Recent Attack - Major Wake up Call (long post)

Evening all, apologies as I have not been on here for longer than I can remember!

Just want to share a recent experience I had with my asthma.

I'm pretty rubbish at controlling it, tending to puff away on my blue inhaler at least 2-3 times a day and never managing to take my preventative twice daily (I have a purple disc).

Anyway, some of my triggers are having a cold, or being stressed or generally run down. I am rather susceptible to having colds which as probably like many of you guys goes straight to my chest. Well I though I was developing a cold during one day, groggy head, developed a cough that just would not go away which was getting worse, by the end of the day, felt really rough, cough was really quite nasty and apparently looked rougher than a bears behind. By the time I was going home I thought I was developing an attack but combined with what I thought was a cold I never did anything about it that is until I got home. By this time it took me ten minutes to cross a footbridge over a train station, made it home and couldn't string a sentence together.

My wife eventually called for an ambulance, paramedics arrived quite quickly, had a bit of a temperature, breathing brought under control a little bit, oxygen levels were very low, a little under 90% and peakflow, well I could hardly blow 60. Got taken to A & E on blues and twos, first time my Wife was seriously concerned, particularly when the paramedic said that ""he's really not a very well chap"". Had several nebs, oxygen levels were not coming back up so ended up with having ABG's (5 in total so I was told) which was hovering at around 80%. If you have never had one, trust me, you don't ever want to have one, I think they peeled me off the ceiling after the first one. The A & E Dr thought that I had pneumonia. all the things I was connected to kept on making alarm noises and had nurses running round like headless chickens. Eventually when I was stable enough, I was transferred to intensive care for I understand around 24hrs and then taken down to a ward.

One thing that was ""interesting"" and not experienced before was that I have always been given 40mg of pred after an attack and never experienced any side effects. This time it was upped to 50mg, this blew my socks off, I was awake all night, my eye lids needed matchsticks to keep them open but I was wide awake and physically buzzing! so now know what that feels like to any poor person that suffers these side effects with pred.

Anyway, up shot was, I ended up in hospital for a week, was given a gsk spacer (had a volumatic before which for me personally is a waste of time and so was sceptical about the spacer but this I found was spot on). I had seen the doctors and they said they were not going to give me any anti-biotics as they thought that I didn't have a cold. Initially I was not convinced about this as I genuinely thought I had a could because of the cough. However, as it turned out, they were dead right. I didn't actually have a cold, I had experienced a major asthma attack. In total, I had 2 weeks off work it really screwed me up. I have had attacks before, but nothing like this, previously it has been a case of monitoring in A & E for 4 hours and off I go with a hand full of pred. Some of this is from what I have been told and some from what I can remember, I can't remember most of it.

One thing you did ought to know is that I am a smoker, and it is this that has brought on Asthma. Above is a good example for why you should stop if you do smoke. I managed for 3 weeks after this attack to stop smoking, it smelt disgusting and physically made me sick if I stood next to someone who was or had had a smoke. However, I fell off the horse and have started again. I'll be trying to stop again in the very near future.

Have now had a spirograph test, hmmm, apparently have the lungs of a 69yr old, I'm 39. It also suggested that I have mild obstruction..... COPD as well as asthma. Have changed my preventative and now on symbicort which is a massive change as well as taking it every day, breathing is much easier. Combinded with no smoke, life's good.

Thanks for reading, just thought I would share my experience, I still have major difficulties in distinguishing between a cold and an attack though, a working progress.

5 Replies

  • Hugs!! Really severe asthma attacks are terrifying!! Longest admission has been 2 weeks and was very poorly. And was discharged a couple of days ago after 5 days after (for me!) a not too severe attack!!

    Symbicort is good if it works for you :-) my PEFR variation stops me inhaling it :-(

    ABGs are awful :-( but if it's done well you can hardly feel and get very little brusing!!y wrists are a horrible state at the min though :-(

    Are you now under a consultant? Hopefully that combined with changing preventer (plz rember to take! Lol) and not smoking will help!

    Take care!!

  • Hi Laurs, not under a consultant, still with my Asthma nurse who to be fair is very good. The smoking has been very difficult as I have been a smoker for 20 plus years. Something else that came out over Christmas is that I now cannot drink alcohol, in particular red wine, one glass will put me in hospital with breathing difficulties. Gutted as now t-total.

    Yes, attacks can be scary and whilst I'd like to think I took things in my stride, I think that it was the worst one I'd have and can full appreciate anyone that suffers like this on a more frequent basis.

  • Hi Meady

    So sorry you have been so poorly, and I really hope you start to feel better very soon. It's good to hear from you again though, welcome back to the boards! I have never been in intensive care with my asthma I have only been to resus a couple of times. It definitely sounds like you should be under a consultant though. anyway all the best.


  • Hi Lejaya, good to be back. I had never really taken asthma seriously until now (my own that is). Certainly don't want to be back in A & E. I guess I am fortunate that I don't have too many serious episodes, maybe once / twice a year I will have a trip to A & E.

  • Just realised, it's been 5 years since I last posted on here!!!!!

    To add to the Asthma, I also have severe obstructive sleep apnoea and am on CPAP, makes breathing at night interesting.

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