Hi, this is my first post so I'd like to say hi first, Hi!
I had a serious spell of pneumonia and septicaemia a few years back which nearly killed me. after a spell in ITU I eventually and luckily recovered, but was left with being out of breath and a Peak flow of only 450 on a good day and about 380 on my bad day, god knows what it is when I'm really bad cause I can't blow in to the device. lol!
I had loads of outpatient visits to the hospitals respiratory clinic and had loads of test done, which sometimes made me black out. But finally after about a year of these test i was told i have Asthma and was given a blue inhaler and told no more. Then about 2 years ago I got a letter with an appointment date for me to visit a Practice Nurse at my local surgery's Chest Clinic . My first visit was started with by being told by the nurse that i did not have Asthma but instead had "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease". Not knowing what it was but knowing what chronic and disease meant it was serious had me in a quiet state of shock, no wonder my blood pressure was higher then normal. Anyway, the nurse done a peak flow test on me and said I had the lung capacity of an 80 year old did some other tests gave me a leaflet and told me she would see me again the following year as these were going to become regular check ups. That same appointment I was given a Flu vaccine and told I had to have these once a year when they were available, I later found out from an internet search that I needed to have an anti pneumonia jab too so I had to go back and ask for one of those too, which i did later get.
2011 I got another letter with my appointment date for the respiratory check up. So I attended as requested only to find out that the Practice nurse did not have me down on her appointments list. She went off for about 5 minutes to confirm I was meant to be there and came back and said there had been a mistake as she did not have me listed in her book. She decided that she would still see me but it would "Have to be a quick on" as she had to attend another important appointment. She tested my oxygen levels in my blood, done a peak flow and blood pressure and that was it. I tried to talk to her about the problems I'm having with getting up in the mornings and exercising which she advised to use my blue inhaler more before doing any of these activities. It does help using the inhaler before exercise but is not much good in the mornings. I also mentioned that I kept getting colds which always resulted in a chest infection, not nice. I was told that when I get a bad cough I was to always go and see my GP regardless as I would need medical attention, Sure enough I get a bad cold just before I manage to get my flu jab and is was really bad. I was having to work too which made the whole thing a nightmare. So I called the GP surgery to make an appointment with my GP and explained I was told to do so by my nurse. I got to see my GP who listen to my chest, said it sounded quiet bad, and gave me prescription for "amoxicillin". A month or so later I got another cold and so rang the GP's again but was told about a Flu outbreak and if I suspected I had the flu I was to not visit but send someone to pick up my prescription, so I did not get to see him again.
So this winter, 2012/2013, is becoming a serious worry for me, in fact I'm dreading having to face the chest infections like last years. I don't know when I'm meant to get my flu jabs but even when I get the jab I still catch a cold and always, always get a chest infection. I suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which I have a CPAP machine for, but it don't work when I'm all congested and trying to cough all the time. I also have an Umbilical Hernia which sometimes feels like it's going to burst everytime I cough, plus my stomach and chest muscle become so tight and painful when I cough. i have trouble breathing cause of the tightness in my chest and have blacked out from a coughing fit. This all together is why I'm really scared of these chest infections, I feel that one day I'm not going to survive one. I've spoken to my doctor but he just says to take antibiotics when I get a bad cold.
To be honest I'm finding it hard to cope, there's no one I can get help from like parents or a partner. I have my son but I can;t tell him how bad I'm getting as I don;t want to worry him. I struggle with working as I'm too fit for ESA or sickness benefits, so when I do get a cold I still have to go out in the cold morning air fighting to breath properly just so I can pay the bills and keep the house warm. I know this year I wont be able to cope as the last bout I had was really bad, which I could not go to work and have only just caught up with the arrears of bill Etc. that's why I don;t think I'm going to do to well over winter, scary stuff.
Thankfully I found this web community, read loads of your blogs and questions and now don;t feel so alone. I am amazed at some of the help members here get, I wish I had good medical help when I get a chest infection like some of you have had.
Can I get help? advice would be a good start, but words don;t tend to help me much when I'm trying to hack a lung up whilst trying to hold my hernia in and fighting to breath.....
Sorry, i do get somewhat emotional about my current state of health, so I call it a day for this blog entry for now and just ask you all a question.
How do you cope, what gives you the strength to carry on? As I'm floundering here and finding if tougher and tougher to continue on this lifes road. Also any tips on avoiding colds and chest infections would be gratefully appreciated.
END NOTE: For some reason I feel better for writing this, it's the first time I told anyone or written down all this and I feel a sense of relief ??? odd but a good feeling. Thanks for listening