Trust your knowledge of your own body. Ok, there are people out there who believe everything they see on TV is wrong with them, but if you've had a diagnosed condition for years, please trust what you feel. As I'm writing this my husband of 13 years is in ICU with pneumonia and low blood oxygen saturation.
This started as the flu, or rather "not the flu but a flu-like illness". But, he's on beta blockers for heart arrythmia (which means he can't take decongestants), he has cerebral palsy because he was 3.5 months premature (so he has weak lungs as well), and asthma. Monday night into Tuesday he was up all night coughing despite cough medication and he'd been running a fever of 102-103.5 for several days. His doctor couldn't fit him in until later in the week and recommended he go to the urgent care run by the hospital instead. Several other people in the household had been ill with this 'pseudo flu' over the past week, and so we were unsurprised with that part of the diagnosis.
However, despite his asthma, his weak lungs, the cough and continuous high fever that would not break even with Tylenol and ibuprofen alternated, the Urgent Care doctor refused even to look at the possibility of pneumonia. As a matter of fact he said we were "over reacting" by worrying about it in the first place. He diagnosed it as the pseudo flu and sinusitis, sent him home with a relatively weak antibiotic and Tylenol with codeine for the cough and fever.
36 hours later, He was again running a fever of 103.5 that wouldn't break or even come down much, he was breathing like.. well like a race horse after the race, even just laying in bed, couldn't sit up on his own, and was coughing worse then ever. And to top it off he had that palish/bluish tint to his skin that I know all too well from my own breathing issues.
By the time I convinced him to go to the hospital Thursday morning (yes, it took convincing, he's stubborn like that, and it was sinusitis, remember, the doctor said so) his oxygen saturation was down to 82%!! They did the chest x-ray the urgent care should have (they have the capability to do it in house, which was another reason his Dr. wanted him to go to that one) and he had a diagnosis of pneumonia. Even before that was official the Er Doc was talking about keeping him at least one night for observation because of his oxygen level (which came up to a whopping 88% even on oxygen).
Saturday morning he was still running a fever, his oxygen levels dropped further, and his breathing worsened so they downgraded him to the ICU and ran another x-ray. The pneumonia had worsened despite IV antibiotics. He spent most of Saturday on a bipap (non-invasive ventilator) and 15 liters of oxygen, and this morning they managed to take him off the bipap without his sat dropping below 90%. 90% oxygen saturation on 15 liters still isn't very good though. He can talk, in broken sentences, but can't talk on the phone, and his youngest can't visit him in the ICU, which means I can't visit him for very long. I'm keeping in contact with the nursing staff by phone. He's weak; a man who can, despite his disability, pick up his not quite 8 year old daughter and lift her into his lap can't pick up a paper cup half filled with juice. We don't know if he'll be home in time for her birthday in 2 weeks, though if he's out of the ICU we can move some of the celebration to him. Right now I am upset, scared that he's going to worsen and that I may lose him to this, and trying to deal with two upset (and hence whiny) children as well as get the house ready in case my mother-in-law decides to fly down (she's a neat freak, no excuses person, and things have been.. in an upheaval with everyone sick lately with this 'not-flu').
On Tuesday we strongly suspected he had pneumonia, and with reason. He has many risk factors for it and it's not uncommon for him to get it in such situations. He had a high temperature over a long period of time, he was coughing, he wasn't breathing well. The Urgent Care doctor was not interested however in listening to any of that. If he had, my husband may still have pneumonia, it may even still be worsening, but his oxygen saturation would not have gotten so low because we would have been watching for it. It also would have been a lot easier to talk him into going into the hospital because he wouldn't have been convinced it was only sinusitis and he was 'over-reacting' to his symptoms.
And so I say again, listen to your body. Doctors aren't perfect, and some are down right negligent. If you think a Doctor is wrong.. get a second opinion. And if you think they may be wrong and you feel worse definitely go to the hospital don't wait just because you're afraid they're going to laugh at you. Any Doctor who laughs at you isn't worth the paper his degree is printed on. There's some nasty viruses going around, and if you've anything that can be complicated by it, please, pay attention and get help before things get critical.Updated by FloridaSNMOM at Fri Feb 18, 2011, 03:11:46 PM
Still in the icu, but they've moved him to a regular canula finally instead of the high-flo. PT is starting today as well and the pulmonologist is hoping to move him to a 'regular' room tomorrow. We're in week two in the hospital though, and hoping he'll be home before week three. At least if he's out of icu our youngest can visit.Updated by FloridaSNMOM at Mon Feb 21, 2011, 10:48:02 PM
Good news at last, he's coming home tomorrow!! IV antibiotics and we'll have a nurse visiting, plus they're sending him home on oxygen and still on steroids and the whole bit, but he'll be home. 2 weeks in the hospital, half of that in ICU, all over a flu that went into double pneumonia because a doctor didn't take his symptoms seriously.