I'm 32 years old. I don't smoke. I am overweight, though. I have a history of frequent bronchitis and I had pneumonia 2 years ago. I am allergic to a wide array of pollens, molds, and the usual dust mites. And I've been having breathing problems for 4 months.
At the beginning of December (4 months ago), a bunch of kids at my son's preschool were sick, 2 supposedly with pneumonia. Sure enough my son developed a croup-like cough and a couple days later so did I. And then my husband got it. Strangely enough, my son and my husband were given a prescription for azithromycin and their symptoms cleared up. As for me, I had terrible wheezing that always managed to disappear when I was at a doctor's office. Soon, the runny nose symptoms cleared up and I had extreme breathing problems. It felt like my lungs had a chemical burn of some kind. I had to breathe very shallowly to avoid coughing fits. I was coughing up clear, white and green mucous.
Eventually someone put me on some kind of antibiotic, which did nothing. Then I went to the ER (second time now I think), and they diagnosed me with whooping cough. The nebulizer treatment and prednisone worked wonders. The erythromycin didn't do anything noticeable but I continued taking it in high doses.
I ended up in the ER for a second nebulizer treatment at some point, and got one at a doctor's office again a week later. I found out later the director at my son's school was officially diagnosed with whooping cough.
I finished a month's worth of erythro and was feeling a bit better in March. I started to feel like myself again. No more little man screaming at night (wheezing sounds), no harmonica sounds, no crackling. I could walk without getting out of breath. My blood pressure even went down significantly (over several measurements). They gave me a vaccination for pertussis for good measure, and I was supposed to be all better.
About two weeks after that, allergy season hit with a vengeance and everything came back. My lungs FEEL damaged, like they've been sandblasted. I have wheezing every night when I lay down. I have coughing fits every morning. I have chest tightness.
All this time, I've had albuterol inhalers (the ER throws them at me like parade candy, without diagnosing me with anything or helping me to get control of my situation). They help some, especially to get rid of wheezing so I can cough up whatever's causing the noise. But they don't get rid of the irritation feeling, the chest tightness or the feeling that I need to cough.
Also, a week or so ago, I attempted to mow the lawn. I had a lot of breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, to the point I felt tempted to panic. My complexion was gray. I used my inhaler and took a benadryl and improved a bit. I tried going to the ER a couple days later, and they ignored everything I said, gave me my 4th set of X-rays (and they never tell me what they see exactly, just that there's no pneumonia- as if only pneumonia were life threatening), a prescription for azithromycin and more codeine cough syrup. To be frank, I hate their guts. They totally didn't help me, didn't look at my charts, didn't make anything stable or anything better. My doctor had told me to go. But they didn't help. They told me I had a cold and gave me antibiotics and another inhaler. I'm still blown away by their total lack of competence. And how many X-rays should a person get in 4 months anyways? I probably glow in the dark by now.
At my wit's end, I called the university hospital's lung center and begged them for any info on getting a free asthma screening. And surprisingly, they worked it out and I have an appointment, but not until next week. I have no idea if I have asthma or if this is some unnamed disorder caused by having whooping cough, or if it's allergy induced something or other, but it's tearing me apart. I feel so lethargic and limited. I'm scared to death to go for a walk outside. I dread getting up in the mornings. I feel like I'm 90 years old. I have no symptoms of a cold or other infection, though. Just minor sinus congestion from allergies.
On top of everything, I don't actually have insurance, so everything I've mentioned has been dealt with via free or low cost clinics. So I can't just find a different doctor.
Do these symptoms sound familiar to anyone? I'm concerned about my appointment next week. I've never had a lung function test. I'm worried that everything will appear normal, and I won't get any help with what I have. I'm worried they'll write me off if it's not typical asthma.
Hi, an so sorry you have had all these troubles. I don't know if I can help but just my 2 cents. Firstly, the doctors in the ER are almost all residents (haven't taken the board yet). I have had one set my fractured finger wrong and I had to get it rebroken and reset by the ortho surgeon. I would have to message you a bunch of times to tell you how many things they did to me for just a silent migraine. But, they can help the emergency part of it but not so much the diagnostic. It sounds like you have asthma probably created by an allergy. Have you tried taking a daily allergy med like Clarittin? It takes a while to work and I would do it after your appointment. But, you may also have had pertussis. They can do a culture for this but it takes about a month for the results to come back and it goes to the public health department. They were treating you based on symtoms. I wonder if they did a respiratory culture at all on you? Did you have a fever with the first bad episode? In any case you are immune now if you had the vaccine too. You can get your results of the Xrays, it is a patients right. The green mucous you mentioned sounds bacterial.The prenisone just takes the inflammation down and won't fix anything just the breathing problem at the time. If you do get diagnosed with asthma you will get a inhaler for everyday and one for emergencies. At this point you may not figure out what the original problem was. But since antihistamines seem to help you may want to try that route. You may want to get tested for allergies, including grass or other things by your home. Let me know how it goes ok?
Thanks for writing. I had allergy tests done about ten years ago, and came back positive for all the usual suspects: dust mites, molds, pollen, **** roaches (that was weird), cats. I tried about everything available then, but nothing really helped so I gave up on it.
I hope I can get this wheezing/cough/fatigue thing diagnosed soon. I never feel rested and it's hard for me to concentrate on my work. And if I'm somewhere dusty or at a park, I get plenty of tightness in my chest and start to wheeze eventually. At night it hasn't been so bad since I covered the mattress and the pillow and washed all the blankets. But now the fatigue is horrible. I barely feel like cooking meals, it's horrible. Anyways, I'd better get back to work. I'll let you know if I find anything out. My appointment is for Monday, but they called and left a message yesterday to call them, so I hope they don't need to reschedule.
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