Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just a little ER visit

So for the first time in my entire life I made a trip to the emergency room this morning!! As you already know, we've all been sick around here. I was at the doctor on Thursday and I have bronchitis. I've had a million times, it just comes with the territory of being a teacher and now being a mom. Most of the time I bounce right back, most of the time I would hardly miss a day of work because of it. But this time has been different. For five days now I've felt like I can't breathe. I would carry McKenna upstairs to change her diaper and I literally couldn't get my breath. I felt like I was hyperventilating every time I tried to do anything. Of course, Ryan is out of town for a week which definitely doesn't help anything. I really feel fine except for the fact that I'm tired (nothing new) and I can't breathe. And it's the kind of SCARY-can't-breath-feeling that put me in the hospital this morning. I woke up at about 5am and could not get my breath. I thought I was going to pass out right then and there. I think I panicked a little because I just could not get my breath. I was hot and sweaty and breathing rapidly. So I called my dear sister and she woke her sleeping children and brought them to my house. I drove myself to the hospital, taking shallow little breaths the whole way. Apparently, no one else in Franklin County Pa was having an emergency this morning (literally there was no one in the ER waiting area), so I was seen immediately.
They put that little monitor on my finger that checks oxygenation levels, and I wasn't doing too good. The respiratory specialist came in and gave me a breathing treatment with a steroid in it and within two minutes I was starting to feel better. Then I got a nice steroid shot in the rear and started to feel even better. I've never had steroids before, but I must say, they're pretty good!! I had a chest x-ray that showed that I did not have pneumonia. At this point I was feeling like I wouldn't die after all (seriously, that thought had crossed my mind around 5am).
The diagnosis: Asthma. Remember how my doctor told me back in August that I had asthma and they gave me an inhaler. I really didn't take it too seriously. I mean, who gets asthma when they're thirty years old? Apparently I do, and it's pretty serious. This morning I had an asthma attack. An asthma attack is the episode in which bands of muscle surrounding the airways are triggered to tighten. This tightening is called bronchospasm. During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed and the cells lining the airways produce more and thicker mucus than normal (can you tell I just copied that last sentence from WebMD?).
So I got a nice pep talk from the attending physician about how you can die from asthma attacks and they have to be taken seriously and managed correctly. And after three hours I came home with 2 inhalers (one of which cost me over a hundred dollars - good grief), some oral steroids and an antibiotic. Right now I feel all jittery because the only medicine I'm used to taking on a daily basis is a multi-vitamin. I think my body's in shock right now.
On a side note, I must say that my husband works for a great company. He's supposed to speak at a meeting in a couple of days and then he's going to MC another day of meetings. It's a big deal, an important meeting. And as soon as I told him I was heading to the hospital his boss told him to come home. I felt quite silly about this because millions of people have asthma, my husband shouldn't have to rush home because I have an asthma attack. So I told him to stay and do his job. But it was nice that they let him put his family first, even when it would have been a huge deal for him to leave. Lots of other people would have had to scramble to try to cover for him and it would have been stressful for them. But it's nice to know that our family's best interests are important to Ryan's company!
McKenna's sleeping and Christian's watching TV, so I'm going to take a little nap! Well, at least I'm going to try :)


Aggiema (Michelle) said...

So glad to hear you are doing better. The steroids will make you very jittery and so will the asthma meds, so you may have trouble sleeping. Hope you don't have any more spells.

the mccollums... said...

good gracious, are a sick girl...I'm so sorry that you have had such a rough week and a pretty panicked morning. I will say some prayers for you today that God will restore you and that this asthma stuff will subside. I can only imagine how scared you must have been...please get some rest and let us all know how your week goes. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Ugh....Elizabeth has asthma too. It is so scary. I hope you feel better soon!


Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm glad you're feeling better. Try to take it easy this week. You're in my prayers. Anna

Katy said...

Oh Judy. "feeling fine, except that I can't breathe." HELLO! Breathing is sort of important! I'm glad everything was okay. The scariest part of that story is that you WOKE up feeling like that - how crazy! Praying you got some good rest yesterday and are better today. Take it easy - especially with Ryan gone. And good grief about how expensive your inhaler was! That's crazy!

Heather said...

Yikes! That is so scary! I"m glad you're sister was able to come sit with the kids...bu tthe thought of you driving yourself to the hospital scares me too! I'm glad everything has worked out okay and you have a diagnosis and are now learning how to live with it.