I had a sore throat which progressed to a chest infection in 4 days. I was given two courses of antibiotics which failed to work. I went to see a doctor at my regular surgery to pick up a new prescription but didn't end up getting it. He was concerned that I looked so ill. I was pale, had cold sweats and was breathing heard and fast. He did a few tests. My blood pressure was okay. My heart rate was in the 120's. Normal resting heart rate is 60 - 100 beats per minute. My respiration rate was 39. Normal respiration rate is 12 - 16. My oxygen stats were 92%. Normal healthy oxygen stats are 95 - 97% He took me back to the surgery room and hooked me up to some oxygen while he called an ambulance. My oxygen stats went up to 93 with the oxygen hooked up.
The ambulance arrived with three lovely paramedics. I did feel quite silly going to the hospital let alone going in an ambulance. I was told I was much better ff this way because they could give me oxygen on the way if I needed it. The paramedics were quite chatty and seemed to be happy to have a patient who was nice. They got me to the hospital without incident. I had some paracetamol for the headache though. The lovely Calum set up my IV cannula while we waited for a bed in the Emergency Department.
Once in the emergency department (ED) I had a lovely nurse who did all of my obs and hooked up an ECG. My ECG was fine. The rest not so great. Oxygen went down to 89. When the hooked me up to oxygen they could get it up to 96. As soon as it was taken off, I went hurtling back down. They listened to my lungs and found they were crackling on the right side. I had some blood taken and some more arterial blood done as well. Arterial blood draws hurt. I was questioned about any family history of blood clots and cancer. They were frequent and repeated. Off I went for xrays. I had an obvious infection in the bottom right lung. The doctor came back and said he thought I had pneumonia and that his colleagues wanted to do a chest CT but he didn't think it necessary at that time.
I was sent up to a ward and hooked up to IV antibiotics, oxygen and given oral antibiotics as well. I was taken off the oxygen and seemed to be able to maintain an acceptable percentage on my own. I still had an unknown illness but atypical pneumonia seemed to fit the bill. The next morning I was moved to isolation as they decided I may have pertussis also known as whooping cough. The following is my running narrative from the time in isolation.
As I sit here in isolation at the hospital , I wonder why we start thinking the way we do. Since I got here in the ambulance at 1 pm on Tuesday (20/01/15) the doctors have been bandying around a bunch of different theories as to what is going on. First it was the thinly veiled cancer and blood clot questions followed up by x-rays, oxygen hook ups , and antibiotics. There was further talk of a CT of my chest. There have been a million blood draws including arterial, which I might add hurts a lot more than I imagined! A bunch of doctors and student doctors have listened to my lungs all coming up with atypical pneumonia.
I spent the night on oxygen, frequent obs and IV antibiotics. Then there were more blood draws and more listening. The latest scans have shown an infection in the bottom of my right lung however, the new theory is whooping cough. I am the 'special' on the ward. I get the curious looks and whispers in the hall. I haven't been told much other than don't be near people when I cough or breathe without a mask on.
It is a never ending army of ducks with the pale yellow beaks and muted voices. I have been sitting here hoping they are wrong and that I can be allowed to be with other humans. I hope that I am not in hospital for long. I am starting to desperately want writing paper... any paper to write or draw on. May be my laptop so I can put these thoughts straight into digital format ready to be uploaded later.How about my camera? There are a million photos in this room just waiting to be captured. May be I could draw a little smile on the little white notice board! Oh! A panorama of this little room with its heavy double doors, one with a window in it for them to look in. There are two huge windows which have just let in a few rays of sunshine in. So warm on my skin. My O2 must not be fantastic I am rambling and my writing is getting worse. I think this gone from a blog post to streaming thought!
This hospital was extended recently. The ED is new, the ward I was in seems to be fairly tidy. This one is old and grotty with its stained dated carpet. The marked walls and floor. The gloomy rooms. I thought perhaps it was just me but the staff here seem to have far less time for patients. They are run off their feet and have small tribs of student nurses wafting about looking like deer in headlights.
The gentleman in the bed next to me in the other ward had a fall which landed him in here. Apparently he is a 'frequent flier' alcoholic. He has an amount of neurological deficit and switches between lucid and being somewhere and somewhen else. It was certainly making life hard for the nurses and the allied health trying to assess and help him.
The man directly opposite was homeless. He was a little bit grumpy because he was quitting smoking. Other than that he was helpful and polite to everyone.
The lady diagonally opposite was suffering from a huge chest infection. She has moved here from New Zealand. Her husband has a job here and she is looking for work. The government can cancel their visas at any time and send them back.
Lynda, Cian and Leigh can u to visit bearing gifts including this pen and paper. It makes a huge difference to have people come to see and be silly with you.
Cian did better than my little smile!
I am now home and resting. I have a mask on my normal giant bear as well as Isobear. They are fighting with Kim and James over who will look after me. The day after I got home, the hospital called to say it was not whooping cough but is mycoplasma. Walking/atypical pneumonia. I have another two weeks on antibiotics and then another chest x-ray to see how things are progressing. According to the lovely doctor I saw yesterday, it could take months to recover completely.
I'll be taking a lot of time resting and doing not very much for a while. Much better than being as very very sick as I was when I was sent to hospital.
I hope you are looking after yourselves and staying well.