Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What Brought Me Into The Hospital

What brought me in the hospital this time, is basically what brought me in the hospital last time - the inability to fight off whatever cold/flu/virus/"insert name here" that I was battling. When I came in the last time, January 7th, I had been fighting a cold since December 15th. When I came in this time, May 3rd, I had been fighting a cold since about January 23rd. Now, that's not to say that I have felt terrible for the last 3 months, that's certainly not the case, but I've probably only been on top of my game about 3 weeks total. It's been full of days (and nights) of throat clearing, nose blowing and throat lozenges sucking that finally made it's way to my lungs.

When I was released from the Hole on January 21st, I blew a 75% FEV1. That's the highest number I've seen in the hospital since 2003. I was VERY encouraged especially since I was coming off a terrible cold over the holidays. I was looking forward to working my booty off and seeing if I could push that number a little higher. Unfortunately, I started sniffling again about 2 days after my release. I was still able to workout, and of course do all of my treatments, but I wasn't able to attack my body with the kind of effort that I usually give. One and a half months later, I had a follow-up clinic appointment - I blew a 63% FEV1. I was certainly disappointed, but not at all shocked. Exercise is what keeps me at the top of my game and I hadn't been able to exercise like a normally do (a lot more walking than running). The team was a little concerned and asked if I needed some sort of intervention and I declined thinking I was on the mend of whatever I was battling.

I started Cayston shortly thereafter and had a few weeks that I felt great. I was running like normal. I was able to push myself. I didn't have a sore throat. My snot wasn't green. I wasn't going through a box of tissue a day. I felt good.

Fast forward to the third week in April. The wheels started coming off the bus. I started up again with a stuffy nose, sore throat and coughing, but I was confident that it wouldn't last long. I was wrong. The fourth week of April I was worthless. I basically laid in bed or on the couch all day doing treatments and then I'd be in bed by 8:00pm every night. I was trying like heck to fight off whatever it was I was battling. I found myself with less and less energy, and worse, symptoms becoming bigger and more pronounced. It all came to a head when on the night of April 27th, I coughed up quit a bit of blood (1/4 cup to 1/2 a cup). I then knew that whatever I had was not just isolated to my head and sinuses.

I called the team on that Monday, after coughing up more blood, to see what they wanted me to do. To be honest, I was calling to see if we wanted to start an oral antibiotic because I really didn't want to go back in the Hole. My pride was getting in the way since it had only been three months since I was last in. After describing my symptoms (blood, pain, shortness of breath, fever), they recommended a lung x-ray to make sure nothing major was going on. Thankfully, the x-ray came back negative, and the plan was to start an oral and inhaled antibiotic and keep them updated. I only continued to go downhill. (I ran a 101 to 102 fever for the entire week)

I fought like crazy on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but on Thursday, the white flag was waived. I knew I needed help. Whatever it was that was going on, I couldn't beat it down "on my own" (its never actually on my own). I swallowed my pride and I called the team. They set up a clinic appointment for me on Friday (May 3rd) and I also did some PFTs. I blew a 57% FEV1. That's a far cry from the 75% I blew a few months earlier. We all agreed that a stay in the Hole was necessary.

So here I am. Writing to you from my bed at UMC Hospital. Doing what I need to do for my family. Not something I wanted to do, but in the big picture, it's not about me, it's about them. If I needed to live here to be able to have the chance to spend more time on this earth with my wife and daughter, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Now, it's all about doing what I need to do in here to maximize my time and hopefully my health.

I raised the white flag last week. I'm looking forward to waiving the checkered one soon.