Round two

I don’t know where to start but want to keep people update and am still hoping for some ideas, comments or suggestions on what I should do next if this keeps happening. I really am a bit lost. And I really need to get this figured out ASAP. Is there something important I am missing? Or that they are overlooking?

And sorry another super long post. And I promise I will visit some blogs tomorrow if I do not end up at the hospital again.

I left work by ambulance because of the same thing as Monday, only it was worse. I spent the morning alternating between coughing and struggling for air, it got worse about 30 min of taking my inhaler (Ventolin) and I got really itchy and my hands feet went numb again. I let a couple of coaches know and they called an ambulance.

The EMTs at first said that all my vital signs were okay while we were still at work, they asked it I wanted to go to the hospital so I said yes, I really felt weird and did not want to stay and have to have them send for another ambulance later as I had a little less then 6 hours left in my shift. The EMTs walked me out to the ambulance.

On the drive one of the EMTs (never noticed names) was talking to me and noticed that I had my hand on my throat and was struggling for air again. I was also having a hard time concentrating on his face. Everything was blurry and doubled. I kinda slid back in the chair and appeared to have passed out. At first he just shook my arm and that was enough to wake me, I told him I was sleepy.

He told me to not go to sleep to just stay with him and keep trying to talk. I did this one more time before they got to the QE2.

While that EMT went to register me, the driver came to stand by my wheelchair and was talking with me (pretty one sided since I could only grunt, shake my head yes or no (then get really dizzy), while talking to me, he moved closer and asked if I could putt the front of my top down a little.

I said yes and he asked if I knew how red my chest was under my throat and the cheeks and sides of my face. He said it was really warm to the touch, an indication of a severe allergic reaction that usually accompanies hives.

He asked if I had ever gone into anaphylactic shock and I said yes, 5 years ago. He picked up the phone can called in to the hospital. I didn’t understand what he said as it was all in codes. But the other guy started driving a lot faster and turned the lights on.

When we got there the EMT in the back stayed with me while the driver got a wheelchair. The EMT in the back with me went to register me while the other one brought me to the triage nurse. While we were doing that the other one came back and said “she’s going right into a room to be hooked up to the monitors”, just waiting for it to be cleaned.

A few minutes later one of them rolled me into the room and they both had to lift me out of the chair onto the bed as my legs were numb again and wouldn’t hold me. The numbness was traveling up from my hands and feet into my arms and legs.

By the time they got me in the bed I was shaking uncontrollably but felt warm. They got me a blanket anyways and then left.

Cory was there by then and was sitting in a chair beside my bed.

A few minutes later nurse came in asking me what was going on, so for the third time (EMT, Triage and then Nurse) I tried to talk but it was really hard. I could only get 1-2 words out at a time. After pretty painstakingly (on both our parts, but she was sweet) I was able to give the story again and correct a few things the EMTs got wrong or the Triage nurse did.

A doctor came in fairly soon and said he wanted to give me an Ativan in case this was anxiety related and then have a EEG and spirometry test done.

A few minutes later a nurse came in and he gave me the Ativan. I layed there as quiet as I could considering I was shaking still and still gasping for air. The EEG technologist came and and did the EEG which did not come out very good as I was shaking uncontrollably again. She left.

The girl doing the spirometry test came in and tried to hook me back up to the monitors as I had to used the washroom a few minutes before and she was concerned about my shaking, wheezing and whooping. She listed to my chest and had an odd look on her face. I think she could see on the outside I was wheezing and whooping when trying to breath but you my lungs were clear… go figure.

She took off the the nurses station and I could her telling them what was going on and then basically railroaded her and told her to get back in there and do the job she was supposed to be there for not theirs. So she did.

She explained to to me how to do the test which is really easy in theory. After she sets it, you hold the two ends (fits in your hands it’s not big), take a deep breath in, close your mouth around the mouth piece and one it is sealed you blow the breath out steady and hard until she says stop or until you just cant go any longer. Simple enough?

Anyone with Asthma or COPD or many other lung diseases would likely disagree with that. I am 34. I was diagnosed with it at the age of 5. 29 years of this test and other older tests and they are not as easy as it seems.

When she told me to take a deep breath in I told her if I breath too deep I will start coughing. She said everyone says that and it’s never that bad. Besides you heard the nurse it needs to be done. So 1st try: and immediately I started a coughing fit that lasted for 5 minutes. 2nd try: I spit the breath back out before I could even try to hold it cause I was coughing. 3rd try was a 10 min coughing spree.

She said we would take 5 min and try again. So I layed there concentrating on breathing slowly in and out, in between cough fits. They we tried again. This time we got all three. However on the first one I took the deepest breath I could till I felt the couch tickle, then blew out, it did not come out very well. Second one went about the same I did not make it to her stop and started coughing immediately. The third was so bad because it work except I felt pressure to cough half way thought and held it till she said stop. She left.

That started a coughing fit that lasted 10-15 min followed by me shaking really bad and my breathing became really labored which caused me to hyperventilate again. It got so back that I lost all feeling in my arms and legs.

