I have had recurring upper respiratory infections and sinus infections for years, even decades. I rec’d a face full of mold spores, when cleaning a home humidifier that was attached to my furnace, when I was 58. Since then, every few months, after a typical course of antibiotics and Prednisone, I would be diagnosed with another bronchitis or even pneumonia.
Last Monday (two and a half days ago), I felt terrible. I had chills and wheezing. (I always cough.). I went to bed about 9:30 p.m.; and, about 12:30 a.m., my wife woke me up and said my wheezing had steadily worsened. We checked my blood oxygen level, which is normally 96 in the day and mid-80s at night.
My O2% was 84; but, it would not go up, which ch is not a good thing. I had severe respiratory issues. We went to the ER where I was diagnosed with Acute Pneumonia, and it was discovered I had Sepsis. Thankfully, it was at least a Level II Trauma Center (Baylor Scott White in Grapevine [North Dallas], Texas).
I was admitted, and they started IV antibiotics and steroids. A Pulmonologist was brought in to consult and, luckily, he is an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) doctor who also has a private practice. Once he took an extensive history of my complicated medical condition (I also have Chronic Atrial Fibrillation.), he said he sees a lot of COP among ICU patients; he thought I might have that, too.
Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia ( COP) is not a Pneumonia, it is an Auto Immune Disorder that presents like Pneumonia. Cultures were negative for bacteria, which is typical of COP, while almost any Pneumonia was a bacterial component. Rather than yet another round of antibiotics and a many day prescription for Prednisone, the treatment is 24 weeks (or longer) of Prednisone. There may be side effects, which can be treated.
I am from Kansas City, and my Internist, my asthma specialist, and my Pulmonologist there had settled on a diagnosis of Chronic Bronchitis (a form of COPD) with Asthma being secondary. No one took a sputum culture in five years of treatments! None of them were academics, and none of them practiced outside of their offices, such as in an ICU.
It is now Thursday, and I will probably go “home” (We were visiting our son’s 2-week-old baby.) today or tomorrow. COP is not Pneumonia, and it is not infectious.
Also, my mother had an AID, Sjogren’s Syndrome. IF you have a parent who has or had an AID, you have a greater propensity for an AID, although perhaps a different one. I hope this helps for people who may be struggling with finding a proper diagnosis.