I had my post-hospital follow-up visit with my pulmonologist today. The adventure started with a CT scan to see how well my lungs were healing from my most recent bout of pneumonia… and it ended with me learning how to give myself a shot in the belly. Needless to say, it was an interesting afternoon.
The CT scan showed a slight improvement in the patches of “ground glass” — hazy areas that indicate lingering inflammation in my lungs. But, after two weeks of IV antibiotics and ongoing prednisone, the Doc wasn’t pleased with the speed of my progress. So, he’s decided to add a short course of Imuran to my daily 40 mg dose of prednisone in hopes of speeding this thing along.
Imuran is used to prevent transplant rejection, as well as to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In short, we’ve added one immunosuppressant on top of another. I am now, as one PF group member on Facebook put it, a germ magnet. Hand sanitizer — which we lovingly call “goop” in my family — is my new best friend. I’ve always carried it with me. Now I carry multiple bottles just in case.
When I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis last fall, my Doc told me infection was my Achilles heal. A simple cold for someone else could land me in the me in the hospital. I developed a healthy fear of being sneezed on, coughed at or unknowingly slimed in any number of ways. I gelled shopping carts, telephones, computer keyboards and the steering wheel of my car. I bleached the sponge in the breakroom at work. I washed my hands until they chapped and liberally applied goop before meals and after shaking hands. And still… two cases of pneumonia and two hospital stays. What’s a germ magnet to do?
I guess the only thing I can do is stick to the plan …. ERSRGOMAAM (eat right, sleep right, get off my ass and move)… and goop! Lots and lots of goop!
But what about that belly shot thing? That has nothing to do with my PF… at least not directly. That little party is all thanks to my erstwhile picc line. The high dose aspirin (650 mg, 3x a day) wasn’t doing anything to bust the clot. In fact, my left arm is even more swollen and is now tender on the inside of my elbow. We’ve switched to twice daily injections of the blood thinner Lovenox. I’m supposed to shoot myself around my belly button, and each injection leaves a little bruise. I’m looking at five days of this (10 injections), so I’m thinking about “tatooing” an “S” around my navel. Or maybe a smiley face. Hmmmm…. this could be fun! Any other ideas?