When my father started passing out, I figured it was from his diabetes. On our weekly Sunday calls, he would tell me that he ate Chinese food and then passed out. He would tell me that he would stop eating ice cream, and all the other sweets that he enjoyed because of his diabetes. I would tell him to go to the doctor. I even set him up with free Diabetes nutrition classes at the local hospital. He said he went–I have my doubts.
When I went to visit him, not only was he terribly skinny, and very confused, but he was wearing blue rubber gloves. He told me that he had eczema on his hands and the gloves made his hands feel better. They prevented them from itching. Then, soon after I walked in, he passed out. I called an ambulance immediately, and they took him to the hospital. He had seven seizures that first night. He was in the hospital for three weeks and in that time, his eczema stopped, his mind became clearer (eventually), and started putting on weight. Diagnosis: Dehydration. My father drank coffee all day, every day. He smoked like a chimney, which can also dehydrate you. Water? None. If you asked him if he drank water, he would say, I drink iced tea–which of course has caffeine and dehydrated him.
It is hard to drink water if you aren’t used to it, and we still fight that battle. I make him drink water with any meal we are having together. I supply him with small 8 ounce bottles in his room, and I have asked the servers at his assisted living to only let him have coffee at breakfast and no iced tea with lunch or dinner–water only. I have seen a big difference in his health–physically and mentally. He remains on his seizure medication though–just in case.