Wednesday, May 11, 2011

50 Day Hospital Stay

Question from a reader:

What was the cause of the 50 day hospital stay? Have you always exercised? I did but then stopped being obsessive about it which is when I started having problems. I think I probably had an infection that I let go too long and damaged my lung. (Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn).
My Answer:

My girlfriend (now wife) and I went to China for 3 weeks and while I was there I caught some weird chest cold. We were all sick and I thought I had fully recovered but then my last couple of days there I started coughing up a ton of blood (1/2 a cup to a cup for 3 days in a row). I stopped my DNASE and Vest as I usually do with a bleed and of course my lungs suffered for that. By the time I got back to the states I couldn't walk more than 50 yards without taking a break and I was SATing in the low 80's (my "true" SAT ended up being in the 70's determined by blood gas). They wanted to intubate me in the ER but I refused and had them put me on Bi-Pap. I spent 3-4 days in ICU and then 47-48 on the floor. It was nuts! It was also a huge wake up call. I had put my health on the back burner to try to do as much as I could with the various projects I had going. I was also traveling a lot so my treatments often got pushed off.

As far as working out and exercising, it's always been a part of my life. I played sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer) from when I was 6 or so until I entered college. I then got right into coaching football so I would often work out with the guys and I had to remain active to coach. I left coaching in 2004 and I started to become less active. I would start working out again and it would last 2 or 3 months but then I would find all sorts of excuses to stop. I have been on a pretty consistent hospital plan since highschool and I don't think I've waited too long to go in very often. I realize that I have to go in and get a tune-up to continue living the lifestyle that I am accustomed to. Up until two years ago I've averaged about 90 days a year for the last 3 years prior and 75 days 3 years before that and so on. In highschool I went in for about 30 days a year. I try not to be too stubborn when it comes to that cause I know that the damage done can sometimes be irreversible.

Since recommitting myself to increased treatments and consistent exercise I've knocked my average hospital stay time in half and also increased my lung function. You can find my PFT history on RSBR, but as a quick snapshot - I steadily declined from an FEV1 of about 75% since 2003 until I hit rock bottom to an FEV1 in the high 20's in 2009 (this was not my baseline at the time but what I had after my trip to China - my baseline in 2008 was around 55% or so). I've now been able to get my baseline back up over 70% and feel like I have literally turned back the clock almost 10 years!

Thanks for the questions, keep em coming!!