Cold to chest infection to….

Getting a cold to many is an inconvenience. To a severe asthmatic getting a cold fills you with dread because generally our lungs are fantastic hosts to cold bugs leaving us with rip roaring chest infections.

During the winter months you cant avoid the common cold, well you could but that would mean you become a hermit and prisoner in your own home. Im not going to do that. I like being out and about too much.

The last two weeks have been pretty hard work. I picked up a common cold which filled me with dread. I think it filled my mum with dread as well especially as she was going away and this is the first time I have picked anything since that last horrific attack.

As with most asthmatics despite my best efforts it went to my chest. I had a great chest infection with an impressive cough that drove me round the bend. Even Ghillie was getting irritated with my constant coughing.

I wish I could say I dealt with this infection well but it has filled me with anxiety and I have not managed it as well as perhaps I may have in the past. I knew the first bout of illness post last attack was going to be hard. I had a fear that I would end up on that slippery slope back down to needing a ventilator. Extreme I know but could potentially be a possibility.

Thankfully staying in touch with my team I was able to keep it at bay and not get too bad. My peak flow has dropped significantly but the antibiotics and increase in steroids have helped bring it back up along with a lot of i still have this irrational fear that really hits me at night that my infection may not be better and I am missing something. Morning comes round and I think I am so silly for getting in such a state about it.

I have been doing less than I would normally do while I have had the infection. Mainly because I have been terrified of making my chest kick off. It has been a strange time because I thought I would be able to write some blog posts, do some other research stuff but I just have not had the imagination or concentration (lack of concentration is something I have been struggling a lot with post ICU).

I am also very happy that I have had my flu jab so my chances of getting flu are reduced. I would urge everyone to get it that can get it!

The good thing is, the infection is clearing well and my asthma has not kicked off too much. Ghillie of course has been very attentive and by my side all the time!

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Back feeling confident

After a good few days feeling totally down in the dumps, sorry for myself and thinking the light that was at the end of the tunnel had totally gone out I am feeling more confident and the light is coming back and I don’t think all the hard work I have put in get better is wasted. It was still worth it and this was only a minor set back in a road to proper asthma control and good health.

To say I thought that I was back to square one would be an under statement. I had visions of spending more time off work and more time in hospital and even more time on high dose oral steroids. I was full of doom and gloom and felt the best thing to do was give up. I found it hard not to think like that given my past history for getting back on track and then it all going down the plug. I really didnt want that to happen again but almost felt it was inevitable.

I managed to change my mindset and think that this time I was stronger, fitter and mentally in a better head space that I can beat this and will get back on top and enjoying myself again. I can’t expect to not have set backs and unless I lived in a bubble I would not be immune to getting colds and infections so just need to get on with it and be sensible. After some vitamin C, early nights and anti biotics I am starting to feel better. I am finding my best time of day is the afternoon. First thing in the morning I am not so good and again last thing at night I get this hacking cough but nights are always a bit tricky for me anyway. For as long as I remember my asthma at night has always been bad so for it to be bad just now is not surprising.

I must add work I have done with a psychologist who looks in to coping methods for people with long term conditions has helped as well. Changing how I view set backs and not see them as failure has helped. I would often see a set back as failed to achieve control rather than a natural hiccup that comes with having a long term condition that probably won’t go away. Life is always going to have hiccups but it is how I deal with them is important to recovering and keeping well. Accepting that things happen and sometimes there is no control or no way to stop them but learn from what has happened and take positives from it.

It s easy for me to sit now and write this now but a few days ago I would never have been able to look to the good or rationalise this blip as I have today and I hope that I will in time be able to not see every dip as going back to square one but rather view it as it is.. a dip that will go up again and back to where I was and not a slippery downhill.

Its good to see things going the right way and changing the way I am thinking about it all. It has helped me cope a lot with it now.

Cards written and sent, presents wrapped and…

repeat prescription ordered as well as any added extras you might need over the Festive period.

It is this time of year your routine gets thrown out of whack. I find my repeat prescription is done every 2 months but normally at the start of the month…so come Christmastime and New Year I need to think ahead. Working how much i have of everything and see whether or not I can wait till the first week in Jan or do I need to get it all before Christmas and have loads of stuff as will have two weeks extra of everything. This doesn’t sound like much but when most of your medication comes in different boxes and one box tends to last 2 weeks you have a lot more medication to store.

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Rather than being caught short and giving the poor pharmacist a rush in the New Year I have put in my repeat early to make sure I have everything I should need to keep me running until the start of March!!! We are not even in the 2015 and I am already thinking ahead to March.

