When will my dad wake up?

My father, 71 yrs old was diagnosed with TBM about 2 months back. He had problems walking but was still doing well. Since the end of last month, he started becoming drowsy and got to a point where he couldn't even swallow water. I got him admitted to the hospital at that point. The doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and severe hyponatremia (NA+ 111)

They administered antibiotics to take care of the pneumonia and in the process had to shift between a few medicines to control the pneumonia. While at the hospital, my dad had an incident of convulsion but 2 days after that, he was doing okay...was still able to talk to me. On the next day, he had another incident of convulsion and since then he has been in a state of extreme drowsiness. The doctors increased his medication and steroids and said that he is responding but in an extremely drowsy state.

He was taken into ventilation on 15th June because his blood CO2 level was increasing, but was weaned off on the 21st of June.

They did another CSF test which revealed a high level of protein, (171) but it is lower than the previous CSF test done last month where the level of protein was much higher (299). As per my understanding, this decrease in the protein level indicates that his TBM is getting cured. However last week the doctor told me that they suspect him to have a resistant TBM

Right now, my dad is in a semi-unconscious state. He has been assigned with a GCS score of 9. When someone calls out his name out loud, he opens his eyes but very feebly. I don't know what has gone wrong with him and neither can the doctors diagnose the problem. All they say is that his condition is critical and this drowsiness is because of the meningitis

I am now contemplating moving him to another hospital, which is a leading neurology hospital and all the doctors there are professors in Neurology. I am sincerely hoping that they can diagnose the underlying problem and treat him accordingly.

Anyone else faced the same problem or know anything about it? Me and my family are living in a constant state of worry and fear that anything might happen anytime. However, his BP, Pulse and Oxygen levels are okay

Thank you very much

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3 Replies

  • Hello,

    I am not sure if anyone answered your question yet, but I can tell you my experience, and hopefully it will help.

    My father suffered BM at the age of 84. He was admitted to the hospital because of extreme weakness, as in not even being able to lift himself up. He went into a coma, and the doctors confirmed that it was BM. They could not tell me exactly where he became infected or when. He was transported downtown to the ICU at the Nuerology center.

    The coma part was the most difficult to endure, as he was just laying there, and no one knew if my father would pull out of it. After 3 days, he did awake, and was semi conscious. I came across this site when my father was ijn his coma, and did learn (at least read) that some people with the disease in a coma did hear the others around them , what they were saying, but they simply could not respond, so while he was in a coma, we gave him positive re-inforcement, and that seems to pull him through it

    After he awoke from his coma, he was extremely sensitive to light and touch. I was told that was an after effect of the BM. That subsided in about 3 weeks, and intense PT began. PT worked, however, in my father's case, he could not swallow (another after effect) and had to have a tube attached to his stomach for his nutrients and meals.

    My father pulled through for 3 months, but the side affects in my dads case just were too much to overcome. Pneumonia set in, and he is now resting with the Holy Father.

    What I learned during that 3 month time period, was to be PATIENT. There were good days and bad. In my dad's case and health, the doctors said it was going to be a very tough road to recovery.

    Those complications MAY not set in your dad's case. Meningitis is a very strange disease - it affects everyone differently. I can definitely relate to the frustration and uncertainty - i lived it for 3 months. It is frightening not knowing what lay ahead. Talk to your father, watch and stay on top of the nurses with their PT....we had to remind them some days, as the seemed to forget. Find a good PT Care place for the rehab. Be posiitve and patient when it comes to your dad. Hope he recovers. Please let me know how he is doing.

  • Hello Pmaz - Sorry to know about your father and thank you very much for your response. You are the only one who cared to respond to my post.

    We did manage to shift him to another hospital last Tuesday (1st July) and it was a grueling task getting him into an ambulance and moving him while he was semi conscious and with oxygen support. Anyways, we finally managed him to get him to the ITU of the hospital

    Once he got admitted, the doctors examined his body and found big bed sores on his hip region, He also had ulcers in his mouth. They are treating him for both the sores and the mouth ulcer and it is improving now.

    They are still conducting tests to confirm what kind of meningitis he has - some of the reports suggest TBM (because of elevated Lymphocyte count) but the docs said that this alone doesn't prove anything. We are now awaiting the TB-PCR report which is due on the 12th

    Currently my father is in the same state, just opening his eyes from time to time and feebly moving his limbs - however about 2 days back, the nurses reported that he spoke a bit (said that he wanted to go home) and when my sister went infront of him, he got emotional and cried. We were ecstatic knowing that he has spoken after almost a month laying still in bed and him getting emotional seeing my sister proved that he could see, recognize and his emotions are also working. However the next day he didn't have any response whatsoever and in the night he had another round of convulsion for which he has been put into ventilation. His ABG report is normal though but he was having some difficulty breathing post the seizure and so the doctors intubated him

    He is having frequent seizures but they are not too severe - just random trembling of his arms and body. The doctors have increased his anti-epileptic meds to take care of the seizure. On the other hand, he was developing some liver problems with the ATT so the doctors had to stop Rifampin, Isoniazid and Pyrazinamide and instead add Streptomycin and Levofloxacin

    So this is the current condition of my father, he is still ventilated, fed through a tube and just opening his eyes. I don't know when my dad will be able to speak again. It's been so long that I last had a word with my dad and it just kills me not being able to hear him.

    He is 71 yrs, so I know that the age will have a heavy toll on his health and overall recovery but all I expect is for him to be able to talk, eat food through his mouth and be able to sit, that's all.

    Thanks again for your message.

  • How is your dear father. Has he made headway or still in somewhat of a coma? I went through this with my brother. He had BM with 4 other infections working against his recovery. The pneumonia finally got him and he died at 60 years old. He would be in a coma and then speak a little, make other improvements only to regress again. This disease is difficult and horrible for your loved one but also terrible for the ones left behind that hope and pray every day that some slight improvement will be seen. I feel your pain and understand so well the fear of the unknown. The doctors won't ever say what they really think for fear that you will hold them to it. I always talked to the kind nurses who would be honest with me. They all gave me hope but emphasized how terribly sick and weak he was and did not paint a rosie outcome. I appreciated their honesty. I expected the worst and hoped for the best and prayed harder than I ever have in my life. God had other plans. He took my brother from darkness to the light. I know he is now happy, free and looking out for me but selfishly we all want to keep our loved ones here. I pray everything has worked out for your loved one and will keep good thoughts for you. Bless you and your family.

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