Status Asthmaticus

I was dx'd with adult onset asthma about 15 years ago...never was an issue as a child. I've had some bouts every now and them, but nothing that my rescue inhaler or if worse, prednisone wouldn't handle. Well, that all changed on 9/29/10. I was home alone and remember having some difficulty breathing. This is where I have absolutely no recall, and had to piece everything together based on what was told to me along with the EMS report and doctor's notes.

I do not know how long I was home alone, but my husband came home to find me in severe respiratory distress, and "turning blue". He called 911 and the paramedics arrived and did whatever paramedics do to treat in this type of situation. My O2 sat was 53%. (Whichever one wrote up the report underlined that twice.) The report said I was "awake and alert", but again, I have no memory whatsoever being treated by paramedics, taken to the hospital, nothing.

I was intubated as soon as I was brought into the hospital as it was determined that I was in respiratory failure. I was put on a ventilator, in a drug-induced coma, and spent one week in ICU. (Then another week in a regular room.) When they weaned me off of the drugs (propofol) a week later, that was my first memory since the day it happened. I awoke, saw my mother (who lives 500 miles away), and I asked her where I was. (She really was there.)

I do realize that I am very fortunate to be alive, and I have my asthma under control, but I have to say that I am not the same person since this happened. I am depressed (resistent to treatment), I think of the awful nightmares and dreams I had during the week I was sedated...waking up and being restrained and bruised...the repetitive noises of those machines. It's been 1 1/2 years and I really should be over this by now. I mean how many people are in and out of the hospital everyday? I know this is a little off-topic in that my story only started about asthma...
JulesInBmore JulesInBmore
51-55, F
7 Responses May 16, 2012

after I was discharged I had a little trouble after that so to be safe I went to the ER before it happened again, the nurses jaws dropped because they didn't think they were ever gonna see me again. They didn't think I'd make it, but I pulled through and was given a second chance. My body totally shut down and everything :( they say I'm a miracle and I'm very lucky to be alive. Wish I didn't have to face it at such a young age because it rules my life now.

I feel like I just read my own story... I was also in a drug induced coma, life support for 14 hours. I don't remember anything. I don't remember collapsing on the kitchen floor or anything. When I woke up, the first thing I asked was where my brother was. He was in Iraq and I couldn't understand that because I thought he needed to be there with me. These are all things I was told since I don't remember. I have nightmares, flashbacks and everything. I now can't go to school, I'm home schooled, I have anxiety bad, I can't do anything alone. I'm 18 now and it feels like it happened yesterday. So, I know how you feel... I struggle a lot with it.

I agree that you are very fortunate to be alive after such an ordeal. As you said there are many things that you don't remember and even others that you don't understand. As i read it, this was the beginning of your depression? If that's true, i have to think that one of the medications they gave you has something to do with it.<br />
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Now it makes me wonder if there is a point, or a specific event that started my depression. I remember very little about my childhood so i am sure i may never figure out where my depression began.<br />
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Thank you for sharing your story. I am happy that you have your asthma under control. I for one am glad that you are still here with us.

I believe I've always had clinical depression. I was on antidepressants long before this happened. But having said that, my depression became much, much worse (and treatment-resistant) after this occurred. Like you, I'm wondering whether it was not so much the trauma as the meds I was given. I was given Ketamine and some sort of paralytic for intubation. I was kept sedated on Propofol and God-knows-what-else for a week. I'm suspicious that Propofol - being administered for that long - could have worsened my depression. I suppose I will never know...Thanks for taking an interest in my story.

Your welcome. My interest is primarily in you :)

I found out a lot about Propofol in the last couple hours. I understand it usages and some of the side affects. Two that stood out were changes in mood and emotions. Interesting huh?

But there is little information about long term side affects. The primary reason I refuse to take any more meds for depression.

Your welcome!<br />
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Your whole experience should have been documented....especially being restrained and sedated.

I would rather have memory than a stranger's account of an event.<br />
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It is easy for someone to tell you how your body is responding when they have never had an experience like yours!

And God only knows what went on that wasn't documented. I was black and blue when I awoke...NOT from being stuck from needles...I swear it looked as if I'd be held down...bruises on my ankles, wrists and upper arms...and that was a week after I came into the ER. What the hell did they do? What the hell did *I* do? The dr. told my husband, "they had a hard time getting me sedated. But if someone is restrained, would it be required that it be documented? I wonder if any of it will ever come back to me? So many questions...I'll probably never know. Thx for taking interest in my story...

Everyone takes their own amount of time to heal after a traumatic event. Near death without a memory of the event is very harmful to the mind. I know first hand. <br />
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I think it is good that you can share your stroy!

I'm sorry to hear that...of your NDE, that is. And to think people have been telling me that the loss of memory is my body's way of handling the trauma!

Thank you for sharing. I should go see my doctor tomorrow. I have asthma as well, but have not done anything about it for several years. I have actually had it since childhood but was never diagnosed until about 12 years ago. Just a few weeks ago I almost ended up in the hospital myself, I just barely managed to get my breathing under control by myself after being subjected to steam containing crab oil. I am allergic to crab!

Please don't take it lightly (as I did). Asthma can kill. Get your meds --- but don't use *only* the rescue inhaler. Use it when you need to of course, but use the maintainence inhaler everyday. Sounds like you may need an epi pen!