This is the Sunday Dump. For information on how this works, visit this post. This one will be a little long today though because it’s something I want to document here on my blog anyway and I honestly don’t have the energy right now to write 2 posts.
Those who follow my Facebook Page may already be somewhat aware of this, but I was in the hospital for 2 days this past week. My first time being admitted to the hospital for a stay since I had Witchlet back in ’93. Oh sure, I’ve been to the Emergency Room since then, and was even in there once or twice for hours on end, but this is the first time in years that I’ve been told I was getting a room (without a view, btw).
About a month ago, just after we moved back home, I developed some sinus issues. I have chronic rhinitis, so I honestly didn’t think much of it. A few days later, I noticed I was a little congested in my chest. We were in the middle of unpacking and Little Diva had come down with a pretty nasty stomach virus she’d picked up at school, so again, being a veteran wife and mom, I just figured I was getting a chest cold due to the sinus drainage and carried on with life. Over the course of the next week, that “little congested” gradually increased, but not to the point of being concerned, then, almost magically, the coughing seemed to ease up again and was gone.
About 2 weeks ago, I started getting congested coughing again. I didn’t think much of it at first (again). It’s the change of the season here and who doesn’t get a little seasonal allergy issues if you have allergy problems? I know I do, at every change of the season, and a good bit in between if I’m off my allergy meds (and I was). As the days turned into a week, I noticed that the coughing was getting much worse and I was coughing literally to the point of not being able to catch my breath at times. Not every time, mind you, but enough that I was starting to think it might be a little more than a chest cold.
Then comes the last week. I started to feel fine during the day, but like I was suffocating at night. As soon as the sun began to go down, I would start sweating and coughing until I was struggling to breathe. I hate liquid medications (they make me sick to my stomach and I come very close to throwing them back up 90% of the time) but I finally agreed to let Draco get me some Robitussin DM, which is basically an expectorant and cough suppressant. I was sucking Ludens cough drops (the only cough drops I can stomach) like candy and fighting to breathe. Most nights, I awoke around 3 or 4 am with coughing fits that lasted anywhere from 10-15 minutes, to the longest one (which I had Wednesday morning) that lasted nearly an hour.
I have had mild bronchial asthma for as long as I can remember. I didn’t have to use my rescue inhaler with any sort of regularity except maybe in the worst of the summer or if I was having a particularly rough day, but I kept one on me all the time just in case. Little did I know, that the infrequency of my use of this inhaler had caused me to become a little lax in checking the expiration date on it (we’re a use it till it’s gone kind of family because we are also a low-income family) and it had expired. After coughing for nearly an hour and fighting for breath for another 15 minutes or so, I made the decision that it was time to wake Draco and let him know that I thought a trip to the ER was in order.
We got in and went to the sign-in desk and the nurse there immediately took me to triage after taking one look at me and hearing “I can’t breathe” (a rare occurrence in our little town where you usually spend at least half an hour sitting in the waiting room). He took my temperature, put one of the finger slips on me that checks for blood/oxygen levels and took my blood pressure. I was certain that at this point he would send me to the waiting room but instead, he jumps up and begins looking around the room, then looks back at the machine that had my vitals on it and said “I can’t find a wheelchair…can you walk???” With a sense of urgency in his voice that certainly got my attention. I walked myself to a ER room with him looking nervously at me over his shoulder.
My rear-end had no sooner hit the bed than 6 people flashed into the room and began working on me. There was 1 writing frantically on a chart, another hooking up sticky pads all over me (thank goodness she was someone I knew at least because I was starting to freak out a little) another came in from respiratory and began setting up a breathing treatment, another was trying to get my vitals again. Yet another was on my right arm, inserting an IV tube and another came in to take blood from my left arm for bacterial cultures. This is not counting another lady with a chart that was asking Draco everything you can think of except my bra size.
