Getting there

I saw my family doctor today and he said that while it is possible that I had a panic attack at work yesterday that it is unlikely that that is the underlying problem and that it is more likely the result of a major asthma attack and/or not being able to catch my breath or breathe properly.

He said that often during severe or life threatening asthma attacks, patients do not appear to be in distress, the chest may be so tight that no wheezing sings are present. He also said that the patient can appear pink and then can go cyanotic, which I did.

I remember last night that they kept asking me (both the EMT and a nurse) if it was normal for my face, chest and arms to be really pinkish red (my checks yes but not normally my neck, chest and top half of my arms). They started asking me about allergies. I also turned really blue at one point, my lips and my hands and feet (cyanosis) , while this was happening I started out with tingling in my hands and feet (which I had experienced throughout the morning before going to the hospital) that actually turned into almost complete loss of feeling. I could not squeeze the doctors or nurses hands when asked, not even when looking down at my hands and concentrating. I never mentioned that part to my doctor, I don’t know why but I did not think of it. Since Monday I have also been having coughing fits that leave me breathless and gasping for air. I was doing that in the office too. He said it sounds like it is possible that I may have whopping cough, which the doctor at the ER mentioned last night as well because I was doing it then too.

They both mentioned it being hard to treat and my family doctor said that they will sometimes treat it with Erythromycin, which I am allergic too. But then mentioned another antibiotic I have been able to take without having any reactions. He did not prescribe me anything yet because he wanted a chest x-ray first. He told me to go get it done right away, which I did right after my appointment. He said he should get the results tomorrow most likely. He has put me off till Monday.

I am hoping he will get it back tomorrow and call me to come in to tell me what it shows (inflammation I think is what they are looking for and maybe fluid, I googled it…) and confirm if it is whooping cough and or asthma. He did not order any other tests or anything else yet, I am not sure why and I hate asking.

He told me that if I have difficulty catching my breathe again, are coughing till I turn blue or get worse in anyway to right back to the ER. He said 3 times in a short period will usually prompt them to start doing more tests and will likely get me in to see a respiratory specialist and force them to treat it as something other then a panic attack.

I personally think I am having panic attacks but agree with him that they are more a result then a cause.

Hopefully I will know what is going on tomorrow. I want to get back to work.

6 thoughts on “Getting there

  1. I’m glad to hear you are getting help from a doctor who will actually investigate this.
    Asthma makes me think.. are you taking inhaled steroids? That’s a standard treatment over here, that keeps asthma under control, instead of Prednisone pills (inhaled gives less side effects). I’d think you have something like that if you’ve had asthma for so long.

    1. I am only on Prednisone for 5 days, 1 50mg pill every morning for 5 days. I am also taking Ventolin, 4 puffs, 4 times a day, sometimes I have been having to take more then that, which the doctor told me was fine if I feel short of breath or am wheezing and it does not go away on it’s own over 10-15 minutes or gets worse rapidly.

      I have had a Ventolin inhaler around for years, I keep one always but I honestly only use it when I get a cold or sometimes if I exercise to much or get too cold in the winter. I honestly think I have taken it more in the last week then I have in over a year or two put together. When I did take it it was 2 puffs every four hours only when needed. Which when seeing my family doctor on Thursday he said take the 2 puffs every 4 hours even if I did not feel like I needed it for at least a week to a week and half till he saw me again.

      Initially last Thursday (a few days after I started getting sick on the preceding Sunday) I was given a prescription for Zithromax from my family doctor as well, which I was told to wait till Friday or Saturday to fill and only fill If I did not start feeling better by then (by my family doctor). I took that Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

      On Monday when I went to emerge from work by cab the doctor told me to stop taking it, he put me on a Ventolin mask then sent me home with the Prednisone prescription and told me to up it from 2 puff to 4 puffs every 4 hours for 4 weeks or so, and to follow up with my family doctor.

      I did that all day Tuesday but I kept having coughing fits (though not as bad as I have been having today), and shortness of breath 24/7. I slept sitting up on the couch (maybe 4-5 hours of sleep, if that) and went to work yesterday. By the time I parked my car in the parkade and walked the little bit to the building and up to my desk I was wiped out and breathing heavily. That went on for about 2 hours with coughing fits and really struggling to breathe, it just got worse and worse, I took my inhaler (4 puffs) an extra time around 11:45-12 and then told my coach I was really having a hard time breathing again. It escalated to hyperventilating and that’s when they decided to call an ambulance.

      My heart rate was a little high but my chest sounded fine and my oxygen was 100%, they did a quick EEG and said it looked normal enough but I was moving (shaking) at the time. They redid it again at the hospital, gave me ativan which made me start coughing so bad I was whooping (at which time the doctor mentioned whooping cough. They sent me home saying it was just a panic attack even though the second dose of ativan make me cough so much and then struggle for air (so bad I was no longer coughing) and turned my hands and feet and lips blue. Which is when I had no feeling in my hands or feet and could not squeeze the doctors or nurses hands. They made me breath in a paper bag which helped and then sent me home saying it was anxiety. The ativan left me seeing double for hours and I could not concentrate on much,

      Since then I have been coughing in fits that last from 2-10 minutes and sometimes I have a bit of a “whoop” and sometimes I do not, often I throw up or spit up phlegm. Which I was doing at the doctors office today which is why he said he did not believe this was just “anxiety” and said that there was something else there, but what he was not sure, he explained about severe asthma and sometimes the quite chest and normal oxygen levels and also explained what whooping cough was and sent me for an x-ray.

      Told me to keep taking the Prednisone and the Ventolin as per the hospital doctors instructions and go back to emerge if I get worse for a 3rd time, he told me they usually look a lot further into things on the third time of being there for the same thing over a short period of time and start doing more and more tests and getting specialists involved, and here I am now waiting till tomorrow to see if they get the x-ray back.

      In the meantime the coughing fits are getting longer, the cough more violent and the throwing up more frequent. If it gets to bad tonight I will go back down to the emerge again.

      1. It really sounds like whooping cough to me, actually. But however, I’m really glad you have a doctor who takes this seriously.
        During the last year I’ve been thinking that maybe I have some kind of asthma or at least hyper sensitive airways because every time I get a cold, I get such terrible cough, the last time I had coughing fits that lasted for 30+ minutes, and I remember thinking that if this happens again I’m going to shoot myself. But rather than doing that I think I’ll try to see a doctor and ask if he/she thinks I could be helped by Symbicort or Pulmicort inhaler (inhaled steroids).

        1. I have been trying to get a couple of good recordings of the cough on my iPhone, my aunt is also a nurse also and I wanted to see if she would listen and give me her opinion on the cough itself. I am really having a hard time with it. My throat is raw from it and I am still having an issue catching my breath.

          So far the inhalers are helping but not getting rid of it, which I suppose makes sense if it is whooping cough because if I do it is likely aggravating my asthma which is where the inhalers come in and help but I suppose they will not help with the whooping cough (if that is what it is) itself.

          I find with my asthma that cold can really bother me. Hot too. I need to be at a comfortable temperature if I am having issues with my asthma. I find walking somewhere on a really cold winter day takes me breath away so bad.

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