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British Lung Foundation
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When will I feel normal again after pneumonia?

I'm a 40 yr old non smoker. I spent 7 days in the hospital with bilateral staph pneumonia. I've been home 2 weeks and still dont feel good. It's not even so much tired, just feel blah. Depression and anxiety have kicked in and I spend most days just laying around crying. I'm worried about doing too much and relapsing, but I know I'm supposed to get up and move around. I know no one can tell me when I will feel normal, but I just want to know if anyone else has experienced this. I feel so alone, my family is trying to understand, but since my symptoms have almost gone away, they're not as sympathetic anymore. Can anyone share something that will give me some much needed encouragement?

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Hi I have never had pneumomia but have seen many others say it can take up to 6 weeks to start feeling better. Don't forget your body has been through a horrible ordeal so give yourself a bit of leeway at the moment. Hoping you feel better soon.

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It can actually take a few months to get properly better. Pneumonia is a tremendous assault on your system and leaves you very weak. The antibiotics you have to take to kill off the infection will make you feel weak and often depressed.

I had double pneumonia (staph aureus) a couple of years ago and it took a lot of exercise, gently just around the house, and building up as I felt able. And moving around exercised my muscles which had deconditioned from lack of use, and they started getting stronger and I felt more in control and with a purpose - getting better - which I knew I could work on.

It sounds like you are feeling out of control which will of course make you depressed and anxious. Try explaining to your family that you need support to get moving around and to build up your ability to exercise, but only as much as you feel capable of doing. They may feel helpless not knowing how to support you. If you want to talk it through with professionals try calling the BLF helpline (03000 555 030 office hours) - their nurses are very knowledgeable. Good luck and let us know how you go on. :)

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Thanks for the encouragement. I live in the states and we don't have anything like that to call. I wish we did. I feel so alone. My biggest hurdle today was that I felt better yesterday than I do today. I know there will be good days and bad, but it's hard to feel like you're going backwards.

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Wondering how you are feeling NOW. I am almost 1 year out and very weak and having breathing issues, low oxygen. I am 66 and have had this twice and several bouts of Bronchitis over the years, non-smoker. I feel 100!

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Im so sorry you are feeling so bad mayr. To answer your question, I was fine - I did get back to my baseline normal through doing a new PR course, then weekly PR maintenance sessions. I had been well for 3 years apart from a couple of minor infections.

BUT I have just had another bout of double pneumonia and respiratory failure and been in hospital for two weeks, home on 20th March and starting the long journey of building myself up again. With the respiratory failure I was having 55 litres of oxygen a minute pumped through me, didn't even know they could do that lol. Im now just on 1/2 litre walking round the house, and 2 litres when I exercise which Im starting to do very carefully, and mostly not needing supplementary O2 when resting.

Everyone is very weakened after pneumonia and without working on your muscles this may not change. The most important muscles to work on (though just my opinion) are your quadriceps - thighs - as they are your 'walking' muscles. Assuming you are fit to exercise, you could start doing sit-to-stand exercises, just start with one or two, and build up each day. I think people are scared of doing exercise as they won't be able to do a whole session, but you start from where you are, don't worry about anyone else's expectations. Do call the BLF helpline, number above. Good luck! :)

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Thank you for your input. I will try to push myself a little more. My oxygen is about 91-93. I have Depression and Heart Disease and a dysfunctional marriage, living in a isolated place. I am working on a new plan for my life when possible. I am 66 feeling like 86...I am hoping to get back into a Pilates P/T. I also am looking at shoes with good arch support as my feet hurt but I think that can be altered with the right support. I truly hope you can get back to a good place! M

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Hi I had bilateral pneumonia over Christmas spent 14 days in hospital. Please do not try to rush recovery. You are not alone in how you feel. There is a type of PTSD that can occur in people who have been seriously ill. Have you spoke to anyone concerning your low mood?

