I always try to write a little something about each and every hospitalization Ive experienced, but this is one Id just as soon forget about. In total , I spent 7 days in the hospital, 6 of them in the Intensive care unit, 3 of those days spent on continuous Bipap with an Albuterol bleed-in of 15mg/hr, in what seemed more like a living hell then a type of therapy.
This time around when asked what my wishes were concerning intubation, I chose not to.. ( not to be intubated that is) …..Big Mistake, I thought I was doing the brave thing by declining to be intubated if my breathing got bad enough. Feeling like a old pro at this, I thought I could easily fight off the attack with only continuous nebs and Bipap. Had I known just how difficult it was going to be to breath on a bipap machine during an asthma crisis, I would have definitely opted for the breathing tube and ventilator. Bipap therapy supposedly decreases the work of breathing during an acute attack, though in my opinion, the feeling of suffocation you get from having a mask strapped tightly over your face, outweighs any clinical benefits you might have achieved . We were however, able to prevent my CO2 from climbing into the 70s, though it took 3 days to do it. I can’t fault the medical staff, they were great as usual. During those first critical hours they asked me repeatedly..are you “getting tired?” I kept refusing, confident that I could tough it out on the bipap.
Can you say Ativan and Dilaudid? Very untraditional for a severe asthmatic to receive opiates during a respiratory crisis, but in my case these drugs help quell the severe air- hunger associated with fighting the attack.
Hey…I’m usually the first to poke fun at my own disease , and sometimes I’ll even video tape some not- so- pleasant moments in the hospital, but the video my partner captured this time, actually made me cringe. At the end of the clip you can hear the Nurse jokingly say….”your CO2 hasn’t even hit 60 yet”! She says this because Ive been known to have PCO2 as high as 90 during an attack without being intubated. ( Btw…normal PCO2 is 45 or less)
Today, thankfully I’m home breathing considerably better, but the whole experience has left me physically and emotionally drained. Its taken me 95 hospitalizations to finally come to the realization, that I’m probably going to die from this stinking disease. That’s fine, but you know what? …Screw the “dying with dignity” bit! If my death should come in the form of an asthma attack, I hope it happens quickly, or at the very least ,with a tube shoved down my throat, with me peacefully asleep on a ventilator. I’ve lived 54 long years with this disease. I have no desire to suffer anymore. Ive paid my dues. Call me a coward if you want, but I’m changing my code status back to a “full code“. Though I would prefer not being resuscitated if it was evident that I would suffer probable brain damage in the process.