Every year, every year, I get a chest infection in November.
This year, for the first time, it kicked off some pretty severe asthma. It all started as a bit of a tight chest but in a few days seemed to get very nasty. I wasted time 'logging' onto to the GP's website trying to book an appointment. It soon became apparent that if I wanted to see anybody within 3 weeks' logging on wasn't going to be the way to go. I don't know what everyone else's GP's surgeries are like these days for appointments but it's a three week wait unless I can grab a same day appointment. It was not the greatest experience to explain (beg) to the receptionist that I needed to see a doctor as my temp was 39.5°, I was coughing my lungs out, and getting dizzy when I stood up.
After the receptionist agreed it was an 'emergency' I got a same day appointment. The GP was great - antibiotics for the chest infection, and for the first time ever, Prednisone for my asthma on top of my two inhalers. It hadn't occurred to me (??) that it was asthma making me dizzy as my asthma hadn't ever been serious before. So it was quite a shock to be given a spirometer and told to get myself to A&E if the numbers dropped further. For the first time I was also given a spacer to use with my inhalers. Apparently it improves delivery of the steroids.
Happily the combination of drugs seems to have gotten things under control. But I can't claim to feel 100%, still coughing, still tired, but no longer dizzy and certainly not feeling as ill as I was.
It's rather shaken me up, and reminded me that anyone with asthma can get really quite ill, quite quickly. My asthma as always been really mild, in fact for years' I didn't have an inhaler at all.
I wonder what's changed to make my asthma so much worse? Have the repeated chest infections actually been a result of untreated or under-treated asthma? Was my previous GP wrong in saying 'some people just get sick - there's nothing we can do'. So...I'm having an asthma review. Hoping to get some help in preventing chest infections. I'd like to figure out a way to get through next winter without antibiotics, and Prednisone. I've had Prednisone for severe allergic reactions and it causes the worst insomnia. Lack of sleep really isn't what I need when I'm trying to get well.
Even though I'm still using Ventolin daily I have been told by GP (a different one, no chance of seeing the same person unless its planned weeks in advance) that I've had enough antibiotics and it should all calm down in another week or so. I do think that that difficulty in seeing the same GP means that care is disjointed, and a lot of time is spent referring GP's to notes, getting history. I do rather remember fondly the 'good ole days' when the surgery had a handful of GP's and a sensible number of patients. My surgery now has over 25,000 patients. A mind boggling number.
Before my asthma review I popped over to Asthma UK to look for advice. No light bulb moment, but always a good site to visit.
If anyone has a similar experience we'd love to hear about it, and anything you did to help as advice is always welcome!
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Allergy UK is a great charity providing information and help for people with allergies.
Their hotline is staffed by wonderful people offering their help free of charge.
Their number is: 01322 619 898
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