Monday, August 17, 2009

My First Ride in an Ambulance - Eeeeeeee!

Well Lovies,

It's been a scary time for me, but much better than I thought it was going to be for a few hours there. I suppose there are millions of people out there who experience asthma attacks quite regularly and they've adapted if they have their meds with them at all times. But, at 64, I've never had asthma. I've had pneumonia, and that was bad, but asthma attacks? No and it came without warning, unless you call a runny nose a reason to run to the doctor. One minute you're swimming about, having a great time on a hot day, and the next you're on your knees gasping for air. You're screaming in your head for your lungs to please open up, but they feel filled with panko or sand.

About 2 weeks before this, our association management decided to coat the ladies shower room floor with a substance that would make it less slippery. Whatever it was, I'm positive it was toxic and never meant to be used in an enclosed area. My sweetie and I came skipping into the clubhouse, ready to take our pre-swim showers and go for a dip. We were met with toxic fumes that nearly knocked us out. We ran for the exit to the pool and fresh outdoor air. Other swimmers were quite peeved also. There was nothing to do but swim, as there's no way out except going back through the clubhouse. But it became quite obvious in a short time that the odors were invading the pool and we must leave. Complaints of headaches and nausea were shared. We ran for it, but had to take a couple gulps of the noxious fumes before making our way to the outdoor exit. That was enough to send me to my knees, gasping. Have never been so scared (well, until 2 days ago). We sat on a bench trying to breathe and take the short walk to our home, only 1/2 a block away. Sweetie recovered, but I didn't. He ran for our car to pick me up and asked which way we were going - hospital or home. I said home. I recovered in about 1/2 an hour, but had a headache and dry cough for almost 2 weeks. Others complained also.

Two days ago we decided all the fumes must be gone, so we would go for a swim. Fumes were gone, things seemed fine. Went for a swim, but noticed a high content of chlorine, so got out after about 1/2 an hour. Made it outside to that bench again and then my lungs closed up like they'd gone out of business for good. I fought panic like a seasoned phobic, trying desperately to slow my attempts to through the nose, out through the mouth, etc., as I moved into the tripod position, expanding my lungs physically. Nothing. Things were starting to spin. R got me to a seat closer to the parking lot and propped me up against the building and ran for the car. He asked me again - which way? - I said home. But this was worse than before. MUCH! After 1/2 an hour I was still gasping, just slower. I walked the 30 steps to the bathroom to get rid of my dripping bathing suit and grabbed a fresh cotton camisole and panties without rips, because I knew where I was headed. I just threw a cotton caftan on as I climbed on the bed. I laid down and became overcome with panic. I could not breathe in that position and I was too weak to move. I called for R, who was on the phone trying to reach my doctor. I must have looked frantic. He hung up and called 911 for the ambulance.

Well, I wasn't so far gone I didn't notice how beautiful, young, tall and shiny clean and pressed the EMT's were. Wow! They were wonderful to me and made me feel more at ease. Put oxygen up my nose immediately to bring my stats up. They were considerably low. We got on the gurney and took Mr. Hare's Wild Ride to Rogue Valley Memorial in record time even with road construction. They gave me a "breathing treatment" albuterol in a Hooka-like machine from Alice and Wonderland. I'd surely gone down the rabbit hole, I was thinking. But hey - I could breathe better. I was calming down.
So, to make a short story longer, 6 hours later, at least 25 blood pressure checks, 7 viles of blood for many tests and chest xrays and more people getting a peak at my breasts than in my entire lifetime......I was informed I have bacterial pneumonia, undoubtedly caused by the toxic fumes from 2 weeks earlier. So, that's why my walks have been so tiring............ I was given an asthma puffer, anxiety and antibacterial meds and bills totalling a little more than $3000. Holy health insurance! Wish I had some. Wish I lived in England, Canada, France or Australia for that matter. Come on Obama - get that Universal health care going!!!!. The only way I could raise that much money would be to sell my car. But hey.........I now have asthma and cannot be walking everywhere in the frigid winter or pollen filled spring through fall.
Two weeks have now passed since this event. I used all the meds as instructed and saw my doctor at the clinic for a follow up. The antibiotics had done their job and now I would be living with two different kinds of asthma puffers in my purse. I think I'm in denial. I have only used one once. I think I just need to process this for awhile until I'm comfy with it. Walking has resumed, but on the small circle, not getting too far from home. And I haven't been anywhere alone for a month or more. So, a certain amount of fear is obviously controlling me. I sleep too much. I seem to have lost my creative zeal. So.......I have my work to do. All comments that might help would be appreciated.
I'll post some pretty pics soon. Getting ready for a yard sale and to clear out the clutter.
Wishing you easy breathing,

Hugs to all,

Moonie Girl