Pleural effusion? Meant to be back to work tomorrow.. Help :((

Hi, just to give a bit of background on my illness.. I'm 21 years old and have been suffering from chronic pain and illness for around 2 years now due to multiple health conditions. Endometriosis & bladder/kidney problems were the first issues I had. I was working on getting these things resolved and going private and then debilitating joint pain took over about 6 months ago.. It was something that started very subtle and has just got worse with time especially in the past 2 months. Stupid me just kept suffering in silence afraid to go to the doctor in fear of being told something I didn't want to hear or having to go through rigorous tests again which I've been through before. Went to the doctor about 2.5 weeks ago on a Friday who ran blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis and prescribed naproxen for the pain. I took the naproxen as prescribed and still felt really ill complaining of chest pains although my joint pain seemed to ease a little. By Sunday night I was lying in bed with the joint pain so severe If I didn't know better I thought I had a broken arm. My chest then got very sore and I was struggling to breathe, my fiancé said I looked grey and phoned 999. Got taken to hospital and told I had a pleural effusion and also that naproxen had re triggered childhood asthma so I basically gave myself an asthma attack by taking the naproxen and was also told I was allergic and basically never to take it again. They tested for RA again in hospital and the test came back negative, naturally I was happy about this and the doctor said it could be early onset? So I was referred to rheumatology by my gp. For the 23 hours I was kept in the hospital they gave me a total of 2 painkillers while I was in excruciating pain with my joints & chest and struggling to breathe properly. They gave me no antibiotics or treatment for the pleural effusion and said that "it was so small the X-Ray mayaswell have been normal". I'm not happy about this at all , after getting out of hospital and over the two week period that I've been off sick I have not felt remotely better. I've been prescribed inhalers which have helped my breathing a bit but the pains in my chest/ribs and top of my back are horrendous. I have lost almost a stone in weight because my lack of appetite and nausea is so bad. I cannot sleep properly because of the pain I'm in and also I'm having horrendous nightmares. My doctor wanted to sign me off for longer but I insisted on going back tomorrow. I've just got up out of bed with horrific pain between my shoulder blades and in my ribs. Naturally I'm worried the fluid in my lungs has developed into something else due to it not being treated and still feel sick. I just feel cold and shaky all over and so unwell. I'm not prepared at all to go back to work tomorrow and the thought of it is making me anxious and tearful. I thought it was the right thing to do because thecompany aren't supportive and I'm afraid of losing my job and also to just try and get on with normal life. I don't know if the pleural effusion and RA can be related? I'm afraid of having to go back to hospital and I don't know what to do about work. Can someone please help or give me advice I just don't know what to do, I know this isn't completely lung related but I really need advice and someone to talk to, feel so isolated and scared

20 Replies

I am so sorry you are feeling so ill. Maybe you need to go back to the docs rather than back to work? You could also trying ringing the nurses on the BLF helpline for advice. They are open during office hours on 03000 030 555.

Ad get your doctor to look into B12 Deficiency esp with your Endometriosis

As to pain that could be muscle pain effusion

Hope ya start feeling better soon

You are having a truly horrible time.

I'm a tad confused about the RA. Your GP tested for RA, what was the outcome of that? Then you were tested in hospital and the result was negative which means that you do not have RA. But later in your post you seem to say that you do? If that is the case then there are many conditions that can be caused by RA. Including lung problems. Have you had a CT scan?

Is your GP helpful?

Push for more tests, it sounds very difficult. And you are very young, have you got friends and family to support you through this nightmare as well as your fiancé?

Good luck and tell us how things go

K xx

My GP tested for it on the friday, then I was admitted to hospital on Sunday and they didn't have the results back from the test the GP done so they re-done it in hospital. The doctor told me that despite the negative result it could be early onset which doesn't nessacarily show in your blood, I'm just going by what she told me as I haven't done much research on it since being out of hosp. All I've had are chest X-Ray's and ultrasounds (not recent), no ct scans. My GP is kind and understanding but there's a lot of "Come back next week" and the like and then I suddenly get random letters in the post to go to hospital for loads of random ultrasound scans etc. It's all just so back and forth and because I'm working full time at the moment I don't have time to go to the doctor and I'm afraid to ask because I've been so unwell and had time off. My fiancé & family/friends are extremely supportive thank goodness but because work is such a huge part of my life and they are so unbelievably unkind & unsupportive it puts a massive strain on me and obviously I'm afraid of losing my job also. Thank you for the kind words x

And at the end of the post I meant if it is what this doctor said could it be affecting my lungs. I'm really in the dark obviously about what's going on and what is connected to what, because right now there's no concrete answer and it's hard not to go into overdrive thinking about it x

I do sympathise with not knowing. Your mind will just go over and over the possibilities, a hamster wheel of confusion. You seem to be in bind over work: it is important to you but your employers are not supportive. Very unpleasant.

The medical side will get sorted. You need doctors who are open minded, can think outside the box and keep in mind all the variables in your test results. I am a great believe in patients being informed but some of the web based stuff can be scary. So take it all with a pinch of salt.

