Ah it’s that time again. Home Intravenous Antibiotics and work. Always a tricky balance, but one made a lot easier for me this time by a job I truly enjoy and that I can plan treatment around. Let me take you back a bit, to my last post but one, ‘fear is not conducive to work’. In it, I mentioned how I’d had a pain in my left lung for the last month which I couldn’t explain.
It wasn’t bad all the time, but it just wouldn’t go away and to be honest it was starting to scare the crap out of me. Normally, when I complete a 14 day course of intravenous antibiotics I am right as rain soon after (for the next 10 months or so). This time, not so much.
By Friday of last week the mystery pain had gone and come back with a vengeance. I got home from work tired and achy and went to bed shortly after. Four hours later I woke up gasping for breath; each breath I drew ending in stabbing, intense pain. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone and for about 15 minutes I honestly wondered if I was going into respiratory arrest. I managed to get control of my breathing after sitting up for an hour or so and decided that I’d try to get a couple more hours sleep and see if the pain was still there when I woke.
It was a bit better, but as soon as I got up and went downstairs I started struggling again. I decided to call 111 who, upon listening to my symptoms told me I needed to get to A&E within the hour. Oh great… it being Saturday morning and I being home alone. And so, I had my first ever ride in an ambulance to the Royal Berks A&E.
The highlight of the journey was definitely when the paramedic got me in a wheelchair at the other end, and on realising that my chair had no foot rests, said, “sorry about that. That’s what happens with government cutbacks.” My hero.
All of my vital stats were ok and it soon became clear that although a thoroughly unpleasant experience, I was going to be fine. My dad arrived a couple of hours later, in time to see me dosed up on tramadol and perhaps not entirely lucid for the next 4 hours. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon.
A further appointment at my CF unit on Monday revealed that, for whatever reason, the IVs I had in October just didn’t do their job. My chest X-ray showed signs of damage/infection in my left upper lobe in precisely the area I’d been experiencing pain for the last 6 weeks.
I’m now on a course of different IV antibiotics for the next two weeks, multiple nebulisers and prednisolone for 28 days. Despite all that, I’m starting to feel much better. Mostly, I’m relieved that I know what was wrong and I can now start to fix it.
One lesson I’ve learnt this week? Always trust your instincts. Oh, and be careful when drawing up intravenous fluids around people’s coffee.