A shocking diagnosis to be aware of
Thursday, March 08, 2012
First and foremost, I want to tell my spark friends that I do NOT have anything life-threatening, I am ok.
I'll make a long story short (I'll try to) before I get to the diagnosis so you can have a better understanding. For the past month, I have been sick on and off with a cold (or so I thought). The symptoms would be fatigue, a slight coughing (which occurred at its worst at night), and a little bit of a sore throat, but I would be well enough in the mornings to go on with the day. The symptoms were on and off, but not enough to be in bed, just annoying more than disabling. I went to work as usual, no problem. I took over-the-counter (OTC) medications and they did the trick for several days, then the annoying symptoms would return and I would try another OTC remedy, they would work, I felt better, on and on this went. Tuesday evening was different--during the evening I had the worst sore throat. I took honey, gargled with salt water, and it relieved most of the soreness along with taking Extra-Strength Tylenol to ease the pain. I also started coughing like mad but as suddenly as it started, it stopped. I managed to get a good nights sleep. Yesterday morning, though my throat was a bit scratchy and the cough was still there, I still went to work, thinking that "I'll feel better as the day goes by". Famous last words. As I arrived at the dialysis unit to do my pick-up of their labs around 3:00, all of a sudden, while I was still in the company van, I felt the extreme soreness in my throat return and I coughed for about a minute or 2. Okay, good, it passed, I said to myself. I went in, said my hello's to everyone, and all of a sudden, my airway constricted. That coughing came back with a vengeance and I could barely inhale! The unit nurse quickly put me onto a reclining chair, she hooked me up to oxygen and called 911. The medics came, saw that I was in distress, and immediately took me to the ER. I was given a nebulizer enroute to open my airway. Thankfully, it really did the trick, it kept the coughing at bay and I was able to draw in a breath a little better. Now here's why even the ER DR was baffled in the beginning. I had no fever, my vital signs were normal, the xrays that they took of my lungs showed NO congestion, I don't smoke, I didn't have an allergic reaction to food or meds, and during the whole month, never once did I have nasal congestion (come to think of it, there was no sneezing or runny nose). They then decided to xray my neck and they saw that the swelling was in the trachea and larynx (in lay terms, that's your windpipe and voice-box, in that order), for which I was given a steroid to reduce swelling.
The diagnosis? Pertussis, which you most likely would know it by the term Whooping or crouping cough. Yes, I know that it's mostly babies and little kids that get this, but in CAN happen with adults even if you did have your shots when you were a kid (I did). I will be out of work until Tuesday. I got Rx meds for the cough and an antibiotic. Right now, it's Thursday, late afternoon, close to 5:00 and there's still a slight cough, but for the first time since this started, I feel like it IS truly going away along with the sore throat. Never did I experience anything more frightening than not being able to breathe. Next time, if I'm not "feeling like myself" I will not play around, I will go directly to the Dr and I'm advising any of you to do the same, no matter how minor.