Posted by: janedb | April 17, 2013

Pnuemonia

English: A patient is receiving a CT scan for ...

English: A patient is receiving a CT scan for cancer treatment planning. Outside the scanning room are the imaging computers that compile 2D axial slices of the patient which can give the physician a 3D understanding of the anatomy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I arrived on the assessment unit shook up at being admitted again.  They were great as usual and I was cannulated with care. This time a good vein was found as I was needing antibiotics, paracetamol, and fluids via IV. Thursday night was spent on the assessment unit with me suffering rigors due to high temperatures. On Friday morning I was moved into side room 7 on Ward 39.

For a change it was a room with a view, and a balcony, but I knew if I went outside my consultants would not be happy as leukemia patients are vulnerable to chest infections. The room was more spacious than the side rooms on Ward 41 so I had some room to move in. Friday though my health took a turn for the worse and I was on half hourly obs through the day and night. At the time I did not know what was wrong with me, but staff were gowning, gloving and putting on face masks before entering the room, so I knew they though I was infectious.

I now had two IV’s one in each arm as they did not want to remove the drip whilst they put in antibiotics and paracetamol. As my blood pressure kept fluctuating from high to low I was also given an IV of medicine to regulate my blood pressure. I had no idea at the time but I had my doctors were worried and I was not far from being put in intensive care. I was also on oxygen as breathing had become very hard like I had an elephant sat on my chest.

My health was that bad they did not want to send me for the CT chest scan I needed and had it delayed. As I had been kept awake most of the night by half hourly obs I kept drifting off to sleep. My mother was shocked at the state I was in when she came as although I had been feeling off all week I hadn’t been really ill. I was not eating very much but was able to eat her homemade tuna sandwich which made her feel slightly better. Although the food is cooked in the kitchens below, it is never very pleasant. We in the Osborne Building apparently have the best catering in the hospital. I feel sorry for the other wards.  Less is spent on feeding a patient in hospital for a day than it is on a prisoner.

By evening it was decided I needed the scan for them to be sure what they were treating and would be sent down after 6.00 p.m. As it was after hours I was accompanied with a very nice male nursing assistant and a porter. The nursing assistant had to push the IV stand along and the oxygen was hooked onto the wheelchair. It was a strange convey to the CT scan. I was injected with die and various pictures were taken of my chest and abdomen as I had complained of pain.

The pictures showed I had pneumonia which filled both lungs (sometimes known as double pneumonia as it effects both lungs). I was given this information on Saturday when the scans had been viewed by the consultants.  On Saturday I was feeling a little better so the half hourly obs stopped so I could get a little more sleep. My youngest son came in with my mum and was not happy at having to gown, glove up and put a face mask on. He felt very strange and uncomfortable so they did not stay long.

Chatting to the staff later I discovered that they thought I might have Avian flu which was why they were taking the precautions until they had the viral tests back. By Sunday I had the all clear for Avian flu so the gowning up etc could stop which my sons were relieved about when they visited with my mum. It meant that I was able to open the door to the  ward to let air circulate.

On Monday more results were back and they could not find any cause for the pneumonia so it was decided I would be sent for a bronchoscopy  when I could be booked in for one. This would involve an ambulance trip from one hospital to another which would be a strange experience. The only thoughts were my children had brought it home or I had got it from myself.

A booking had been made for me to go to Glenfield hospital on Friday, so my oxygen level was cut from 4 liters to two liters  on Tuesday which made breathing harder and more tiring. A bronchoscopy could only be carried out if your breathing was reasonable. The staff kept asking if I was alright as I was not ringing the buzzer, but knowing how short staffed they were and how busy I asked for the things I needed when they came in to see me so I did not have to. Wednesday and Thursday although tired when I had a shower as I could not use oxygen I was not getting any better but not getting any worse.

Friday morning came, I was nil by mouth from midnight and feeling very scarred. I had no real idea what it would be like and knew I wanted sedation. A cannula was put in at 6.00 a.m. so the sedation could be given. An ambulance came for me at 10.00 a.m. and took me to Glenfield Hospital. Being taken as an inpatient from one hospital to another is a surreal experience. There were two men both ways, one to drive the ambulance and one to look after me. You are not allowed to walk and have to be pushed in a wheelchair. I had to keep being hooked up to oxygen, from portable cylinder to fixed in ambulance to portable again.

The staff on the ward for the bronchoscopy were friendly and looked after me well. I was taken into theater after signing the consent form. An banana tasting spray is sprayed at the back of your throat to numb it. As I was on oxygen a sponge tube with oxygen was put in my left nostril and the bronchoscopy tube was put down the right. I can understand why you are not allowed to eat for 6 hours before as it makes you want to gag. As the pneumonia was all over my lungs they had to take several washes but luckily they did not need to take a biopsy.

Saturday my oxygen was turned off as they had stopped giving me antibiotics and wanted to get me home. Moving around was very hard as I tired quickly and had to keep getting back on the bed for a rest. I was though able to go out of the side room to fetch fresh water when I needed and did not have to wait until someone to come into my room.

On Mothers Day March 10th both boys visited again. Mum brought a basket of plants in as I was not allowed flowers. She was told that they were alright to be kept in my room as they were in soil. This turned out to be incorrect and it had to go home with her the following day as I was at risk of infection from bacteria put in the air by the soil. My youngest made me a card, but my eldest brought a card and added his own verse. They really put some effort into the words they use.

On Monday I was released from hospital and given a date for a bone marrow on the 19th and a clinic visit on the 21st March. I was going home again.

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