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I was first diagnosed with pneumonia and pleurisy in February, after much to-ing and fro-ing between my doctor and the emergency room of my local hospital. After coughing up blood during the night, and a family history of embolisms (clots) my doctor was worried that I'd had a pulmonary embolism, and wanted the hospital to check me over immediately. The hospital initially thought that I had a slight infection.
After getting bloods drawn at both the doctor's office and at the hospital, they finally found a cubicle for me. It meant they could slip a blood pressure monitor over my arm, and a blood oxygen clip onto my finger. My temperature was also taken. My blood pressure was 89/60 — low. My oxygen sats were 94 percent. Low. And my temperature was running high. Finally, it was clear that there was something wrong.
They ran an ECG, which came back with abnormal results. They ran blood gas tests, which involved putting a needle into the artery in my wrist, had to be repeated four times. It was the most painful blood test I've ever had. Luckily, those tests indicated that enough oxygen was circulating in my blood, which told the hospital that I hadn't had an embolism.
I went for a chest X-ray and an MRI. They showed that I had a massive pneumonia infection on my lungs as well as pleurisy, which is the medical term for fluid build up between the layers of spongey tissue of the lungs. Basically, it all causes pain, pain, and more pain. I'd arrived at the ER finding it difficult to breathe, coughing my lungs up, and coughing up blood. It took the better part of a full day waiting around and a full battery of tests but this was it: the answers I'd been waiting for, the treatments I'd been desperate to take.
'No Antibiotics Are Needed'
All I could do was rest, take painkillers (over the counter paracetemol and ibuprofen to reduce inflammation) if the pain got particularly bothersome, and drink plenty of water. So that's what I did. Keep in mind that a diagnosis of pneumonia and pleurisy at the age of 23 is fairly unusual when you're usually relatively fit and healthy, so I was feeling more than a little bit under the weather. All I could really do was sleep, lounge around on the couch, ask my husband to bring me food and pet my dog. Four weeks later, I was no better, but figured things would improve on their own.