As others have said physical recovery can take months, I have only just gained my weight back that I lost. Being tired lacking any stamina is all part of post pneumonia recovery. Your body needs time to recover. It will take as long as it takes. Looking back it was 8 weeks before I started to really pick up and double that before I felt as strong as I had before.

We have had a number of posts concerning recovery from pneumonia, many feel like you do so you are definitely not on your own. Rest a good diet and light exercise is what you need NOT worry from a lack of understanding by your family.

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Hi mathnerd, please try not to be anxious as it will be added pressure on you to recover, I had pneumonia and was in hospital for 10 days I thought I was never going to get back to normal but once my GP told me it can take up to 3mths (depending on each individual)I just took each day as it came, you do need to do gentle excercise but you also need to rest when your body tells you, I am now fully recovered and back to normal you will get there but it is a slow process. I wish you all the best take care xx

Sue x

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Pneumonia can take a couple of months to get over. I had pneumonia a few years ago and was also in hospital, I used to watch my favourite TV and films. I would do a little bit each day, i put the washing on, prepare dinner all in short blasts.

Eat well and rest then day by day when you feel well enough do a bit more. When you can get out and have a walk it feels good.

Don't beat yourself up, take it slow you will feel better but it will take time. Take care x x

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Agree with everything others have already said especially 02Trees. 18 months ago I had A Viral Pneumonia that took me to Intensive Care for 19 days and Hospital for a month. Some days I feel as of I am still recovering from that episode in my life when my life was held in the balance so I have been told! Community Matrons still calling in regularly and great support from local GP surgery and my taking exercise regularly as much as I am able and having done a PR course again has all helped me to stay positive. Its hard some days but I try to be grateful for what I have rather than what I no longer can do, not always easy. But it can get better day at a time. Wishing you well.

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STOP crying it will not make you better .... family want to help and think they do but they want you to get better quick and back to normal which can sometimes take time as pneumonia really knocks your stuffing out .... try and fine 1 thing a day to do ... empty a drawer, start a book ... write a letter to a friend ... even draw a picture ... anything to take your mind off you .... I craft and I am so glad I do ... I also play a lot of games on my computer which gets my adrenalin going .... so chin up ... you are home and still breathing so keep posting and reading others posts ... some are so funny.... Take care time will make you better xxxxx

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I just want thank all who posted replies to Mathnerd. I thought I was unique in that it has taken so long to get well. I still haven't fully recovered and wondered if I ever would. I have progressed but extremely slowly but the replies have helped me be more positive for the future.

Thank you once again.

Dogcyrus

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Hello, I have Bronchiectasis with Pseudomonas colonisation. I also get Pneumonia and it really knocks me for 6. Try to take a gentle walk in the fresh air - weather permitting of course. Or perhaps you could do gentle exercises indoors, but near an open window. I find there's nothing that lifts my mood better than being outdoors where I can smell the flowers and hear the birds singing. All the best

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Hi Mathnerd, you don't say if you have have COPD? I have severe COPD and was hospitalised 2 years ago with pneumonia for 3 weeks. It took about 3 months to feel better again.

I think if you can move about at all and do some easy exercise no matter how slow you will feel better. Sitting round focusing how bad it is in your mind makes it worse. :)

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Was taken into hospital with suspected pulmonary embolism. Was 'only' pneumonia. Out after a week but still feeble. After 4 weeks was at GP for sick note (20 years sgo) and asked about when I should be thinking of going back to work. GP said I shouldn't be doing that yet as "You've not been well you know." Was another 3-4 weeks before I was back at my desk and another month or so before fully well.

Don't rush it, build up gradually.

