Do you need to go to the hospital?

This is the question my loving wife has been asking me about 1-4 times per day for the past….3 months or so.  I was telling a friend just the other day I’ll know this summer of asthma hell will be over when I haven’t heard “the question” for a few days.

This summer all started back in May when I had what I’d call a “flare up.”  One thing led to another, I caught a few bugs, overdid it way too many times, encountered drywall dust from construction in my workplace and I keep hearing this is the worst allergy season ever.  Just this past week I was starting to get better and then took a turn for the worse with a fever.  The doctors thought I might have pneumonia, which scares the crap out of me, but fortunately the chest x-rays came back clear.  That probably sounds like great news, which it is, but I’m still on Levaquin, more prednisone, doing 7-9 nebulizer treatments a day and generally feeling like crap on top of my 13 other maintenance and emergency medications and treatments.

Today marks day 62 of prednisone this summer and went something like this…

  • I actually felt tired around 3am and got about 5hours of sleep – first time I’ve slept in about three days.
  • Upon waking up and feeling proud that I’m no longer a zombie, I immediately realize I haven’t had a neb treatment in 5 hours and feel like I’m chasing symptoms all morning.
  • By around 2pm things start evening out and I’m actually able to walk around the house without feeling like I’m going to fall over and try to entertain my daughter to give my wife a break.
  • Dinner time rolls around and some family stopped by to eat with us.  I was starting to feel a little lousy but wanted to make the effort to sit at the table for a meal ( you know, just like in the Spiriva commercials!).
  • After dinner I started to help clean up, take care of dishes, etc when I started to feel bad.  My wife told me if I needed to take a break to do so.  I lounged on the couch and tried to chill.  This is when I realized my pulse was around 105 and my O2 sat was at 93% so I did another neb.
  • Fast forward about 45 minutes and for apparently no reason I’m at 88-89%, PF is at 320 and my pulse is a solid 115 all while I’m about as chill as a Buddha statue.

Now here is one of those several times where I was asked, “Do you need to go to the hospital?”  The normal answer would be, “yes please,” but I’m not normal.  For some reason I have to live on the edge…that and I don’t always make good decisions when I can’t breathe.  In the back of my mind I had a feeling this wouldn’t last too long, and thankfully it didn’t.  I also just hate going to the ER cause it’s never fun and it’s like I’m admitting defeat.  After about 90min I was able to stabilize myself into the 93% range and my PF was up in the 400s – not great but also not in the need to go to the ER realm.

So tonight I’m once again out on the couch watching movies (Alien anthology tonight) as I continue monitoring my numbers and promising to wake up Liz  if things get bad.  I did happen to come across a cool blog with lots of great stories which is giving me something to do.  I’m not nearly as bad as Stephen, but I can definitely relate.  It’s not often I come across people on the internet writing candidly about severe asthma and always appreciate it when others are wiling to share their stories.

  • breathinstephen

    Great post! Thanks for the kinds words too. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such a rough time on the pred taper. Judging from your symptoms, Id say you definitely have severe disease. Id love to hear more about your asthma if you want to contact me privately 🙂

    • Thanks! I must have been sending you an email at the same time you were leaving a comment. I really appreciate you sharing your stories on your blog. Just knowing other people are struggling sometimes makes me feel like I’m not crazy some days.

  • breathinstephen

    Haha, you’re not crazy Ben ( well at least not any crazier than most people on prednisone:-) There are lots of us out there dealing with the same thing.

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