I am posting on behalf of my husband who was recently diagnosed as an asthmatic. I am hoping to get some more info on this situation because it’s been a very confusing and stressful time these last few months.
For some background, my husband is 30 years old and has never before been diagnosed with Asthma or had any breathing issues previously. He used to smoke cigarettes when he was a kid but hasn’t smoked in almost 10 years. As a child of an asthmatic myself I am just having a really hard time understanding how this could suddenly happen so I am just wanting to share our story and see if it makes sense.
About mid-September, my husband came down with a nasty sinus infection. It got worse and worse and the doctors told him it was viral and he had to wait it out. After a few weeks it hadn’t gone away and had started to move to his lungs. He was coughing constantly. After a few more trips to the doctor he was then prescribed an albuterol inhaler and told to take it every 4 hour hours. He was also given codeine and antibiotics though the doctors kept saying it was mostly likely viral.
After almost a week of being on the inhaler and antibiotics he wasn’t getting any better and was in fact getting worse. He went back to the Urgent Care clinic and they told us he needed to go to the hospital right away because he could have a pulmonary embolism and he needed a CAT Scan right away.
We went straight to the hospital ER and were received by a very skeptical ER staff. They ran tests to check him for an embolism and determined he didn’t have one. They gave him a neubulizer treatment and his breathing which was quite labored by that point cleared right up. He was breathing like a normal person for the first time in weeks.
They prescribed Qvarr and tesalon perles and sent us home. I stayed next to him most of the night and he was breathing fine. The perles helped with the coughing and the Qvarr seemed to be helping as well.
When I woke up the next morning, he was barely able to breathe. We ended up going back to the hospital ER right away where again the gave him a nebulizer and it seemed to work at first then all of a sudden he went rapidly downhill into acute respiratory failure.
Ultimately he had to be intubated and was hospitalized for 5 days. They pumped him full of every antibiotic they could think of. They told me he was an un-diagnosed child-asthmatic and that this was reactive airway disease ( a catch all term from what I’ve learned)
The intubation – while it saved his life – caused a hole in one of his lungs and some subcutaneous emphysema. Luckily we were able to get him off the tube without a chest drain.
He has been home recovering for a few weeks. His breathing will still get bad from time to time and he had to go into urgent care for a few more breathing treatments.
His albuterol inhaler doesn’t seem to help very much so the doctors prescribed a nebulizer which is much for effective when he has flare ups. He’s taking Qvarr twice a day which seems to be helping the most.
Smoke and certain perfumes seem to be a trigger that easily get him spiraling into an asthma attack where he has to take the nebulizer.
I am just very lost and confused about how this could so suddenly happen. We’ve been waiting for a referral to pulmonary specialist for a few weeks now but it’s been hard just not understanding how you could just suddenly become an asthmatic to this level.
Any shared info would be appreciated on this. Has this happened to anyone else? Is it normal for Asthma to just click on one day out of the blue? A silly question I know but I am just baffled.