Over the Christmas period I have also asked of extra anti biotics and extra prednisilone to have as a wee stockpile should I fall ill over Xmas. I would much prefer to just start them myself than have to go through NHS 24 who tend to just send me to hospital the moment they hear Brittle asthma and struggling to breathe even if it is just an infection and not an attack they do tend to panic. So having supplies at home is so much easier. It is also reassuring knowing you have them.

With so many people coming and going, family round and a whole heap of germs and bugs you never know what you may get. This is one of the really bad sides of prednisilone- you become susceptible to anything and everything. As well as catching things, trying to the row them off is even harder.

I think my family think I am a bit OTT about not going round when someone has a cold but it is easy for a healthy person with no png problems to pick up a cold and suffer how do you think I feel because it always goes to chest no matter how quick i catch it and start increasing treatment. Its just one of those things.

I am now prepared for Christmas and New Year. Just a few odds and ends to get and thats it!!

Taking action- when, what and why??

When illness strikes it is never at a time that suits you. It can’t be scheduled into your diary when you have a few days off. In fact quite the opposite- things normally happen when you have loads of stuff on and events you are looking forward to!!

This is what is happening right now!!

Of course Christmas is fast approaching and so are all the Christmas meals and drinks parties etc but with this comes changes in weather, the cold and flu season, basically a really rubbish time when your asthmatic.

For the past two weeks I have been battling a chest infection which is not totally flooring me but just there all the time grumbling away in that really annoying way. It started off first with my sinuses and I noticed a drop in peak flow. At this stage I would not really worry previously but given past experience I have been wrong. So in my eyes I overreacted at first and put my pred up straight away and started my emergency antibiotics. One course of antibiotics down and almost finishing the second I now have a well established chest infection and feeling a bit rotten. I did the right thing by over reacting. I would hate to think where this infection would have ended had I not acted and recognise as I did.

As part of having difficult to control/ brittle asthma I have an emergency pack at home. This includes a pack of prednisilone of 40mg for 7 days, antibiotics and extra nebs including saline nebs to help clear the mucus which builds up. By having this pack at home I can start treatment at first sign of an infection when it is not always possible to see my own GP or the on call Dr. For me now there is no point in delaying. I am far better to over medicate and be safe than wait to see a Dr because the infection could take hold and cause my asthma to get even more uncontrolled and risk exacerbation.

I am hoping that this will all clear. I have both my work and my lacrosse teams Christmas meals at the weekend and I desperately want to be well for them. I would hate to have to miss them. I also have an appointment with my consultant on Wednesday so only 2 days which will be good as I feel I could really do with seeing him. I can’t put my finger on it but my chest is just not right. I am not meaning this infection but the last few months I have been a lot more symptomatic and using a lot more reliever medication and also pain relief which concerns me. I don’t want to just function. I want to live again. I hope that seeing him and having a good appointment I can get back on top, take control and really enjoy 2015 and achieve all those things I have not managed to once again because I have not had the health I want.

Those dam wisdom teeth!!!

I had so many plans for last week which had to be cancelled. My wisdom teeth decided to erupt through. They have been  grumbling away for a while and are impacted so get infected periodically. It is only my two lower teeth that get bothered. Anyway once again they got infected and hurt like no ones business. This is like the sixth or seventh time they have got like this. As I don’t yet have a dentist here I had to go to the Dr to get some antibiotics then went to the Dental hospital to get them flushed out. This was all on Thursday. I am hoping they settle down soon as they are still killing me. I have some hefty antibiotics but I am not sure about if they are working because I take the same antibiotics so much for chest infections. I have an appointment to see a dentist on Wednesday to discuss getting my teeth taken out. I have a few decisions to make about then though. I dont tolerate work done on my teeth very well. I had a tooth knocked out playing hockey a while ago and needed the tooth repaired. What would normally take about 40 mins had to be split across 4 sittings as I cant stay lying back for long but also cant breathe out my nose. So I need to think about having them taken  out my general anaesthetic. Which although is risky I would kind of prefer but then I need to think about what is best for my chest.  So I guess Wednesday will show all.

I did manage to play golf on the Wednesday night though but it hurt when I had to eat the dinner. I didnt win my match either. But I was playing someone who was playing four shots lower than mine!

So the past few days I have just been zoned out on painkillers and antibiotics. I find my ears and head are really sore too as the pain from my teeth radiates up the nerve I think. I have just been spaced out on the sofa watching a lot of DVD’s and sleeping lots. I always know when I am under the weather because I sleep. I dont normally sleep much but I just dose off all the time just now.

Lets just hope it all settles down soon as I start my new placement on Monday and cant take the day off or have this pain!