It Was a Meltdown (Part 1)
Editor's note: This is part 1 of a 2-part series. Be sure to check out part 2 as well!
I was so tired. I couldn’t stay awake. It was a Wednesday morning and I couldn’t function. I kept dozing off. What was the matter with me? This wasn’t right. I wasn’t right! This has been going on for a while but not to this extent. It had just been the past few days that were really bad.
Doctors and allergies
Calling the doctor
When calling the doctor’s office, the receptionist answered: “Your doctor and others are busy. Could someone call you back later today?” My response was, "Of course, that would be fine." It was soon after 5:00 and no one from the doctor’s office has called me back. They sometimes call around 5:30. Maybe the nurse didn’t get the message.
As some may know, when I clean, especially when I’m around dust; when I eat some things or get around some scents; take some medications or as my husband says “when you breathe", it’s allergies.
I end up sleeping away 2-3 days when this happens, my eyes swell shut, my oxygen levels drop, I get short of breath, and I’m sick. Off to the doctor's office I go. The usual treatment is prednisone and an antibiotic because I'm often thrown into an exacerbation.
Waiting for a call
Strangely, I still hadn't received a call back the following morning (Thursday). At around 11:00 am, I called back again to schedule an appointment. I mentioned that it was so strange that no one called me back after my call yesterday. Yes, I will wait for someone to call me back. Never have I had to wait for someone to call the following day. They must be busy. Yes, I will wait for a call. There is no choice.
It was now Friday. Why can’t I function? Think? Stay awake? Still, there was no return call from my doctor’s nurse. I just wanted to cry. I was so tired and didn't know why. I got back to my bedroom and laid down. Why aren’t they calling? I’m off to sleep.
I waited until it was close to 4:00 pm. This was a different receptionist. I told her that I had called and no one was returning my call. She asked, "You called yesterday?” I said, “Yes, and the day before that. Never have I called and not had someone return my call that same day. If the nurse can’t call, someone calls to let me know. This has always been the best place, this clinic cared!”
To the hospital
I can't function
She said that there was no way I could get in as it was Friday. I said fine, I guess that I will just have to go to the emergency department. I can’t stay awake and I can’t function. I said I don’t have Covid. I think that’s what triggered the strange response. I think they only heard Covid.
My husband took me to the hospital and went in with me. He could come in with me, even with Covid regulations. We both had to wear masks. The only ones who can’t have visitors are those in the nursing home. That’s so sad and so lonely. I told my husband, “maybe the clinic was busy with Covid patients”.
I felt bad about my attitude and I had never thought of the clinic being so busy. But someone could have called.
My doctor ended up seeing me in the ED. I apologized for my attitude, but I don’t know what to do. He said that was okay, as did a nurse. I was so tired.
Then I got a spiel about what he was going to do. A lot of blood work, a chest x-ray, checking for a stroke and whatever else. When he got the reports, he said that my lungs aren’t too bad, no pneumonia. Also, no stroke and no this or that.
Have you ever had a meltdown in a healthcare setting?
Shortness of breath
Question and answer
He asked if shortness of breath was usually what prompted my visits to the ED. For those unfamiliar with that term, it stands for shortness of breath. I mentioned again the severe fatigue and falling asleep where ever I was sitting or standing. I finally said, “yes, shortness of breath”.
I felt so stupid
There were 5 or 6 people in the room including me. Every time he asked about this or that, all eyes were upon me. I wanted out. Wishing there was only 2” high of myself. I wanted to shrink. Really I’m 5’1”. I was tired of saying “I’m so tired” and my oxygen levels drop. The actual saying is I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Thinking back, I did come in with that before. We had discussed medications, etc. I believe that I was put on prednisone and an antibiotic.
The meds did work, for a time. The prednisone and antibiotic. My breathing improved and so did my back and leg pain. That felt so good. Prednisone could be a miracle drug. Did my fatigue improve? Not really. Yesterday was bad. I couldn’t stay awake and wasn’t safe even in my office chair, I felt like I was going to slide out of it. It happened before. The bed sounded so good. That said, my meltdown really bothered me. I don’t like that kind of attitude.
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Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?