Saturday, February 8, 2014

ANOTHER Friday Night in the ER

I swear this isn't how I like to spend my Friday nights, but it happened AGAIN last night. This post is kind of stream-of-consciousness, so apologies if my writing isn't up to par! I'm sorry if you're sick of reading about my breathing stuff -- I'm sick of it too, but it's just been such a major part of my life for the past few months...feel free to skip right over this post if you wish!

Anyway, right before dinner on Friday evening, I started coughing and it wasn't bad enough to use my inhaler, but my neighbor was worried because it was like 25 minutes of straight coughing.

It seemed to sort of resolve itself a little on its own, but halfway through dinner, it got worse again and I was wheezing, coughing, and feeling kind of dizzy. I don't like to cause a scene, so I just sort of withdrew from conversation and put my head between my knees in the hopes that it would resolve itself until I could get back to my room to use my inhaler.

I wasn't really listening to the conversations going on around me, just trying to focus on breathing, but apparently my friends were getting worried, and one of them grabbed my key and went to my room to look for my inhaler. She couldn't find it since it turns out I had put it in my coat pocket (I usually put it in my backpack). At this point, a couple of my friends wanted to call campus safety for me because my breathing just sounded whistly and choked up and just...not so good, but I ended up going back to my room and using my inhaler.

It seemed to work for a little while, but then the wheezing and the coughing came back with a vengeance! My chest was tight and painful, and I could inhale fairly well, but exhaling took a crazy amount of effort. I just felt like I couldn't get the air out.

I went to sit in the lobby outside my dorm because sometimes that seems to help (a lot of times, the hallway outside my room is full of smoke or perfume and that always exacerbates things!). A friend sat with me and we talked for a while and I used my inhaler over and over and over again...eventually things seemed to get a little better again -- not 100 percent, but I felt as though I could breathe okay.

I went back to my room to study for my chemistry exam (which is on Monday) and after about twenty minutes or so, I felt as though I was suffocating again. It was such an awful feeling, like drowning without water, and the inhaler wasn't helping as much as it usually does; it definitely helped, but breathing still felt like work.

I wanted to see if it could get better on its own, so I went back to the hallway to sit for a while. After about an hour, things still weren't improving, and two of my friends happened to pass by. They sat with me for a while while I tried to breathe and eventually we decided that maybe it was time to call campus safety.

An officer came, and he happened to have asthma, so he took one look at me and said that I needed to go to the ER because my wheezing was awful and it was clear that breathing was taking more and more effort as time went by.

It was MIDNIGHT at this point...and I just want to take a moment to be grateful for my amazing friends; they both came with me even though I said that I didn't mind going alone, and they sat with me in that emergency room for THREE HOURS. We didn't get back until after 3 AM. The ER trip wasn't fun by any stretch of the imagination, but they made it not so bad by cracking jokes to make me laugh and discussing life and taking my mind off the fact that I couldn't breathe very well.

Anyway, it was a lot of waiting around (I spent about an hour just lying there while my symptoms got worse!), but eventually the doctor listened to my lungs and gave me a nebulizer treatment because it sounded like an asthma attack. The nebulizer worked like a charm. He explained that sometimes with asthma attacks, the inhaler seems to work at first to a limited extent, and then things get worse again, which is what happened to me. Being able to breathe smoothly again felt like the best feeling in the world!

I got some MORE medicine to take on a daily basis because he said that the medicine I'm on now isn't strong enough to combat all of the triggers I'm encountering at school (cold air, secondhand smoke, etc.), and he listened to my lungs after the treatment and said that they sounded much better, so I was free to go.

It wasn't exactly how I envisioned spending a Friday night, and I'm hoping that I never have to visit the ER for this kind of emergency again (isn't twice enough?). The doctor said that the stronger medicine in combination with the Singulair should get rid of my symptoms to a point where my asthma (or, I guess it's still "suspected asthma" at this point, but he called it asthma) is under control. Fingers crossed that he's right because my chemistry exam is enough to deal with at this point without adding in breathing issues! (And yes, for those of you who were wondering: I did tell my mom! ;-) )

17 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness this is horrible! So sorry to hear!! But you know what I was thinking the entire time I read this (and other similar posts)? "Wow, she has a lot of friends, and they're always around when she needs them". So isn't that a nice message for me to take away?! Feel better!! (and glad you told your mom!)

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    1. Thank you, Tracey! And you are so right...my friends are amazing. YOU are amazing too. Thanks for the support! xoxo

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  2. Glad you told your mom. Well done you.

    That your friends stood by you and went with you is WONDERFUL.

    Is there any way you can get a nebulizer to use at college? I don't know the ins and outs of these things, but I have a friend with CF, and she's had a nebulizer at home since I can remember.

    Glad you wrote this out of you. I really hope your lungs give you a break for a while, and let you study and prepare without hassle.

