Sorry, everybody - I think this might turn out to be quite an essay!
Maybe you remember me writing on here about having to cancel our holiday to Greece because of a COPD exacerbation? That was early June and since then, all has been well. The insurance company paid out (hoorah) and we spent some money on doing up our dining room, which involved lots of shopping, tidying up, shifting boxes, shifting furniture etc. No problem with my breathing at all - through all of it.
Monday, we went shopping in various stores and I felt that my breathing 'wasn't quite right' - ok - I could walk alright, but it was a bit 'off'. Then, that evening, both hubby and me suffered sudden sore throats and chest congestion! Oh, no. Tuesday, I had a bit of a temperature and a headache - so took paracetamol. Breathing was ok still - dry cough. Wednesday, breathing became uncomfortable. Couldn't walk upstairs without pausing (I usually run up the stairs) and O2 had dropped to 91 (usually 96/97). As per my instructions, I used the Ventolin inhaler. That did nothing to help my breathing and sent me into a spiral of anxiety. My breathing became frantic. Chest heaving - gasping for breath. I tried to sleep downstairs so as to avoid having to go upstairs (had to pee in an old spaghetti container!!) - but eventually went upstairs to bed but didn't sleep. All night I was coughing up dark green stuff and breathing, even laying down, was dreadful.
Thursday morning, hub called the surgery. They are VERY good when you mention COPD. One of the doctors phoned back and, after listening to me and my moaning, he said another doctor would call at lunchtime. The doctor (a new one) arrived and she was lovely. Said it was probably a viral infection, but gave me antibiotics anyway. Doxycycline. A relief because I generally get Amoxycillin which makes me very ill and doesn't work! She also prescribed me steroids, but after listening to my moaning about how they affect me adversely, suggested I see how I was in 24 hours - and if was no better, to take the steroids. I took the first dose of Doxy in the afternoon (always with anxiety - as I've had allergic reactions to an antibiotic before - came out in hives and had to call ambulance). Breathing, though, continued to get worse. Copious amounts of junk coughed up. Decided to try the other inhaler I'd been given as a alternative to Ventolin. Can't remember the name - begins with B (I think!) Big mistake! By 7pm, I was in the biggest panic ever - just couldn't catch my breath or get comfortable. Literally crawled up the stairs to try to relax on the bed. Couldn't even do that! I realised I was hyperventilating, but couldn't stop and finally got to the point where I felt there was absolutely no air in the room and I couldn't breathe at all. I banged on the floor with my feet. Hubby came running. 'Call an ambulance,' I said - 'I'm about to die'.
The ambulance men were lovely - really lovely - and so kind. They gave me a thorough examination. My lungs are clear, apparently - so where the heck is all this disgusting gunk coming from? Temperature, slight. Bp ok. O2, 91. Blood glucose 4.5. They even did an ECG, which was fine, apart from my heart was beating a little too fast. But the very best thing they did was to stick a nebuliser on my face - this was attached to an oxygen cylinder, but there was something in the nebuliser and I didn't think to ask what it was. Does anybody know what it's likely to have been? It worked absolute wonders on me. My breathing became normal almost immediately. I was on it for about half an hour and when I came off my O2 was 98 (it soon dropped to 91 again though!). And ever since, although my breathing still isn't wonderful, I am feeling so much better. I would be very happy to purchase whatever it was, to use in an emergency such as I had yesterday. It's very frustrating to me that all the inhalers I've been given do nothing to ease my breathing - they just make me worse.
Thanks for listening!