The nurse grabbed a doctor (not even the one that was seeing me that night) and he said my hands and arms were very blue and so where my feet. They tried to have me move my toes and I could’t move anything, he stuck his fingers in between my curled up hand that I also lost all control over and told me to squeeze. I could not even make a finger twitch. On my own I tried to lift my arm and leg from the bed and they would not budge. And I was tachycardic again.

He said I was actually in real trouble this time, he got another Ativan and put it under my tongue in case it was anxiety and a paper bag to blow into to increase the levels of carbon dioxide in my blood and said that I would pass out soon if they could not get it under control. It worked after a while but I semi passed out twice while they were making me breath in the bag, I started to slide off the bed.

The cause if it all though, the cough, was back after the hyperventilating stopped.

So when the doctor came back in he gave me a prescription for Ativan and told me that the spirometry test came back normal. Which in all the years I have had asthma I have never every had one come back normal. Not even when it was not all that bad at that time. I really don’t know how to take that one.

I really think that there is something missing, something I did not tell them (even though I ended up telling them tons of irrelevant things), or something that I did but that they over looked.

He told me to keep taking the prednisone and the 4 puffs every 4 hours of the ventolin and added the ativan and said to keep taking the antibiotic too as he figures I may well have had pneumonia.

Then he said “There is one more possibility: pertussis (whooping cough) and in adults you often do not have the “whoop” sound when they breath in like in children and adolescense” and that they don’t bother testing for it because they can not treat it.

(Not true… It can be treated by antibiotics because it is a bacterial disease caused by Bordetella pertussis.)

I am also guessing he did not hear the whooping sounds from earlier. But still, the timeline for it might fit. But I would assume that that would be something they can hear. And since my lungs have been clear thorough all of this and my oxygen saturation was in normal range.

It’s just left me feeling more confused. Did/do I have pneumonia? Is it my Asthma, am I having panic attacks and hyperventilating or do I have whooping cough? Oh and the Ativan gives me double vision… how am I supposed to take that at work?

6 thoughts on “Round two

  1. And then I saw this post. Hun, I have no words for you because I’m just as puzzled. Most of what you’ve described gives me the initial reaction that you’re allergic to something. Could it be an under lying allergy that is causing all of this to happen and your body to respond strangely? Have they run any blood work to check for anything else? Antibodies or anomalies? Is it more than one thing effecting you? You initially had pneumonia and then that set something else off as the pneumonia was clearing up?

    This is really puzzling, I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know if any of the above questions might help you think outside of the box. I hope, though, you get it figured out.

    1. I was really puzzled too but my trip the my family doctor today has me feeling like I am getting somewhere. He sent me for a chest x-ray and thinks that either or both asthma and/or whooping cough are both likely culprits. If I get worse again I will go back to emerge.I don’t really think it is an allergy though I did at one point. I am just gonna wait and see what my doctor says.

  2. So the first thing they did was to give you Ativan. That’s upsetting to say the least. At least it should be given to calm you down, not because the doctor thinks it could be anxiety related before even ruling out anything else. Why not start with steroids (faster acting, not prednisone) and a nebulizer? Now if the lungs sounded clear, fine, maybe that wouldn’t have helped. But I’ve seen Combivent help people with dyspnea caused by pleural effusion, and then it shouldn’t help, but it often does.
    They should have taken new blood work to check at last CRP and white blood count. These will probably be elevated if there’s an infection. They should send you for chest x-ray and allergy tests.
    You didn’t say what happened then.. did it pass without treatment? Are you ok now? Do you have an asthma nurse or doctor you could discuss this with?
    The numbness could be a sign of a panic attack or something stress-related however. Recently, when a lady at work passed away, her son had some kind of attack like that, with numbness in his hands, and chest pain. Stress can play a lot of tricks with our bodies. But I think your problems sound like something more, especially with the redness/blueness of parts of your body, severe dyspnea, etc.
    I once had a patient who had similar symtoms. She would start cough and couldn’t stop, and then got severe dyspnea. Nothing helped and we had to sedate her with Diazepam. Everybody thought it was something psychiatric. I didn’t. The lady was referred to the university hospital, and I don’t know what happened to her. I’m sorry I can’t help much.

    What antibiotic are you taking? The ones recommended for pertussis is Azithromycin, Erythromycin or Clarithromycin, CDC also mentions other types but there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence for them. These three are not used for pneumonia in average people, so you probably have something else.

    I really hope this doesn’t happen again. But if it does, please get another doctor to do further testing.

    1. Actually Suzanne this helped me a whole lot I have a doctors appointment at 10:30 this morning so I am going to bring my phone and read what you said. Thanks so much!

      1. Hahaha, your doctor probably will think I’m annoying since I’m only a nurse. I’ve worked ten years with dyspnea patients though. But mostly with the ugly diseases (COPD, cancer and pulmonary fibrosis). The antibiotic info is from the American CDC website however.
        Good luck, girl!

        1. I did kind of bring some of it up. I am really beggining to think it is whooping cough and asthma both. But I will wait for the official diagnosis. I am going to call tomorrow and get an appointment for tomorrow or monday.

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