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.

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7 thoughts on “72 hours of hell.

  1. Stephen,

    No “Silence of the Lambs” jokes this time. It looks like this go-around was pretty awful. Sorry you had to go through it.


  2. COWARD?! HU? That is NOT a word I would use to describe you! Welcome home … I’m terrified to watch the film … So … I guess that makes me a Chicken!

    With all the love in my heart, I say Quit the Stoic … take the drugs! I say “Docs – give the man whatever he wants!” and so be it …

    Glad to have you on this side of the UCSF door!

    (wow – I just realized I forgot to send my morning note … glad you escaped already!)

    Love from Denver –

    Dizzy Ms. Lizzy and Coach Miss Bailey Boo, Too!

  3. Kerri says:

    I don’t think anybody could call you a coward after all you’ve been through, Steve.
    Time after time you’ve fought this thing with everything, and I can understand how frustrating that can be.


  4. Stephen says:

    I hate people to feel sorry for me, but thanks everyone for all the kind comments. All try my best to stay out of the slammer for a while.

  5. Yo’ Steve … None of us feels sorry for you in that “pitty pot” sort of way. Ok – I can only speak for myself but it’s a royal bummer that a good guy who is really TRYING to work with a rather nasty situation has things go so south … You’re one of the good guys … and the world needs more of you.

    On a positive front, I see that your Meter thingie is almost at 300! Whoo HOOOOO!!!!

    FYI – I take a quick glance at it to make sure you’re OK … Dip-dork here looked at it and saw 100 and thought “Wow! Steve’s at 100%” that’s why I was “caught off guard” you were back in the pokie … How’s that for being a dork?!

  6. Sandra says:

    Hey Steve, sorry it happened again. Glad to see you are recovering and no you aren’t a coward, you are a fighter. I just recently went through the whole vent story again, and I know it is not fun, but BIPAP isn’t either. Sending hugs and well wishes. take it slow and do what you can…..you are an inspiration. e-mail me anytime…..Sandra

  7. Cris says:

    I don’t think you’ve ever been a coward. I think you’re facing your future as bravely as anyone can. I know it’s a dark picture….I hope they don’t have to use your advanced directives anytime soon, though.

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