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It takes a long time to get back to normal give it time and rest but don't stay in bed as that's not going to get you well

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I have had Pneumonia for the last 3 weeks - in fact spent my birthday in bed. I have had various illnesses over the years and Op's. I had pneumonia in Nov/ Dec 2015 and felt very ill but nothing like this. I have had numourous infections and seem to be on AB's over the last 18 months. My GP is marvellous lucky me. I cannot stop coughing and I am full of sticky thick mucous !! I have been put on Erditin as the mucodyne doesn't help nor the Carbasteine. I am steaming often, using my flutter and nebuliser a few times a day but as much as I clear another lot comes back. Does anyone know if Physiotherapy would help me. My GP and the respiratory nurses say that I am doing everything right ? Anyone out there who can help me please xx I am desperate to try ANYTHING xxx

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Hi Nitap, could your GP get you into seeing a Pulmonologist? (which is a lung specialist) Since you have been sick for so long, you definitely need to go back to the doctor. As far as physiotherapy, that is used more on patients that need physical therapy. Can you get up and move around some? That helps loosen the phlegm and so will a hot shower. In the meantime, I would contact my doctor. You need a lung specialist according to your entry. Keep us posted.

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Well Hello Mathnerd, I too am from the US-from NC. I was reading a few entries about you and one thing I picked up on was your anxiety and depression. Did they not tell you from the hospital that all the IV Steroids will make feel like you're on a roller coaster with emotions? They always use IV Steroids with IV antibiotics for pneumonia. It's true. I've been there and know how you feel. It's never a few days either, it is a long stay. Once I was inpatient for one week another time for two weeks because of pneumonia. For me, I would try to drink more water and help flush all the meds through my system. They stay in your system even after you have came home.

Well, you said you needed some words of encouragement. This is you lucky day~ I have lung cancer from smoking. In 2011, I had half of my left lung removed and went through 4 rounds of chemo in 2011. A couple of years ago, I had a recurrence in my right lung. By then, copd was so bad in that lung, that surgery wasn't an option. So, I did 5 rounds of radiation. I just went back last week for my regular CT Lung scan and now I have a new tumor in the bottom of my right lung. So I hope this encourages you to roll out of the bed, enjoy being 40 and do some things you want to do. I wish I was 40 again. I would have made a lot of changes. It's too late now for me, so I take one day at a time.

I want you to enjoy your family more. Kiss the Baby. Pet the dog and blow a few kisses. Life is so short. Make it happen. Don't worry, be happy!

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I'm sorry for your health situation. I wish I had some experience and encouragement for you. Hang in there. Thank you for your words. No one told me that the steroids would wreak havoc on my emotional state. I've been home now a month and things are starting to get better but I still have days that I just cry. it seems like the steroids should be out of my system by now?

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Well, let's just say it could be a number of things still going on with you. Were you depressed before your pneumonia? Maybe you should see your doctor, may a primary care doctor. Depression is a terrible thing, but it can be treated. I am wondering as I type this, have you been sick besides pneumonia? Guess I'm asking if you have a poor health record or serious illness?

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Never been sick before this. Usually don't even get colds. Mild depression before pneumonia. I have spoken with my GP and she put me on an anti anxiety med. I hope it helps.

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Wooooooooow am truly inspired by your testimony God is big and miracles happen i know God is gonna cure you me and my will pray for you

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You said "anti anxiety med?" I was talking about an anti-depressant. Sometimes people take more than one. My son is on two anti-depressants. They increased his lately because of my health I guess. He's having to deal with the loss of his mom one day. I feel worse for him than I do for myself. Sometimes anti anxiety meds make you worse, more sad. You may still need to call your doctor. In the meantime, try to do things that makes you smile. Put on some dancing music! I once heard that Happiness was a state of mind! Let's both put on some dancing music! Take care.

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Hello. It has been five months now since you posted this. Are you better now?

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Yes. It took about 3 months. But I finally got my life back. This was a terrible journey and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Thanks for checking.

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It's nice to hear that. I had pneumonia too last October 31. After a week, they found no problems in my chest xray after taking antibiotics. I feel better most of the time but there are times that it was too bad. Is it usual?

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Did anyone have any complications with their liver functioning following pneumonia / antibiotics?

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