Ok, it has been two weeks since my visit to Express Care, but this event still resonates in my head and I feel the need to write about it.
It was a Wednesday, the day started pretty well. My lungs were feeling a little off, but it seemed manageable. Everything started going down hill just after I got off work. I had to go to the pharmacy because I procrastinated getting a Med, which now had run out. I think the shortness of breath started while the pharmacy fulfilled my prescription. After my prescription was filled, I headed to my car and it started hitting me hard. One would think that driving a car is not that physical, try it while laboring to breathe. I knew this was bad. So I decided that I needed help and the Express Care that I always visit was just down the road.
I guess some back story is needed. The weekend before, I went to Walt Disney World and participated in their half and full marathon, which consisted of one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Unfortunately, last time I did a marathon it required a visit to my Pulmonologist for help. This time around, this was much worse and I needed help much sooner.
I made it to Express Care. I walked in the place and wouldn’t you know it, they were really busy. The person at the desk told me that I might be better off trying one of their other facilities. The problem with that is, the next one is clear across town and I might pass out before that happens. Well, I let the person know that I am progressing into a serious asthma attack. I figured that I would have to wait to get admitted so I thought it would be a good time to start taking some Ventolin hits, something I haven’t started doing yet. Yeah, I should have done that in my car on the way over.
I guess people with breathing issues do not wait in the waiting area. Next thing I know, a tech came out with a wheelchair and I was rushed to the examining room. I realize that they have no idea what is happening to me without ordering tests. The first thing they gave me was a breathing treatment. I so welcomed that! Last visit, when I got smoked out from my neighborhood burning leaves, they gave me a combination Neb of Albuterol and Xopenex. This time I am pretty sure the nurse said, but could be wrong, they were giving a combination Neb of Albuterol and Epinephrine. What ever it was, it was not misty like strait Albuterol, strange stuff. Whoops, I forgot to mention. They repeated ask me if I was having chest pain. I guess they thought I was having heart attack symptoms. Nope, I have no pain.
It wasn’t long into the breathing treatment that the EKG arrived. The tech did not have to tell me that my shirt needed to come off. The tech acted kind of surprised by that. I have had a few and I know the drill. After the breathing treatment and EKG was done, I moved back into a wheelchair and head off to get some x-rays of my chest done. I really did not think this was needed and it turned out I didn’t.
After all that, I was back in my room. I was still not breathing very well and the nurse asked if I wanted some oxygen. She told me that it would help. I have never been on O2 before but I said, what the heck, lets give it a try. Wow, that really did the trick. My breathing went to normal in only a few minutes, although, I could really feel in my chest that I had been breathing hard. As I look back, I was starting to get exhausted from breathing that hard.
Now the fun begins, the doctor arrives. I know that doctors are really knowledgeable. But, when EKG are good, chest x-ray are good, and listening to me breathe is good, this doesn’t not mean that I am not having troubles. The doctor gave me the feeling that I really did not need to come in. I should have used my rescue inhaler and everything would have been great. He even asked were my inhaler was, it was in my pocket.
I think I will digress a moment, it has been my experience that when I get these breathing symptoms, Ventolin does not seem to react very well. Just yesterday I was experiencing the same thing while waiting at the checkout in a grocery store. I had taken a couple of hits off the Ventolin inhaler because I felt it coming on. Did it help, it might have a little but I suffered all the way home and did much better after an Albuterol Sulfate Neb.
I know now how it feels to feel guilty about wasting the time of these Express Care staff. I have read blog posts from asthmatics who have felt the same way, now I understand. I am still going to pester them because it is my life and not theirs. Is it just me or is Asthma misunderstood by even medical professionals?
Whew, this is a big post. Ok, I ended up on antibiotics, prednisone, and albuterol Nebs every two to three hours. It took about six days to get back to normal.