First of all, let me tell you that you are experiencing one of the most difficult times of your life, by helping someone else, especially a family member, through the end of their lives. If your grandmother has stopped eating and taking her medications and she is truly at the end of life, that means her body is shutting down. If she is truly at the end of her life, there is no reason for her to be taking any of her medications such as blood pressure pills, heart attack pills, blood clot pills, diabetic pills, etc. What she needs from you at this time of her life is to know that you love her and that you will care for her and be there with her until the end. You may not be able to get her to even drink water. That is normal. You may try, but she might refuse. If she has a living will that has directed you as what you should be doing at the end of her life you need to follow that. This can also be called an advance directive. You could call hospice in, and they can help make sure that she’s comfortable. She may need some mild sedative or tranquilizers or even pain medications depending on what her problem might be.
The biggest thing I can tell you is to let her go peacefully, without pain, and knowing that you are there with her.
If you have had an ear infection in the past, and was prescribed "drops", then that was to treat an external ear infection, commonly called "swimmer's ear", although you do not have to swim to get it. It can occur any time your ear canals are left wet, such as after a shower or hot tub. Oral antibiotics do not penetrate the ear canal well, which is why drops are used. Antibiotics taken by mouth are used to treat middle ear infections, otherwise known as otitis media, because drops are ineffective. That being said, most cases of otitis media can self-resolve in about a week or so. Sometimes, a great deal of fluid (effusion) can back up behind the ear drum (tympanic membrane) and rupture, causing a hole in the ear drum (perforation) which would then leak fluid out into your ear canal.
Sometimes, a physician will prescribe an antibiotic because the patient either demands it or expects it, and they are afraid that the patient will drop them, and go to a different physician. You are right, you should not take antibiotics if not needed, and if you expressed your desire to not take antibiotics, and the doctor gave them to you anyway, they most likely were needed. Since I did not examine your ears, I don't know what that doctor saw.
If the ear drum looks really bad (like raw hamburger), I tell my patient that they must take the antibiotics. If it doesn't look too bad, I ask the patient to wait 3-4 days, and if it still hurts, then I will call them in and prescribe some antibiotics. I also give them some numbing drops to put in their ear, if needed for pain. The overuse of antibiotics is causing a problem in this country with the creation of "super bugs", which are becoming resistant to multiple medications, so thank you for being careful. You should call your doctor to ask why the oral antibiotics were prescribed.
Hope you feel better soon!
Elizabeth M. Pepe, DO, FACOFP