Monday, July 4, 2016

another hospital admission

Another episode with me admitted to the hospital, for COPD exacerbation.

Last week I had done an Albuterol Sulfate nebulizer treatment at home, looking for some relief from labored breathing.   On the contrary, what ensued was one of the worst episodes of shortness of breath that I've ever experienced.   Barely able to take in a breath, I felt sure I could die at any second, or at the very least, have a heart attack.

I was able to type out a couple of words on the computer to get Evie to come over asap, and just be with me.  When I was able to draw in a breath, I used my rescue inhaler, and my rapid fire breathing started to ease up.  Weird thing is, the rescue inhaler is also albuterol, but yields a totally different effect.

Unable to walk even 5-10 feet without losing my breath, I spent the next day and night in bed, putting off going to the ER, but called 911 by Thursday, June 30th, and was taken by ambulance to Maimonides Medical Center.

After spending 8 hours in the emergency room, I was admitted to an Oncology floor for observation and treatment.  Was really thankful that it wasn't like my last trip to the ER, when I spent 29 hours there before getting a bed on a medical floor.

They treated me with another nebulizer treatment... this time something other than the albuterol, but I can't recall the name of what it was.  Anyway, I had a bad response again...  this time having audible wheezing, and painful chest tightness.   I don't know what it is about these nebulizer treatments that have me reacting so poorly, but I now refuse them, and won't ever do another one.  Only the rescue inhaler works for me.

I'm also being treated with 4+ liters of O2, and IV Steroids, 40 mg., 3X a day.

Tomorrow with be my fifth day here.  I haven't yet tried taking a walk in the hall, but will attempt that.  I've been able to walk to and from the bathroom without losing my breath.  I'm improving slowly, and can maybe be discharged in another day or two.

At one point during my stay, I was asked some sensitive questions about whether I would consent to intubation and/or chest compressions if an emergency requiring that were to arise.  Being the likely alternative to these things would be death, I did agree to both.  They said the chances of being extubated would be slim, and a trach would probably have to be done.  That whole conversation bummed the hell out of me, but I knew it had to be discussed.  I'm not exactly ready to consent to death just now, you know?

Pretty sure I will go home with supplemental oxygen this time, and probably continue on a course of oral prednisone.

It has been a pretty scary time, but I am getting through it as best I can.

Some really hot and humid weather is expected to move in very shortly.  That is never good for my breathing, so I will stay quite still and close to the air conditioner.  I have an appointment at the cancer center in three days, but will no doubt have to reschedule that.

My sister, and Melissa and Logan will be going on a short summer vacation soon, and I feel so bad I can't be going with them this time.  I will surely miss that.  I think Logan's Godmother, Kim, will be joining them, too.  Wish I could go, but this just isn't my time.

Hoping I can get back on my feet real soon.


  1. Too much. I am so sorry for such scary and difficult challenges. One would be enough already :-(

    I hope your breathing improves. I know dealing with that has to be really hard. So glad you have family xo

  2. I really can't imagine a worse feeling than not being able to breathe. I do hope that they are able to find the right meds to give you consistent, reliable relief.

    Positive healing juju being sent your way.

  3. What a mess Barb. Beat one thing so another can move in, have patience and never lose hope in life.

  4. I have asthma also and know that scary feeling. Prednisone helps. I hope you get relief by being near the AC and with the rescue inhaler. Take care and stay calm.

  5. Kid, you are such a fighter, I always did like you because of your strength and of course your world view. Even when it pissed me off, ha ha.
    Inner strength and courage, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Are you out of the hospital and home again now? Jennifer Warns song, Bernadette, comes to mind, "I just want to hold you, wont you let me hold you, as Bernadette would do."


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