Pneumonia. Let’s not do that again.

So, I’ve been gone for a while, and it’s not for any lazy reason. While I was dealing with the death of my beloved kitty, I was also getting sick. At the time I thought, and was told that it was just a cold. It turns out it was much more.

My first mistake was going to Urgent Care when my doctor couldn’t squeeze me in on a day that worked. The Urgent Care guy assured me that I had what everyone else had (as he ignored me telling him about my lupus and other issues,) and gave me a prescription for Flonase to get over my “cold.”

As I was on the phone four days later to my doctor’s office with a ridiculous fever, no voice, and suffering much more than a cold I was regretting every one of the 30 minutes I spent at Urgent Care. The doctor immediately sent me for chest x-rays after hearing my symptoms, and had me come into the office in the afternoon. I was diagnosed with pneumonia, and put on some heavy-duty antibiotics.

Four days later, things were still not improving in any way. I called the doctor again. He insisted that I go to the Emergency Room to get more tests run, and get admitted to the hospital. I spent 5 hours in the ER waiting room that night. The triage doctors took my temperature when I got there, and they didn’t want to hear anything else about what was going on with me. I got more x-rays done, and blood work done. The doctor that finally saw me told me that I was wasting their time. My x-rays didn’t show any improvement from the previous ones, but they shouldn’t after only that many days. He gave me a cough suppressant, and an inhaler, and told me to go home to wait for the antibiotics to work. They didn’t take my temperature before I left, or they would know that they sent me home with a 103 degree fever that night.

A few more days later, and I was still not doing any better. My family insisted that I call the doctor again. The doctor insisted that I go back to the ER. I said no. I wasn’t going to spend another 5 hours in a waiting room to hear that I was wasting someone’s time. The doctor told me about a different hospital in town to try, so we went.

IV AntibioticsI didn’t have to wait at this ER because I had acute respiratory distress syndrome, and they immediately took me back to try to keep me alive. I was admitted to the hospital that night, and then the doctors spent days changing their minds about what was actually going on with me. My lupus and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) issues definitely made everything worse, so I had to stop taking my immune suppressant meds for a few days. They continuously pumped me full of antibiotics and steroids the whole time I was there. I think the final conclusion was that my pneumonia was complicated by asthma. There were a couple of CT scans, and a lot of blood work done to back up these conclusions. Asthma hasn’t been a problem for me for about 10 years, but that’s fine.

I was in there for 5 days, and I barely got out the last day. Luckily, my oxygen levels had started improving in the last day. The only reason they did let me out was because we had a family trip planned, and the doctor thought it would be good for me to breathe at sea level.

I should also clarify that when I say that I called, or talked to anyone during most of this process, it was my Mom doing the calling and the talking for me. I lost my voice very early in the first week of pneumonia, and it had only started to come back when they were letting me out of the hospital.

The other “fun” part of the process was that our insurance changed while I was in the hospital. We will see how that plays out in the upcoming bills. Woohoo!

I was released on Saturday afternoon. I had to have oxygen to go on our trip, and the oxygen company didn’t get the correct paperwork, so there was a scramble. They had brought the oxygen for me to get around town, and for me to be at my house, just not to get on a plane. Finally, it was done.

I packed, I washed the 5 days of hospital off of me, and slept for a couple of hours before we jumped on a plane for Orlando (that’s another story.)

I’m still on oxygen, but I get to wean myself down a bit until I see the doctor for my follow-up. I’m not completely well. In fact, I have to take a nap after most everything I do, but it’s fine. I don’t have a fever anymore, I’m not coughing constantly, and I know that there is a pneumonia vaccine that I will be in line for ASAP.

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