Saturday, 18 February 2012

Being a 'good' patient

Well, time flies! It's been a little while since I last updated - I'm such a bad blogger

It was my birthday this week, and I spent it in hospital :( Not how I planned to spend my birthday at all! I'm not hugely into birthdays anyway, and I don't make a big deal of celebrating my own birthday, but being in hospital just made it so much worse! My work friends were all so lovely though, and really went out of their way to make the day as good as it could be. They'd already planned things and had a collection (it was my 30th birthday), so with a few changes, we still had our celebrations. I was so touched by the effort that they put into the day, it would have been lovely if it had just been a normal work day and I wasn't in hospital, but the fact that they went to so much effort to cheer me up as I was in hospital - I really do know some wonderful people!!!

Now, the hospital admission. I had a cold last week, and as soon as I felt that I was getting over it, I picked up another one. I thought my lungs were going to manage but I gradually became increasingly wheezy and breathless. I took myself over to A&E expecting to be able to go home a few hours later, but ended up in resus and had the works - back to back nebs, IV magnesium and IV aminophylline. I honestly didn't feel too bad, but my sats weren't great, my heart was racing along and apparently my chest sounded awful so I was admitted. 
The morning of my birthday, I was still on IV aminophylline. The usual procedure is that I have to be clear of all IV drugs for at least 24 hours, and still be okay, before discharge. So although I wanted to go home, I wasn't expecting it to happen. Then I saw Dr P walk on the ward! The respiratory ward has a relatively new system where there is a doctor on 'take' for a week at a time, so when you're admitted you see this doctor, and unless you already have an allocated consultant, he becomes your consultant. My consultant is Dr W, so I expected to be seen my Dr P, then my care be taken over by Dr W and his team. Dr P is really nice, I've met him before but I don't think he has much experience with brittle asthma and how to manage it. Previously, he has not listened to me when I've said that I thought it was too soon to take down the IV aminophylline and I have ended up in ITU. Anyway, he came along to review me. I blew him a lovely peak flow, he listened to my chest and remarked how clear it sounded, and said we could stop the IV aminophylline and I could go home that afternoon if I was okay. Whilst I was happy to hear that I could go home, I also knew it was too soon to stop the IV aminophylline. But because I want to be a good patient, I just smiled and said great. The afternoon came, I was coughing and wheezing a little and my pulse had shot back up. I was expecting to be reviewed by one of the junior doctors, and wasn't sure I'd be allowed home. Then the nurse looking after me came over with my discharge letter and said "right your discharge letter is done and you can go home....... you are feeling fine, aren't you?". I smiled, said I was fine and went home. I've struggled since being home, I was close to calling an ambulance on my first night home but my lungs settled down by 5am. I'm better than I was, but I know I was discharged too quickly. 

I know that I should have said something, but I find it so hard to have a doctor say to me that I'm fine to go home, and for me to speak up and disagree! I know full well Dr W would not have let me go home so quickly, and whilst I would have whined about it, I know it would have been the right thing to do. Also, I think it would have felt more able to say to him that I thought it was too soon to take down the aminophylline. I'm angry with myself for not speaking up. But, I'm also not impressed with how I was discharged. The junior doctor who wrote my discharge letter didn't even come over to ask how I was or listen to my chest, literally nothing!! The nurse said "you are feeling fine, aren't you?", I didn't feel able, nor want to, then say oh well actually, no, I'm feeling wheezy and think it's too soon for discharge.
I know the problem here is my own problem. I should have felt able to speak up and say what I thought, I mean it is my health! But instead, I went away like a good little patient, to struggle alone at home. I'm not really sure what my point is here, but I'm not happy with myself and how I just did as I was told when I knew it wasn't the best thing for me. 

Anyway, since being home I've slept lots. I am feeling better with each day, but I have an awful sounding, productive cough. I don't think it's infected, which is making me wonder whether this is more related to my bronchiectasis rather than asthma. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are home albeit a little soon and resting lots. Glad your friends were able to celebrate your birthday with you. Hope you feel better soon.