Part of this post is one of the hardest things I will ever write. It will be reliving the most terrifying asthma attack I have ever had and the experience of the whole admission.
Before I go to that I want to explain why I am doing this.
As a coping strategy I block out my asthma attacks. I don’t remember them wether it is a conscious or subconscious thing I am not sure. But I do record every time I am admitted into hospital, what ward I was admitted to and I keep my admission/ discharge letters which have a small description of events that happened. I want to try and learn from these admissions and make admissions more positive as they can often be very hard.
Moving to the hard bit.
6 years ago in June I had the worst hospital admission/ asthma attack I have ever experienced. I am not sure if it was the worst asthma attack but it was the hardest one to fight and one that didn’t really respond well to treatment.
The attack itself started as normal. I had some nebs and called 999 as it wasn’t getting any better. The paramedics arrived very quickly and I knew by their speed at getting me into the ambulance and over the the hospital that I was not particularly well. We went by blue lights across the city. It was a strange experience. I recall the shutter being open in the ambulance so I could see out the window as we travelled at speed across town. Going through red lights. I also thought it really odd that they cannulated me and put me on high flow oxygen rather than the usual nebulisers. They were giving me a lot of stuff through my IV but I am not sure what. For being so ill I felt not that ill. I think it was probably something to do with being very hypoxic. I almost act drunk when I am hypoxic. (When I was living down south the nurses laughed at me when I tried to squeeze between the cot sides to get out of bed- funny now but not at the time). Drs were waiting outside of A and E for me and I was wheeled into resus where they worked on me and got me stabilised a bit. I was not there long. I was moved to intensive care. The journey there I just remember seeing the ITU Dr with the intubation kit in the red backpack on their back and also a trolley with other stuff. there was a machine on my trolley which just beeped all the way.
I got to intensive care and recall wanting to get myself off the trolley into bed but not being allowed to. There were nurses and Drs everywhere. I didnt know who was who as they were all in blue scrubs. For some reason something I always remember is a bandage being cut to hold a ET tube should I be intubated. I don’t know why that is so clear. Everything becomes a bit hazy for a while after that. I think from that I perhaps ran out of adrenaline or knew I was in a safe environment and was going to be looked after and would be ok.
I was there for a few days. Before being moved to the respiratory ward I do clearly remember having a bed bath from a few nurses. I had a lot of lines, drips, catheters, oxygen so was not able to do things for myself. I was also totally exhausted. But this one nurse told me Michael Jackson had died. I thought he was joking. It seemed like such a strange thing to say. I didnt believe him until I was moved to the ward and saw a newspaper. It was true. It was odd to not believe what someone had said. I think the whole experience in intensive care was surreal and I didnt want to believe it had happened but it had. The rest of the hospital admission was uneventful and I was discharged a few weeks later. The main thing was that for being so ill I didnt feel that unwell and have felt a lot more unwell when I have not been so unwell.
I reread my discharge letter. I know why I was sent to ITU.
My SpO2 was 89%, my HR was 134. My ABG was shocking. My PO2 was 4.8 and PCO2 was 5.3 and lactate was 11 so not a great ABG. My blood glucose was also high and put onto a sliding scale of insulin to bring it back down.
It haunts me this admission. What made it worse was that my parents were all away. It was the one time my mum, dad, step mum and step dad were all away. My uncle came in to see me and as grateful as I was for this it is not the same as your parents.
Getting through that hospital admission shows that I can get through hard hospital admissions but it does not make them any less scary or hard to deal with.
Im glad I can write about it. It has taken a while and other than posts where I remember people like Dawn, Rusty or others who have died it is one of the few times I have cried remembering what happened and crying while writing a post. I am glad I have done it. I hope by doing it that I won’t be haunted by the memories anymore.
I am sure there will be more difficult admissions which will challenge my strength and coping ability but will take it one at a time.