I started coming down with flu like symptoms this past Sunday...had a little cough and run down feeling. On Monday didn't feel much better..but as the day progressed into the evening, the coughing started getting more frequent. By midnight, I was coughing and not being able to catch my breath. Long story short, went to the hospital for the next 4 days. The Pulmonary Doctor hasn't said exactly what it is yet because of inflammation/mucous buildup etc. that we are trying to clear out with various inhalers and meds. I see him again in 3 weeks. My Oxygen count sitting or laying is 92-94 but moving around or walking, it goes down to 87-89. So...the Dr has me on oxygen (2)for when I am active which I just really hate to take!!
52 yr M, been pretty healthy, 6'0", 185lbs, great BP avg 117/70, Smoker for 30 years 1 pack a day or so of lights. I had the shortness of breath doing sometimes simple things and mucous buildup/clearing of throat. After going through what I just did, I am NOT smoking any more. Not even a consideration!! Doctor says that quitting can help to increase my lung function. I was going to be discharged from the hospital with just meds. Did the walk around and oxygen sat went down to 88...so now have oxygen treatment...borderline? The question I have is......by doing breathing exercises and other physical exercise, can this or will this process improve my Oxygen saturation level to increase? I know I will never be at 96 or higher, but if I can get my O2 level up to 92 or so when i am moving around, I will consider that a success. Thanks for any advice on best exercises too....
Whether your oxygen level will return to normal depends on whether the cause is 1) the acute illness that started "with flu like symptoms"; or 2) chronic lung disease from your many years of smoking cigarettes. The pulmonary doctor should be able to distinguish between the two, as your acute illness resolves. Most likely the fall in oxygen saturation and your symptoms are a combination of the two. From your description, sounds like you have had bronchitis or pneumonia, superimposed on chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Your decision to stop smoking and, hopefully, never smoke again is sound. Stick with that decision. It will hasten your recovery from the current illness, add years to your life and result in a much better quality of life during those years.
It’s understandable that you "hate to take" the oxygen, but look on it as a temporary "crutch" that will enable you to get better, sooner.
An update...almost a week after being discharged, I am feeling great. I have not taken the oxygen since this past Sunday, about 5 days ago. I do not have any shortness of breath and pretty much feel back to normal. I took a few walks over the past few days and didn't even tire. I ordered a pulse oximeter and got it in the mail today. Sitting I'm 94-95 and walking around at 92-93...so...I think I will be ok. I have lots of energy that I didn't before as well.
This whole adventure has made me much more aware of the possibility of getting this disease and I am totally committed to never smoking again. I guess it took this episode to open my eyes and finally do something about this terrible habit.
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