I’ve had my share of crappy diseases. In 2008 I was diagnosed with pneumatosis intestinalis, which is basically pockets of air on my intestinal wall, which can be painful but normally doesn’t affect my every day life. In 2009, I was sick with swine flu for 2 weeks, that was miserable. And of course, like everyone in the world, I’ve had my fair share of just common illnesses that ranged from meh to oh God, run me over now.
But in my almost 22 years of life, I have never, ever experienced anything like when I had pneumonia.
Week 1: 6/2-6/8
It all started in the last week of May 2013. I woke up one day with the sniffles. It was really, really a mild thing and I didn’t think much of it. I had a very mild cough and just a runny nose, it didn’t bother me in the least.
Week 2: 6/9-6/15
I celebrate my 2nd wedding anniversary while noticing my cough is becoming progressively worse and worse. I decide to finally go to the doctor after I suspect I may have bronchitis. I go to a Take Care clinic and she diagnosis me with acute bronchitis, acute sinus infection, and pertussis (whooping cough). I begin an antibiotic and rescue inhaler.
Week 3: 6/16-6/22
Still not feeling better. Wake up in the middle of the night and find myself coughing up blood. Immediately go to Urgent Care. Found that the previous doctor did not prescribe the correct antibiotic for pertussis. Am prescribed a new antibiotic as well as a codeine cough syrup. A chest x-ray is performed and no “severe dangers are found”.
Week 4: 6/23-6/29
Progressively getting worse and worse. Coughing attacks have ripped my lower back muscles so that I cannot walk. Ribs are getting worse every day. Can’t sleep for more than an hour because of coughing attacks. Consistently throwing up with the attacks and cannot keep down any liquids, foods, or medication. Go into the ER and they sedate me to get the coughing to stop. They perform another x-ray. Same results, cannot find anything life threatening. Prescribed another antibiotic and a stronger cough syrup with anti-nausea medicines. Am referred to a pulmonologist. Try going to another family care doctor after I spike a high fever but they second the pulmonologist reference.
Week 5: 6/30-7/6 No eating, no sleeping, no drinking. Can’t perform daily tasks. Cannot keep any medications down and the little I do makes me extremely sick. Finally hear back from the pulmonologist and say they cannot see me until the end of July. I tell them I cannot wait that long and have a young child that is being exposed. The pulmonologist pulls up my ER x-rays and asks if I can come in immediately. I go in only to have him say he cannot find anything life threatening. He says we can try another antibiotic, another cough suppressant. I tell him that I absolutely cannot take anything orally as I can keep nothing down. He says the only other option is to be admitted into the hospital. I am admitted on Wednesday, 7/3.
The pulmonologist is located in the hospital and I am directed downstairs to admittance. I am brought up to the patient rooms only to be told my room is not ready. I wait in the waiting room for almost an hour. When I am brought back, it takes hours for the pulmonologist’s orders before I can begin any medications. Finally, they try to insert an IV only to find that my veins are collapsing from fatal dehydration. They have multiple (painful) attempts to insert the IV before finally getting success in another vein. I begin saline fluid and am advised to eat but after I do, I immediately cough and vomit everything. They start 2 antibiotics and 2 cough suppressants as well as percocet for a horrible headache and the pain in my ribs. Am taken very late at night to a CT scan for my chest though I was never informed. Afterwards I am left to try and sleep.
I am woken constantly in the night for more medications as well as to get my vitals taken. My heartrate is dangerously high and am still running a high fever. I manage to keep breakfast down for longer than normal but still lose it. After a few hours of resting, my nurse comes in and begins a new IV antibiotic. When I ask what it’s for, she responds it’s for the pneumonia. I am shocked as no body mentioned anything about any sort of pneumonia. She says, “Didn’t they tell you the results of your CT scan?” and when I respond no, she says the doctor will explain when he gets in. I spend the day relaxing and watching the fireworks on TV. I am given another IV antibiotic only to start screaming that my arm is on fire and try to rip out the IV. My veins had reacted badly and the antibiotic must be diluted. I am also given multiple anti-blood clotting shots in my stomach.
My husband has to go to work so my sister comes to take over in helping watch T and help me with anything that I need. With the antibiotics and cough suppressants, I am able to keep food down. The doctor comes in the early afternoon to explain what has been going on. He says I have a severe case of pneumonia in my right lung. He says he does not understand why it did not show on the xrays but it was very, very present in my CT scan and that he cannot hear my right lung at all. He says that if I had continued without treatment, I would have died. My ribs are bruised, almost cracked. I am put on 4 antibiotics, 2 cough suppressants, anti-nausea, and percocet. He comes in later to check on me and says I am safe enough to recover from home. I am given 2 antibiotics and 2 cough suppressants.
Week 6: 7/7-7/13
I am home recovering. I can’t lay on my left side as my ribs are severely bruised. I can’t lay on my right side on my stomach as my stomach is horribly bruised from the shots. Can’t lay on my back as my muscles are torn and I don’t know many tummy sleepers! Am starting to sleep better and able to keep food and medications down. I progress every day.
Week 7: 7/14-7/20
After a week of recovery, I am FINALLY well enough to go back to work. I have been working from home for the past 4 weeks. I am still coughing and still in a little pain but SO much better. I am so grateful to my family, my friends and co-workers, and to God. It scares me that I could have died but I know that God was looking out for me.