Oesophageal Patients Association
3,556 members2,148 posts

Pneumonia

Hi everyone,

I've just had six days in hospital with aspiration pneumonia, and I'm annoyed with myself for allowing it to happen. After 8 years I should know better. I went to sleep propped up on the big nest of pillows I always sleep on, but this time I dared to sleep on my side, and woke up 4 hours later coughing and choking and 2 days later I was in hospital.

I want to know why sleeping on my side makes such a difference? Does anyone know?

I've been looking at the wedge pillow, wondering if that would help, but my nest of carefully arranged pillows keep my head and chest much higher than that, and have worked for years. Maybe the wedge under my nest of pillows?

I hope everyone is as well as they can be. The snow doesn't help, but it looks lovely.

Jane

16 Replies
oldestnewest

Everybody is different but it depends on which side your stomach lies. With me I can only lie on my left and it's ok. However if I lie on my right side it's possible that I will suffer the same as you. It also depends on what you have eaten before and the time lapsed before going to bed. if I have eaten more than usual I always take the precaution of taking a good swig of Gaviscon before going to bed.

Phil

2 likes
Reply

Hi Phil,

How do you know which side your stomach lies? I only know mine is high up near my collar bone.

I have Gaviscon by my bed, but I don't normally take it unless I have a problem. It's very good for taking away the foul taste.

Jane

Reply

Hi Jane

I was told by my consultant after my operation 11 years years ago to sleep on my back or my left side propped up. But unfortunately when fast asleep I sometimes turn to my right and that's why I always take Gaviscon

Phil

1 like
Reply

Morning Jane

I hope you've recovered? I use a wedge plus three pillows. It seems to work. I toss and turn and sometimes I am on my back sometimes on my left side and sometimes on the right. The right is not great. I also use Gaviscon especially if I have eaten later than I should have. Haward

2 likes
Reply

Morning Haward,

I don't get much sleep, I can't get really comfortable. So my nights are mostly spent playing Spider Solitaire or doing Codeword puzzles. Then I doze off during the day, when I don't mean to.

I think my problem is since I spent a month in ICU unable to move, I don't move at all in my sleep, and so I have to wake up to change position, and then can't get to sleep again. But non of that really matters, and I enjoy the silence and privacy of the night.

May I ask, which side is your big scar? and do you find it better to sleep on the other side?

Jane

1 like
Reply

Morning Jane

sorry to hear about your hospital stay. my big scar is on the left and I can only sleep on the left side..although I often get terrible pain in my ribs..lying on my right I get very bad heartburn so rarely lay on the right. I was hospitalised on holiday in Tenerife last February with pneumonia..horrible experience as non of the staff spoke English and just did things to me not able to explain. I was frightened

2 likes
Reply

Hi Bernadette,

I can imagine how scary being in hospital not understanding the language, but at least it was a friendly country!

Jane

Reply

Jane I wouldnt go yo an unfriendly country..lol. An elderly rc priest friend of mine was recently held for a week in Bahrain..he was only changing planes but his passport was taken..he felt very intimated and nervous.

however getting back to me they kept coming at me with massive masks to strap to my face..forcing it on me..saying nothing..I can assure you it fid not feel friendly.

Reply

My big scar is on the right and has healed well; so that muscle has reappeared the in the area. I hardly feel it these days - nearly five years on. Sleeping has always been a problem for me so I am used to it. Nowadays, being retired, a siesta is no problem and I just crash out in front of the telly when I need to. Haward

2 likes
Reply

Hello Jane. I cannot understand why people sleep on a big 'nest of pillows" rather than a raised bed. As I see it the body has to be in a curved shape in order to sleep on the side when the upper part is supported by pillows and surely that is neither comfortable or good for the body structure. I first tried the hospital type bed and then pillows but found neither worked for me . My bed is raised 8 inch (20cm). I got a special base made with the slope built in which means the bed is the average height rather than 8 inches height at the head . This cost about 80£. I always sleep on my side . I have never found any issue with slipping down the bed . Happy ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZing

2 likes
Reply

I have a day bed, with black metal top and bottom, and down one side. I love it, and couldn't bear to change it in any way. But we're all different, and I'm glad you've found your perfect bed.

Jane

Reply

Hi patchworker - so sorry to hear about the pnumonia and hospital .Must have been scary .

I posted the other day about a weird wedge pillow that is for people who sleep on their side and a nos of people commented that side sleeping gives them reflux .

My body seems to have a mind of it's own when it comes to sleeping position - it wants to sleep on the side ! The left side mainly ,tho I sometimes try the right side to give my back and hip a rest .(I have a roof top scar if that's relevant )

I have masses of pillows ,I like to support my torso when lying on one side and I like to wedge a pillow behind my back to keep me on my side .

Anywaaay ....re Gaviscon ,as people before me have pointed out ,this might form a "raft" to float on top of the stomach contents which may stabilise things a bit ,but at the end of the day it's still just stomach contents and is capable of being regurgitated .

Hope you're feeling a bit better .

1 like
Reply

Hi Violet,

I saw your post about the weird wedge pillow, but it's very expensive, and it might not work, and think of all the hassle sending it back if it doesn't. So I decided against that. But I'm thinking of getting an OPA wedge, to put all my pillows on.

Re Gaviscon. As you say, it must sometimes happen that someone regurgitates and inhales Gaviscon.. I wonder if there's a condition called Gaviscon pneumonia???

I'm not sure what a rooftop scar is? It must be a different sort of op. But so long as it works, that's all that matters. I have two scars, one up the middle of my chest, and one from under my arm up to my shoulder blade. A shark bite.

Jane

Reply

Gaviscon pneumonia -)

Yes that American pillow is a bit crazy isn't it ? I think I'll stick with my heap of pillows .

I was looking for a link to a rooftop scar but can't find a suitable one .

It's the same work to the eosophageous and stomach but a different "entrance" which doesn't involve breaking any ribs .

Hope you're on the mend ,are you home ?

1 like
Reply

Yes , I'm home, and feeling not too bad, just still a bit of a cough. It's great to be in my own bed.

I was thinking of getting a wedge pillow, but my oven has just died on me, so I'll have to replace that first.

How about you, are you well?

1 like
Reply

Hi, When i had my ivor lewis in Aintree university hospital

in 2011, a consultant doctor from America was going around the recovery ward and when she looked at my scar running across my abdomen from left going upwards and then down to my right side, she said in America they call it the rooftop procedure.

1 like
Reply

You may also like...