Hi all, I was admitted to my local hospital on Weds night with the worst attack of my life so far. This was my first time at this hospital having moved to the area only recently; other hospitals have previously sent me home even when I was in distress, because I don't present normally;
1) My pulse ox always has a normal reading.
2) My peak flow doesn't drop.
3) There's no wheeze audible in my chest.
I was determined not to take no for an answer this time, and I knew I wouldn't be able to speak, so I briefed my husband in advance to advocate for me. Thankfully they listened and I was admitted, but I had to fight for everything I knew I needed; I had to fight to stay on oxygen, the nurses kept turning it off due to my high pulse ox reading (interestingly, I had blood gases done in Resus and was borderline hypoxic but still had a pulse ox reading of 98!) I had to practically beg for a nebuliser, and when they brought it they only wanted to give me saline. I threw a (very weak, very quiet) tantrum until they gave me salbutamol, but that took nearly 2 hours of continuing respiratory distress on my part. Finally, they wanted to discharge me when I was still utterly reliant on oxygen.
In the end, an utterly bewildered doctor asked a member of the respiratory team to come and talk to me, so the hospital would be familiar with me the next time I attend. I talked to a wonderful resp doc who actually listened. I cried with relief. She took copious notes, took copies of letters I always carry from consultants, agreed that the usual tests don't work on me and ordered the nurses to follow my lead and let *me* tell *them* when I was ready to wean off oxygen, needed salbutamol, and ultimately was ready to go home.
And two minutes later a battleaxe of a nurse turned off my oxygen again. (I got her to put it back on, don't worry!)
The point of this long, rambling post is just to say that having to fight like this is indescribably exhausting, on top of being utterly exhausted from just trying to breathe. A woman was admitted to the bed opposite me with classic asthma, and I watched with great interest the difference in the way she was treated and spoken to by docs and nurses compared with my treatment. I guess for the docs and nurses, someone like me is the unknown while that other woman is the familiar. I'm seriously considering compiling a set of flash cards to bring with me next time, so that I can repeat myself over and over without having to speak!