On May 5th, I woke up around 2:00 am, couldn’t breathe well, and so did my nebulizer breathing treatments. Unfortunately, that didn’t help at all, so after a few minutes of trying breathing exercises, I got my husband up to take me to the hospital. FIRST MISTAKE! We should have called 911. We hurriedly put clothes on and he took off for the new hospital (SECOND MISTAKE) close to us. In the car, I began to have a more and more difficult time getting any air at all, but eventually we got there and they took me back immediately. This is when the trouble really starts though. I got oxygen immediately and a nurse started trying to get an IV into my arm. I am sucking air by now and pretty panicked. I had prayed on the way “Lord, if this is my time, be with me. If it is not, let me be a good witness”. I knew my husband was over with the Doctor talking about why I didn’t want to be intubated; I could hear the alarms going off over and over and everyone seeming to either not know what to do or not be able to do it. Then, all of a sudden, I was back in the corner, watching what was going on in the room. I saw me sucking air, and the nurse sticking me for the 6th time, my husband having left the doctor telling the nurse on my right side, thanks, because she had gotten an IV started on her first try in that arm. And then I heard my Father’s voice next to me saying, ” see Cindy? I am here with you. I will always be with you. There is nothing to be afraid of-whether it’s time to go night or just get through the attack, I will be right here with you. And He was right! I was completely at peace where I was with him. I know my Father would never lie to me, and I nodded and then suddenly I was right back in it-sucking air, but now, no panic. I think my hospital records would confirm this too. And there was no intubation, they used a bipap machine on high to force air through my nose into my lungs.
No one knew it then, but my rheumatoid Arthritis had flared and super inflamed all of the lungs and I couldn’t get air in or out. I’m sure there is a more technical explanation, but that’s the simple one according to the blood tests. I didn’t react quickly enough, because it didn’t act like my normal bronco spasm asthma–which is a lot of coughing before I shut down. Very weird. I was in ICU for a day, once I was stable and then they moved me to a room. I was there until the 10th. When the pulmonologist (hospital) came in, I told him, I was still very congested and really didn’t feel well enough to go home, but he insisted. I was not to talk on the phone, run around, work, do much of anything. I agreed and went home. To sleep, I have to be inclined about 45 degrees so I am on a lot of pillows.
We say my pulmonologist the next day and boy, did I get a lecture about waiting to go to the hospital! I relayed my experience and promised I would not be going back to the new hospital for any kind of asthma related emergency treatment. It’s just as well that I go to the main hospital. All my records are there. My doctors who know me are there and someone is always available 24/7 for an emergency like I experienced the night of May 5th. So I promised to really pay attention as to the future asthma issues, she listened to me. Told me I sounded ok, improving, and we went home.
I still kept to the light work schedule as I really wasn’t well yet–my voice definitely was strained. I did my breathing treatments and took my prednisone, but when I tried to lay down to sleep that Friday night, I had so much pressure and congestion that I couldn’t get comfortable. While I wasn’t in deep trouble with my breathing, I had promised to come with ANY problem with the breathing. So I said, ” I don’t feel very well”. That was all it took for my husband. He said, ” put your jeans on, we are going to the hospital”. I really didn’t want to go. I just wanted him to listen to me breathing, but he had had enough the last time, so off we went. We forgot about Friday nights at the ER! Because I was coming in before I was not breathing and gasping, they let me sit there a couple of hours, so that by the time they took me back, I was in distress–notice, I said distress. I did have major congestion again. No air coming in or out-they couldn’t hear anything moving. But I never panicked. I got the different things I needed–oxygen, solu-medrol-, they did a blood gas–ooh that hurt, ok, but still can’t hear any air moving. I simply can not take a deep breath either. So about 5Am, they decide to keep me. At that point, I sent my husband home and told him to go to bed and not come back that day. That visit was 5 days too!