your response… I really appreciate it very much. I hope you’re able to get the care for your mom that she needs. I like your suggestion about getting a referral to a geriatrician. However, I’m not sure I would trust her doctor’s recommendation. It’s been my experience for my own health problems that bad doctors generally refer their patients to other bad doctors. And good doctors generally refer their patients to other good doctors. Also, I’m pretty sure that she would see this as a challenge to her doctor. Having said all that, I’m going to give it a try. I can always research the referred doctor online. You’re so right that in our situations it is a fine line between getting our mothers proper care, and not upsetting them.

My mom had an appointment with her doctor yesterday. And miracle of miracles… he sent her for bloodwork. I’m not sure what changed his mind, but my mom was very happy to tell me this as she knew it was one of the things that I had told her he needed to do. Should have the results in 1 or 2 days. Now if he would just do a sputum culture…

JQ

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@llwortman

Hello Peach 82: I really really appreciate you sharing your story. My story was very similar. My diagnosis after I left local hospitals and doctor and went to Mayo Clinic. My proper diagnosis with a CT Scan at Mayo Clinic was Non Small Cell Lung Cancer . After surgery and an amazing support team at Mayo,
I continue to follow up at this fantastic facility and am celebrating 12 years of survival. So, you are not a burden to me, we need more worriers like you. I
would love to stay in contact because you give inspiration with hope as a worrier! Happy New Decade ! Thank you again,

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Thank you Linda as I really need all the encouragement I can get. I am now facing another big problem to correct the unstoppable bowel movements due to pelvic organ prolapse. Kind of old to have this corrected with an operation but: I live alone and do need to leave the house for friendship of any kind. (Cannot bring my commode with me to use at a moment's notice and with privacy). This is very embarassing even to write about it. Seems it never stops but sometimes things work out well as: I have been very, very cold even on 85 degree days with wearing three or four layers and at night, brrrr. I again wear many layers with three heavy covers. I do have hypothyroidism. Well I googled how to deal with this so: Reading "the soil is depleated from iodine and this can cause my being so cold". So I bought "thyroid support" with iodine and after about four days of taking these pillsI am not cold any more. Of course when I see my endochronogist again I will present this to her. Staying alive is a job. Perhaps doing all this helps to keep me alive (age 82). The doctors get very very tired of hearing about these problems and they do not want to be bothered with this. I have even had a doctor turn his back to me and leave the room. I know I will go to heaven but he will have to atone for this. Must shuss up now, to much is to much. Enjoy your day and dance a little.

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@jquartic

Hi Colleen…

Thanks for your response… I really appreciate it very much. I hope you’re able to get the care for your mom that she needs. I like your suggestion about getting a referral to a geriatrician. However, I’m not sure I would trust her doctor’s recommendation. It’s been my experience for my own health problems that bad doctors generally refer their patients to other bad doctors. And good doctors generally refer their patients to other good doctors. Also, I’m pretty sure that she would see this as a challenge to her doctor. Having said all that, I’m going to give it a try. I can always research the referred doctor online. You’re so right that in our situations it is a fine line between getting our mothers proper care, and not upsetting them.

My mom had an appointment with her doctor yesterday. And miracle of miracles… he sent her for bloodwork. I’m not sure what changed his mind, but my mom was very happy to tell me this as she knew it was one of the things that I had told her he needed to do. Should have the results in 1 or 2 days. Now if he would just do a sputum culture…

JQ

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Hi @jquartic, How is your mom doing?

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