Before I left the hospital with my new baby, I coughed. It hurt, of course, and caught my attention too, but I quickly forgot about it. That was Thursday, May 19.
By Wednesday, May 25, I could no longer breathe. Over the days I had tried numerous products: mucinex, diurex, salbutamol, and even three lasix pills that I had leftover from last year’s c-section. But I still could not breathe.
I was advised to go to the hospital for tests and an initial x-ray showed that my heart had enlarged considerably since an x-ray taken in December. I was admitted to the hospital for further testing. With each passing minute I was finding it harder to take a breath, and by the time I was taken to my hospital room a radiologist was waiting to do an echo-cardiogram of my heart. I could see the concern as another doctor came into the room and checked over the findings; citing that the right side of my heart was dilated and strained.
Once they left, my doctor came in to see me, and when I saw the expression he had just looking at me, I started to cry. He told me I was going to be sent for a CT and given over to internal medicine specialists because they were certain I had a pulmonary embolism.
If you don’t know what a PE is: a blood clot in the lungs.
During all of this I was by myself, as my husband had all three girls with him. I was completely terrified but tried my best to appear unphased by what was playing out around me. In the meantime, it took four nurses five tries to get an IV started because I was so swollen with fluid that even my one good vein was hiding. Today is the 5th of June and I still have a large, gross bruise on my arm from a failed IV attempt.
Cardiology came and hooked my up to monitors and I was given a large dose of lasix through my IV.
Seriously, never peed so much in my life. And wow did it hurt, because my bladder filled so quickly and my scars are still super fresh. The CT scan itself was very difficult for me as I had to lay flat, and that made breathing ten times harder. But I survived and was wheeled off to the cardiology unit of the hospital, where my husband, kids, and grandparents were waiting for me.
It was good seeing them, and all the while I had been texting my mom and my best friend Chronic for support from afar. It made me feel better knowing I wasn’t alone any longer. I was given a breathing treatment and hooked up to a bunch of monitors while I waited to find out the results of the CT scan. Everyone was praying for me, and in the end all those prayers were answered. The CT scan showed that I didn’t have a PE at all, but rather acute pneumonia. The doctors were completely baffled, because pneumonia so serious should have been visible on my x-ray, but it wasn’t.
Over the next three days I was given massive doses of levaquin, lasix and mucinex, as well as potassium pills and tylenol. I received breathing treatments every four hours as well, and slowly I was finding myself able to breathe again. I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital until my oxygen levels stayed at 97% or better without being connected to an oxygen tank, which took quite awhile. I missed my baby and my family severely, and hated that I was so sick and couldn’t do anything about it, but life always seems to throw me curveballs, and I’m used to it already.
Now I am just finally starting to feel as though I’ve kicked this pneumonia. I am breathing better now, and using my inhaler less. I’ve finished my antibiotics as well as my mucinex. I’m no longer a slave to retained fluids either. I’m certain that had I not gone into labor while still recovering from that severe stomach flu that this would never have happened, but again, life loves making it difficult for me. But I’m glad to be home, and glad to be alive.
I truly was scared that I wouldn’t get to see my baby again.