No job is worth sacrificing your health for.

Imagine that you are advising a dear friend who finds herself in your situation and then take her advice. Be gentle with yourself.

All the best and let us know what happens next, people on this site really care for each other.

Love and hugs

K xxx

Have you been tested for anaemia? With endometriosis this could be an option and as said above lead to low Vit B12 and low iron. This could be part of the reason for joint pain.

It is not unusual to be allergic to certain aspirin type pain killers if you have asthma.

You really need to be referred to a specialist. If I were you feeling as you do and having lost so much weight I would go to casualty. Preferably at a different hospital to the one you went to before if there is one near you. I have done that when my partner was poorly. We got in the car and said we had gone to do some shopping as he was feeling better the day before and that morning but had felt so bad whilst walking around town etc etc. He then got treated at that hospital where his own GP had ignored his concerns.

There are some good suggestions in the previous posts, Kerrimc - hope that these will help you find a way through this horrible health maze you've found yourself in. Hoping you get some answers and feel better very soon.

Hi, I too am sorry for you in this nightmare of pain. Just want to say please, please don't avoid going to the doctor. They need to keep your medical records up to date with every bit of history for the future, for referrals to work towards getting a diagnosis. The sooner you see doc is another step towards a diagnosis. Please go for all the tests, again for your diagnosis.

Toci's suggestion of calling the helpline is what I'd advise too. Call office hours.

All the very best to you. P

I think if I was you I would take doctors advice and have more time of work , you cant work if unwell and if you have sick notes they cant sack you , hope you get everything sorted out take care

Sorry to disallusion you mmzetor but they can and they do sack you even with sick notes. It is not illegal. You are not sacked for being ill, you are sacked for not being at work and fulfulling your contract. x

is there no legal rights now if you are ill ,

It depends on your circumstances mmzetor and I only know in the UK. If you have been at a job less than 2 years you can be sacked easily unless you are pregnant, on grounds of race, or sex and a think a few more which I can't remember.

After 2 years you then have full rights and your employer has to be much more careful when sacking someone, unless it's gross misconduct. Otherwise they have to go through the company's procedure and follow health and safety law.

So eg if you are ill and your employer knows that they have a duty of care towards you. They have to make every effort to keep you in your job by making 'reasonable' adjustments such as extra leave, different duties, longer breaks etc. Bearing in mind that these are always subject to 'business' requirements.

As long as they follow the law and your employee rights as stated in your contract then you can be dismissed for illness. If they haven't made RA etc. you can then take them to an employment tribunal and might win the case. If they have followed everything correctly then no chance.

I know this coz I was dismissed from my last job with the Civil Service for illness (well for having too much time off due to illness). x

ah I see ,when I had been on continues sick for a year my boss gave me a Christmas card and another envelope with what he said was a tax form in so didn't look at it till I got home , when I got home it was my p45 , I went to the union and they wrote to him and basically said pay him off or we will take it to tribunal he wrote back said there must have been a mistake and I wasn't sacked my job was left open till I was well enough to return , they said because he said that they couldn't do any thing but in end doctor wouldn't let me go back , don't know how that p45 managed to jump in that envelope by its self ,

That is the position I'm in at present coughalot and know that it's a matter of time before they get me out... I work as a Teaching Assistant. Hate the fact that they will get me out for something that I have no control over and something which I would wish on anyone. X

Hi, so sorry to hear that you are going through such a bad time. I can't give you any medical advice, but you've had lots of good advice in previous posts. I really think you should go back to docs and get the information and tests you need

Please don't go back to work too soon, as you will only feel worse in the long run if you don't give yourself time to recover properly. Take care,


Bless you Kerrimc, what a terrible predicament you find yourself in. Just try and sit calmly and think about how you are feeling right now and that work is not an option. Your place of work do need to be a little more supportive and you need to have further tests to find out exactly what the problem is and what can be done about it. I hope that someone else can be more helpful but I am sending very best wishes to you in the hope you can get to the bottom of all this pain and upset.

Do let us know how things go for you and get back to your GP immediately. Maybe someone can go with you as support.

Lots of love, Carole xxxx

Thank you all so much for your kind and helpful responses I appreciate it so much.. Went back today to find my manager had arranged to move me to a different store behind my back when I was off sick & lied to me about it. X

Hi Kerrimc,

Please look after yourself before thinking/worrying about your job. Health is much more important xx

Hey everyone quick update I've been struggling on at work.. Came home today at 4 and was so exhausted went straight in and lay down on the sofa in my full work uniform. I haven't been sleeping at all so I have been really drained. Got changed and came in and haven't moved from bed since. The pain in between my shoulders and ribs is still there, the pain in between the shoulder blades is so bad now it feels like someone is literally putting a knife in my back. My breathing seems to be okay at the moment and my cough hasn't came back it just seems to be these pains that have stayed. Does anyone know if this could be related to the pleural effusion, sorry I know I should be seeking medical attention but due to the horrible treatment in a&e the last time I'm reluctant to go back :(

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