I've been trying to come to terms with what happened to me on Monday so I thought maybe writing this would be a start. I am usually a healthy 26 year old woman; I was born with asthma (Take two inhalers Symbicort twice in the evening and twice in the morning. I have a blue inhaler to be used as/when needed which I've never really had to use) although it has always been controlled...until it wasn't.
Last Monday I started experiencing hot sweats during work and pains under both my armpits and into my right shoulder, I presumed it was weather related/I'd somehow pulled a muscle in my shoulder (I live in Belfast and we ACTUALLY experienced some nice weather, a rarity here!) I take my dog a walk every evening after work, although on Tuesday I started getting really light headed and out of breath quite quickly, alongside some tightness starting in my chest. Again, I thought maybe it was down to weather/hayfever as everyone in work was complaining about the clammy heat.
Gradually throughout the week the hot sweats/getting light headed/tightness in chest started becoming more frequent and more intense. By Sunday I knew something else was going on and that I couldn't keep blaming the weather for my symptoms, therefore I went to my local out of hours Dr. I was in and out within 2 minutes with some amoxicillin tablets (antibiotics) which she prescribed saying she presumed I had an infection somewhere which was causing my symptoms. Can I just reiterate at this point that I have NEVER had any problems with my asthma, therefore I put my faith in the doctor and began taking the antibiotics that night.
On Monday morning I woke up and I couldn't catch a proper breath. When I was trying to talk to my boyfriend I felt like I was becoming breathless, therefore I did what the Dr had advised, took an antibiotic, my normal red morning inhaler and drove to work. By the time I had arrived at work (15 minutes from my house) I was seeing black spots and couldn't complete a sentence without feeling like I was going to pass out. I tried to tell my boss that something wasn't right, although at this stage my legs, feet, hands and lips had started getting pins and needles in them and I couldn't finish any sentences.
I panicked, I didn't know what was happening, my boss sent me home and I stupidly drove to my house as I didn't know what else to do. I wanted to be in my own surroundings. With the last bit of breath I could manage I rang my boyfriend and said "I think I need to go to the hospital"...he rushed home and within 20 minutes I was in my local A&E. I was taken right away, got bloods taken, blood pressure and heart rate was scarily high. The staff at the hospital were incredible - they gave me 8 steroid tablets, put me on a nebulizer and told me I was taking an acute asthma attack. It took another 2 nebulizers and 2 hours for me to be able to complete a sentence to speak properly to a doctor.
I was told they were checking for a blood clot in my lung alongside the asthma attack as I wasn't experiencing any wheezing/cough. The words 'asthma attack' had been spoken about in reviews but hadn't paid much attention because I had never had a problem, therefore I could never comprehend what a life altering experience it would be.
Three days on I am an emotional and physical wreck. I am exhausted due to not sleeping out of fear it will happen again, I am having to take my Symbicort inhaler up to 6 times per day rather than 2, check my peak flow and try to stop the multiple panic attacks from bringing on another asthma attack. The worst thing is I don't know what caused the attack to come on in the first place or if it will ever happen again. This means that something I was able to control for 26 years is now controlling me and there's nothing I can do about it.
Sorry for this long post - I'm hoping others can talk about this with me and share their experiences/give any advice as to what helped them if they have been though this, because at the minute I am no longer the bubbly, fun girl I used to be less than a week ago. I am now an emotional wreck who is terrified of being alone.