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Provided by caregiver: “My grandfather is confused and pretty sick. He was up most of the night coughing.”
History of Present Illness:
H.T. is an 82-year-old Hispanic male who is widowed and a retired grocery store owner. His 28-year-old granddaughter lives with him. He uses a walker and takes daily walks in the neighborhood with her. He can perform most ADLs, but his granddaughter prepares his meals. He presents to the clinic with his caregiver who reports that about a week ago, Mr. T. came down with a cold and had a runny, stuffy nose. He visited the curandero and has been drinking gordolobo tea with honey, lemon and a generous dollop of tequila. He appeared to be getting better, but then several days ago he developed a cough. Over the last two days, the cough has become worse and he can’t seem to catch his breath. He was confused last night and nearly fell getting out of bed.
The patient’s age is consistent with that reported. He is well-groomed and neat, uses a walker for ambulation and walks with a pronounced limp. He is lethargic, frail and thin oriented to self only. Patient is coughing and using accessory muscles to breathe. Appears uncomfortable and in moderate respiratory distress.
Past Medical History:
Tobacco dependence x 60 years
Chronic bronchitis for 10 years
Urinary overflow incontinence for 10 years
HTN x 5 years, BP averages 140/80 with medication
Mild right hemiparesis caused by CVA 3 years ago
Bipolar x 50 years
Constipation x 6 months
Influenza vaccination 3 months ago
(+) for HTN and cancer, (-) for CAD, asthma, DM
Lives with granddaughter in his home
Smokes ½ ppd
Some friends recently ill with “colds”
Occasional alcohol use
Atenolol 100 mg po QD
HCTZ 25 mg po QD
Aspirin 325 mg po QD
Aripiprazole 15 mg po QD
Combivent MDI 2 puffs QID (caregiver states patient rarely uses)
Albuterol MDI 2 puffs QID PRN
Docusate calcium 100 mg po HS
Okay, super sleuths, what are all the possible reasons for a cough? What’s causing his confusion? I think the most fun way to play is to imagine you only get 5 questions. With that limit in mind, what information could you ask for that would give you the most information for a diagnosis? What labs do you want? What other diagnostic tests should we run? Ask me some questions!
REMEMBER: DON’T post the ANSWER HERE! Ask questions and I’ll give you more information.