    All the best for the exam x

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    1. Hi Lizzi! Yeah, actually just before Christmas break, the doctor at my college wanted to write me a prescription for a nebulizer. Since I was going home the next day, I figured it would be easier to just obtain an prescription from my primary care doctor at home, but I never ended up doing it because my breathing was improving. That's a good point, though -- I'm going to go to my campus health center this week and see if I should get a nebulizer after all. Thanks!

      Thank you for your comment and unwavering support! xoxo

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    2. *hugs* Do it. Could be a really really good idea. Especially if your doctor already wanted you to have one.

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  3. Sheesh!! You know there is no frequent visitor card for the ER! Stay out of there! Please!! :)

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    1. Haha I know! I hate having to go to the ER...I'll do anything in my power to avoid having to go there again!

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  4. Having friends who will help you out and just be with you in situations like this are so great! I went to the ER myself a few weeks ago, due o my own breathing problems triggering some periods of rapid heartbeat. Turned out it wan't really harmful, just uncomfortable and draining. I had a friend drive the there and he stayed with me for part of the time. It worked kind of great in another way. He lives very close to the hospital, so he actually went home for dinner when I went off for x-rays and such, then he came back and stayed until they let me go. Having a friend ... especially one who is level-headed and not panicky ... made all the difference.

    I have a nebulizer which I only occasionally use, but when I do, I'm glad I've got it. So, for what it's worth, there's an endorsement!

    You may have said this before, but are there no non-smoking dorms? Or is that a silly question?

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    1. Hey Andrew,
      So glad to hear that your breathing problems weren't harmful, but that must have been so scary for you! And that is so awesome that you had a friend there to support you. I TOTALLY agree. My friends made all the difference in the world, and I am so so grateful to have so many people in my life who have my back.

      I will definitely look into getting that nebulizer...thanks! And yes, there are non-smoking dorms (not a silly question at all! After hearing me cough in class, many professors have approached me afterwards to ask if I live in substance-free housing, haha.) but the main one is too far from the dining hall. Because of my CP, it's not exactly practical for me! My friends are urging me to move to another floor in my dorm though, because apparently the floor I live on now is unusually smoky (not a ton of people smoke at my school, but I must have just gotten a couple neighbors who do! So unlucky!). I'm a little hesitant, but if things don't get better, I'll probably have to consider it.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your two cents! I love hearing what you've got to say.

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  5. Kerry, you scare me!!!! I am such a Mum wanting to come over there and look after you! Thrilled you have such good college friend support and I really hope this condition becomes manageable with no more er trips!

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    1. Bron,
      Aww, thank you so much. That means a lot. My mom came today, actually -- and I hope this gets better soon, too! Fingers crossed!

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  6. Damn, sweets. I'm so so so so sorry that you had such a crappy (again!!!) Friday night but am also thankful (so much) that you have wonderful friends to talk you through the doubt and get your butt to the ER. It really does sound to me (not an expert of course) that you have both asthma and severe allergies, and that a nebulizer would be perfect. Get one for your room. And? Is the whole weird mold/icky furnace thing resolved???
    I'm proud of you for telling your mom. I felt like that line was for me. Email me, if you need a kick in the you know what. And good luck on your exam, you. You're lucky (and not) that you're smart enough to pull off these tests with less study time while also taking horrifying trips to the ER. I hope the trips stop. I worry about you, but you already knew that, yes?
    XO and all the best stuffs. Stuffs with a plural on purpose.

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    1. Kristi,
      Thank you! I'm grateful for my friends as well...I'm not so sure I would have gone to the ER if it weren't for them, or I would have waited until it got much worse. And the weird heating thing is sort of fixed; I forgot to mention that! Someone came and looked at it and said it was really dusty/icky, so they cleaned it out for me. My heat doesn't have a weird smell anymore! But then they sprayed deodorant and disinfectant, so my room smelled like Purell for a while and that definitely didn't help things! I think it's just now starting to smell normal again though, which is good. Thank you for worrying about me, and yes, that line was very much for you! xoxoxo

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    2. Wow, so glad that the smell is gone. I'm very very allergic myself (which I've mentioned) and can walk into a house and know they have a cat, so I'm glad they got the furnace thing fixed. STILL text me or email me if you need to okay? xoxo

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  7. Anytime you start that little coughing fit it's likely time to use your inhaler. I have the same trouble some nights and if I wait too long it takes the medicine longer to do it's job.

    And just throwing this out there, it won't work 100%, but if you are ever in a place where you forgot your inhaler and you start to have breathing troubles, drink something with strong caffeine in it, as it will alleviate some of the tightness in your chest until you can get to your inhaler. Coffee and coke work best but black or green tea can help too.

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    1. Thanks for the tips! I'll definitely keep those things in mind, and I probably did wait too long the other day...I wonder if I could have avoided the ER trip if I had used the inhaler at the first sign of trouble.

      I really appreciate you stopping by with your advice!

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  8. Still so glad you had such awesome friends around you! <3 <3 <3

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