After 2 breathing treatments and lung x-rays that didn’t look good, even to me, a doctor came in and sat down with me. He was a wonderful doctor with a very pleasant bedside manner but he said words to me I never expected to hear when I left my house shortly before 5 am Wednesday morning. I had Pneumonia, mainly in my right lung, but with signs showing up in my left as well. My lung was on the verge of collapse due to the amount of congestion in it (it was 2/3 full of congestion), my blood pressure was high enough to be a concern (although thankfully I had NOT had another heart attack yet) and I was not responding to treatment. They were admitting me and if I didn’t begin responding to treatment very soon, I was looking at the possibility of a a tube being put through my side and into my lung to drain it more quickly to try to prevent collapse. I had almost stopped breathing completely by the time I made it to the hospital and because of my asthma, it truly could have killed me, rather quickly.
I was whisked away to an upstairs room on a practically deserted 3rd floor (which suited me just fine) to spend nearly 2 days recovering. They wanted me to stay an additional night, but our little Pug was in the process of passing a kidney stone and our nieces, Chicklet and B were struggling to know what to do with her since she’s very spoiled to me and my own personal routine, so I sweet-talked my doctor into letting me leave Thursday night.
The official diagnoses: Pneumonia in the right lung with signs in the left lung, right lung almost entirely occluded and on the verge of collapse, severe Bronchial Asthma, High Blood Pressure, Magnesium deficiency.
I was told that my blood pressure and anxiety disorder are not playing well together and I need to get back on my medication for my anxiety as well as continuing to take my blood pressure meds. I was also told to get back on my allergy meds because my allergies can complicate my breathing and my asthma.
Basically, my medical problems are aggravating each other and making me feel worse than I would already.
I was also told by a nurse practitioner that she believes my thyroid may have been damaged back in the mid 90’s when I chose a (then) experimental birth control medication called Norplant and it got recalled and I got stuck with mine. Back then, those that were “stuck” with them (because of the recall, no one would touch them to take them out if you were low-income) have developed thyroid problems over the years and they believe mine isn’t doing what it should be.
I’m back home now recovering, but this little trip to the hospital taught me some things that I hope I don’t soon forget. It has taught me that although it’s true that we usually do know our own bodies better than anyone else, that we don’t always know the severity of what might be going on with the parts we can’t see. Did I know I was sick? Of course I did. I knew something wasn’t right, but did I know how serious my situation was getting and how quickly it was getting there? No, I didn’t.
This is what scared me so badly. I hate hospitals. I always have. Watching my grandpa and my mom pass away in hospitals that couldn’t seem to do anything to save them diminished my faith in modern medicine to a large extent and I stubbornly refused to seek professional medical attention, even though those around me that love me were trying so hard to get me to go. They could obviously see or hear something I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) and knew it was past time for me to go get help days before I actually did. Had I listened to them and gone to the hospital, the diagnoses would have still been much the same, but without the added stress of I was practically on the verge of stopping breathing when I got there. I probably would have been given medication and sent back home to recover in my own bed.
I’m still a firm believer in everything happens for a reason though, and I truly believe that this was my wake-up call. I do know my own body, and I do know when something is wrong. I am fairly well-versed in herbalism (though I’m no professional herbalist by any stretch of the imagination) and I can pop off home remedies for many ailments from bad digestion to ear-aches, but when it comes to the organs I can’t see, the ones responsible for my very life, I will no longer be playing the guessing game. When it comes to (especially) my heart and lungs, I will seek out medical attention before I think I might be possibly dying because all jokes aside, I actually was dying and didn’t realize it.
Now, my asthma, which was always considered mild to moderate, is considered severe. My hypertension that I’ve been dealing with since I was pregnant with Witchlet 20 years ago, is now considered High Blood Pressure and I will be on medications for those for the rest of my life now and I’m most likely looking at a thyroid medication as well. All this in addition to the anxiety, allergy and sleep aid I’m already supposed to be taking.
No, I don’t really like taking medications, but I’ll tell you this, I think I liked the idea of dying a lot less, so I’ll take my meds and do what I’m supposed to do. I intend to be around a lot longer yet.
Ok, that’s more than enough for one day. I’m still weak and stressed from my near-death experience and I’m going to go rest a bit! Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!
Don’t forget to either join the linky or leave a link to your Sunday Dump post in the commets!
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…