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Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Message Board

Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Board Index

Strange new world
Feb 5, 2014
Hello everyone. I am a 47 year old male. I smoked when I was a teenager but quit a long time ago. The pounds have been piling on for the last few years, and I weigh about 245lbs, with a height of 5' 10".

About 2 years ago, after my son was born, I kept catching colds and illnesses from him that he was picking up from daycare. Slowly my health seemed to decrease. I always seemed to be on antibiotics and had sinusitis and a bad cough.

About a year ago I was referred to a pulmonologist. He said my sinus was badly infected, put me on a 28 day course of antibiotics and refereed me to an ENT.

The ENT said my entire sinus had been infected and gave me another 28 day course of antibiotics. He told me I had a deviated septum, 80%/20% but unless it caused further issues, he would not operate. He then referred me to an allergist.

The allergist said I was allergic to dust mites, mold and dog hair. He said it was causing asthma. He arranged for me to have 40 weeks of injections to try and change my immune system responses. Before the treatment could start however, I become unwell and had to reschedule the shots.

I started to have a high fever and saw my doctor twice in one week. By the weekend I felt so unwell I started to think something was seriously wrong. I told my wife much to her surprise I thought I was dying, and asked her to drive me to ER.

When we arrived I was diagnosed as having flu and bilateral pneumonia. The ER doctor showed me an X-Ray and said he could not believe I could walk into hospital. My Right lung was almost a complete white out. They put me on an IV and started to feed me three types of antibiotics and did a heart echo.

After laying flat for the heart echo I started to destat. My blood oxygen levels fell even on oxygen and I was transferred to ICU. As I rolled into ICU I suffered respiratory failure and was put on a ventilator. I had acute lung injury at that point. I was put on the highest level for the first night, then I started to show signs of improvement, and after a second night, I was taken off the ventilator and put on high flow oxygen.

After a couple of days I seemed to be slipping backwards and getting worse, so blood cultures where taken. I had picked up a secondary bacterial infection. A super bug. I was put back on three types of antibiotics again and I started to improve again. After 11 nights I was sent from ICU to a respiratory ward. I was weaned down to 3% oxygen and sent home with oxygen support.

I was very weak after returning home and had strained my leg in hospital. I also picked up a cold almost as soon as going home. It took a while before I came off oxygen support. About two weeks.

A couple of days after coming off oxygen support I was taken by ambulance to ER with Hypertension emergency. I had blood pressure of 200/130 when the ambulance arrived. The hospital suspect stroke and I was given a CAT scan. The CAT scan was negative. i stayed in ER for 4 hours but my blood pressure was 120/74 so I was sent home.

The next day felt as if breathing was getting harder, and I started to cough up specks of blood. I was scheduled to see my primary and have a follow up chest X-ray a couple of days later, so I toughed it out. Over the next couple of days I started to feel increased pain when coughing and the amount of blood I was coughing up increased.

I saw my primary and had my chest X-ray. It was my son’s birthday so my wife and I drove to the shops and got my son a birthday cake. When I got home there were two messages waiting from my pulmonologist and primary care. They said that both of my lungs had collapsed and to get to ER ASAP.

My wife drove me to the nearest ER, and I walked in and told them what was wrong. They looked at me as if I was crazy and told me to sit and wait. My pulmonologist arrived and had me ushered into ER. The ER doctor was incredulous I could walk in and took a second X-ray to confirm the diagnosis. The diagnosis was confirmed. Two collapsed lungs.

My pulmonologist had called a lung surgeon he knew at the hospital, and he put two catheters in between my lungs and put the tubes on. I was moved to a cardiac ward and given pain medication. My lungs re-inflated and about 3 pints of fluid was removed from the right hand side of my chest. After a few days observation and lots of X-rays, I was sent home.

I had a follow up X-ray a few days ago and my lungs are still inflated. I am seeing my pulmonologist in just under a week. But I am suddenly living in strange new world. I am banned form exertion for 6 weeks. I am weaker than I used to be. I am more active now, cooking, going to shops etc. But that is all. I am due to return to work in three weeks’ time. I have no idea how I will deal with the mile walk from the train station to my place of work.

Now what do I do next? Everything is different now. I am weaker. Things take longer to do. My eyesight is very poor. I have sudden pain that seems to come from nowhere. After a couple of hours of being busy I feel so exhausted I start to shake. I am less focused and find it hard to think sometimes. I am not sure if things are going to be OK ever again.

How do I go on, and continue? My son is two years old, so I must find a way forward. 16 more years of being able to earn a wage before I die is my goal, but failing that, at least 3 more until my son is at public school so I can pay for my son’s daycare until then. My wife should be able to continue financially without me as long as my son is in school. I figure any time I get after 3 years is a bonus, but my wife should be OK financially if I can make another 3 years.

How do I get the time I need?

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