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Having a Urinary Tract Infection and Parkinson's

In my 72 years, I never had a urinary tract infection (UTI). So, for the past several weeks I just attributed my symptoms to Parkinson's disease (PD). I have a movement disorder neurologist in New York City which whom I am in contact periodically. Additionally, here in Florida, I also have a movement disorder neurologist.

I assumed it was PD progression

When my UTI symptoms were getting worse, I just assumed that my PD was progressing. The doctor’s office in Florida didn’t answer my calls, so I could not even leave a message! In general, it is my opinion that Florida's healthcare is deficient in many ways.

Then I called my New York movement disorder neurologist. He asked me what my symptoms were. They included a more frequent urge to urinate, increased urination, discomfort when urinating, feeling an achy pain in the lower back and sides, excessive fatigue, confusion as well as agitation.

He listened and then told me: "These symptoms are usually not related to Parkinson’s disease." He then advised me to see my internist to rule out a UTI.

Trying to schedule an appointment

Since I already had an appointment with my internist, I felt that I could discuss it then. But then I realized that UTIs can be serious and lead to other problems. Therefore, I tried to contact him to see if I could get an appointment sooner. However, no one picked up the phone in his office. Frustrating!

His office was located in a major medical hospital complex. When I called the hospital complex, they informed me that he was on vacation in Europe and won’t be back in the office until 2 days after my original appointment. Frustrating and agitating again!

No one in his practice had the decency to cancel my original appointment and rebook me. I guess that they weren’t concerned with the angst of dealing with a PD person with an aggravating issue and not rescheduling my appointment. Good customer service is severely lacking in many doctor’s offices.

I then realized that I needed to go to a local walk-in clinic to get tested for a possible UTI. My urine was tested, and the results were positive. The walk-in clinic sent the specimen out for further testing to ascertain which bacteria was causing my problem. When they receive the results from the lab, they will then give me a specific prescription that should solve the problem. Right now, they gave me a general antibiotic.

UTI risk factors

The walk-in clinic doctor shared that seniors have a higher risk of UTIs than the rest of the population. They told me the risk factors for seniors, such as urinary incontinence and not changing the wet disposable underwear promptly, as well as using catheters, increased the risk of UTIs.

I was advised that complications from a UTI are serious. They can include kidney damage and sepsis. Septic shock can lead to having a life-threatening infection spread through the bloodstream. They told me me to drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and change wet incontinence pads and underwear frequently.

Future concerns

In Florida, to my dismay, there are many seniors with serious health care issues like Parkinson's. Many of the doctors here are getting older and are retiring, or hospital districts are buying up their existing practices. The average wait time from obtaining an appointment to seeing the physician can be from several weeks to months!

How will they provide timely and appropriate medical care for those of us with serious illnesses in the future? With more seniors moving down to Florida, it looks to me like we are at the beginning of a new healthcare crisis.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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