Just wondering if anyone can offer me some form of guidance as to what to do next?, starting to really struggle !
I'm Simon, a 31 year old Computer Consultant.
I was originally diagnosed with Asthma when I was about 11 or 12, and had the usual Ventolin / Becotide combination. This carried on for many years, and was never much of a bother, other than the increased coughing etc whenever i developed some sort of cold or chest infection.
When I was in my mid 20's I had some rather rapid weight loss (about 7 stone in 6 months), and at that point, I was playing football 2 times a week, and going to the gym pretty much every day, without so much as taking any form of inhaler.. So, clearly I thought i'd pretty much got it licked.
As my later 20's and early 30's have come, Iâ€™ve plonked on a bit of weight, but not lots..(I blame having a child :o)...) and Iâ€™m not AS active as I was, but still reasonably fit, and again, still haven't so much as had to touch an inhaler (other than with a bad chest cold for e.g.) for years.
A couple of weekends ago, I had some kind of Flu / bug, which left me with a high temperature, and quite short of breath, A day or so later still struggling to breath properly, I was advised to go to A&E.
I went to the local A&E department early hours of the Monday morning, and they could tell I was struggling, so pretty much straight away put me on a nebuliser (1st time ever..), and this seemed to at least improve things a little. They prescribed me some â€œPredisaloneâ€ , â€œSalamolâ€ and some Anti-Biotics, and sent me on my way about 2 hours later (once my peak flow had improved some).
I ended up having to go up to London for some work commitment, and on the Wednesday (after not being able to sleep all the previous night, through shortness of breath, which didnâ€™t seem to be relieved at all by the Salamol.) I ended up in Chelsea and Westminster A&E. Whilst I was there I explained the situation, that normally my Asthma doesnâ€™t even really exist, let alone bother me to this extent, but that Iâ€™d been in A&E earlier in the week with the same problem. The doctor on Duty decided to send me for a Chest X-Ray, which apparently showed some â€œHoneycombingâ€, I was then asked lots of questions about my work / home environment, in terms of dust etc, but I explained non of that is an issue. The Doctor then wrote out a note for me to pass on to my GP for a Referral to a respiratory specialist..Again, my peak flow improved after the nebuliser, and I was prescribed some â€œstrongerâ€ Anti-Biotics, and sent on my way.
On the Thursday, I went to see my GP, with the referral recommendation, and copy of the Xray, however, was told that this can take quite a few weeks to come back.
On the Friday of that week, I was again struggling, and was back in my home town now (Southampton) and ended up in A&E again, where they put me on a nebuliser again, and took another X-ray of my chest, This time the doctor said it showed nothing, and told me that my chest sounded clear, and to just â€œtake it easyâ€. (yes, I did feel particularly â€œfobbedâ€ off this time)
Saturday and Monday, Ended up in Southampton A&E again, with exactly the same results, Nebuliser, more steroids, oh and perhaps a change of Anti-Biotic. Each time, I tried to explain to the doctor / nurse / student / that was dealing with me that, this is NOT normal at all for me and that I canâ€™t go on, keep having to come in to A&E for relief... Each time, simply being told that I need to allow things to start working.
I appreciate that A&E is there to do a job, and thatâ€™s stop people from dying I guess... so, as soon as I could breathe more normally, on my way.
On the Tuesday, Iâ€™d made an appointment with the GP, and this time the response I received was a lot more sympathetic, The doctor suggested that we took some â€œsputumâ€ samples and sent those off to be tested. And that she was going to change the Anti-biotics to something â€œeven strongerâ€ and gave me more â€œPredisalone. She also suggested that I needed to take some time off work to allow things to get better more quickly. I was also asked if I had any private medical cover, to speed up the referral to the respiratory specialist, (which I do have... however as my Asthma is a â€œpre existingâ€ condition, Iâ€™m not covered.)
On the Thursday morning, I was struggling quite badly again, really short of breath, and finding it hard... so, again, I went to A&E in Southampton. I though this was going to head down the exact same route as it had every time before, but the Doctor who saw me was understanding, and could see from my notes that Iâ€™d been in and out. After the usual Nebuliser, and Chest X-ray, she could tell I was still struggling, so decided to admit me. After a couple of hours of waiting for a spare bed, I was taken through to a general admissions ward, where I was eventually seen by a doctor, who wanted to put me on regular nebulisers to see if that stabilised things. This doctor believed that my Asthma had been triggered by some sort of viral infection, and although my chest was â€œclearâ€ my airways were not.
After a wonderful night (full of screams, shouting, delusion, not mine I hasten to add), I was seen by a â€œspecialistâ€ the next day. She very much seemed to know what she was talking about, and was profusely apologetic for the apparent â€œmismanagementâ€ of my case, and said that I should not have been repeatedly discharged from A&E as I had been. She then went on to change my Becotide Inhaler to â€œQ-Varâ€, and told me to use an Aero Chamber. I was then told, that this should really help clear things up... I was to carry on using the nebuliser during the day, but she asked me to try and go the night with just the Salamol, and that if I managed that then they would be happy to discharge me on the Saturday, as clearly I was improving. Someone would come and see me on the Saturday to discuss my progress.
Another wonderful night in a different ward this time (but still plenty of screams, shouts and delusion), I was visited by a chap who, whilst very friendly, I can only assume was a junior doctor. (The ward I was on was organised chaos, people complaining, staff not knowing who was in charge, really was crazy). The Doctor then had a listen to my chest, told me it sounded clear, he then looked at the drug charts, which said Iâ€™d had a nebuliser 3 times through the night (which I hadnâ€™t, not even once, there wasnâ€™t even equipment for me to do it with, as I was told to ask for it if I needed it), so he couldnâ€™t discharge me. Clearly you can appreciate my frustration at this point, having hardly slept for 2 nights, and then being told Iâ€™ve taken drugs that I hadnâ€™t... Anyway, I ended up â€œdischargingâ€ myself, as clearly I knew the truth, and persuaded the doctor in question to prescribe me the extra anti biotics / steroids that Iâ€™d been told Iâ€™d need.
I thought, I was starting to get better, Saturday and Sunday werenâ€™t too bad, still short of breath and got tired really easily, but things seemed to be getting better.
On Monday Iâ€™d had a bad night again, so arranged to go see my doctor. At my local surgery, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve seen the same doctor twice, so itâ€™s not so much a GP.. The chap I saw this time was very dismissive, and basically told me that I hadnâ€™t given things enough time. I then started to say about needing to go back to work, and quality of life etc, so he started to pull out the â€œSick Noteâ€ pad asking me how much time I needed off work.... This wasnâ€™t / isnâ€™t the point... I want to get better, not learn about daytime TV. When this doctor examined me, I wasnâ€™t in particularly bad shape, and my peak flow was quite an improvement from when Iâ€™d last been to that surgery. The only thing he was prepared to do was to get in touch with the respiratory clinic to see if there was any way of speeding up the referral.
So, here we are, Early hours of Wednesday morning, Iâ€™ve just got up again, really struggling to breath, really tight chest.. the Salamol has given some relief, but I just donâ€™t see how I can go on like this ?
I guess Iâ€™m asking if anyone else has been in a similar situation ?, and if so what they did about it ?
This is totally driving me mad.
Thanks for reading all that waffle