My Illness: This is where it starts to get real.

This post is the third in a series on my Necrotising Aspergillus Pneumonia illness.  Where have I been?  On a journey, to say the very least.   If you’d like to start from the beginning, start here.

April 5, 2014 brought my brother to visit us for the first time.  His goal was to look for a job and a place to live while he was out here for a week.  Here’s a pic of my brother and I at a local pizza place.  I was plumped up from the last two rounds of steroids:

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On April 8th, guess what?  While driving him around to get applications, I realized that I had a little bit of a dry cough, not persistent, but several times throughout the day.  Three days later I was wheezing.  My doctor couldn’t get me in, but I told his staff the capital B was back and I was trying to nip it in the bud.  Even though he couldn’t see me, he ordered an antibiotic and steroids (Although this link does not say that weight gain is a side effect, it is and it was.).  Back on the nebulizer.  Back on the mucinex.   When I heard steroids again and actually started to cry.  Just as I was getting over the weight gain from the last round, I was starting them up again.  Come on!  Three times in 4 or 5 months?!

I swear I was calling his office every other day saying that I wasn’t getting any better.  After a week he was able to see me and upgraded my antibiotic to Ketek again, and upped the dose of steroids.  He said that I was pretty sick (and this was after a week of being on antibiotics and steroids).

A few days later I was in the middle of working a shift from 6:30am-1:30pm in my per diem registration job at the hospital.  My co-workers were actually running my patients to the departments they needed to be at so that I could just sit there and register.  By 10:30am my supervisor was telling me to go home.  As I left, I called my doctor saying that I wasn’t better at all and I could be getting worse.  He ordered a chest x-ray and was able to squeeze me in to see him the next day.  At this time I started spitting up mucus with blood in it.  Results?  Pneumonia in my right lower lobe.  My doctor said that by him just listening to me, it was much worse than the radiologist report made it sound.  He wanted me to go to the Emergency Room to consult with a Pulmonologist to see if I should get admitted for IV antibiotics or if I would be able to go home and take care of it myself.  Again he mentioned maybe sending me to National Jewish Health, when I felt better, to see why I kept getting sick.

The planner that I am, I stopped home (which was on the way) to pack some things just in case I was admitted.  I didn’t want to burden my husband or sons with packing everything that I needed/wanted to bring.  I also called my youngest son to see if he could get me something to eat while he was out of class for his lunch break (he was a high school senior).  His school is right next door to the hospital, and I was heading that way at lunch time.  Who knew when I’d get a chance to eat!  He told me that he’d leave taco bell for me inside his truck, and that he’d leave the key to it in the bed of his pick-up under some wood that he had in there.  Yes.  I, with my extreme difficulty breathing, was climbing into the back of a pick-up truck.  I still had no idea how sick I was.  At least I had food to eat while I was in the exam room.

I asked my son not to tell his dad about the hospital. He was working out-of-town and who even knew if I was going to be admitted or not. .  Before the Pulmonologist even saw me, the ER doc was admitting me…and immediately taking me off the antibiotic and the steroids.  He told me that I could be there anywhere from 24 hours to six weeks.  SIX WEEKS????  He did say that he was exaggerating, but it does happen.  I called my husband and told him what was going on, but I also said not to bother coming home. I told him that it was just pneumonia that got out of hand and that they’d be giving me IV antibiotics. I would just be lying around resting and getting better.  Visitors weren’t necessary.  The more I rested, the sooner I’d be out of there.

This is where I “thought” I’d be spending my whole hospital stay:

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Once I was settled, I checked out the menu. HELLO!  At this point, I still had an awesome appetite.  Room service was great!  I ordered large healthy meals, and then a couple different desserts for the first few days.  That probably didn’t help with my steroid weight gain!

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Keep reading! This entire series, which is still an ongoing issue, consists of separate posts in order to divide them into bite size reads for you.  You can read the next post here.

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