Thursday, June 5, 2008

My CF Story (Part 2)

My CF symptoms started around age 11. When I was in 5th grade, I developed a constant stuffy nose. I always needed to blow it, and it was this thick yellow mucus, not your wimpy watery nose stuff. At the time, I didn’t know this was CF related, but, in retrospect, I realize it was. I blew my nose so much that my teacher told my mom “her nose-blowing is disruptive to the class” (this teacher was like one of those devil-teachers you read about in books). My mom went ballistic, of course.

Then, at age 12 (6th grade) I developed pneumonia. I remember playing with my friend on a Saturday and saying I felt weird, and she said “you are short of breath” – I didn’t even know what that meant! The next day, I had a fever of 101. The third day, my fever was even higher and my mom took me to the CF clinic in Portland. A doctor saw me, some chest x-rays were taken, I was diagnosed with pneumonia, we were given meds, and we were sent home. I remember having such a hard time breathing that I was putting Vick’s vaporub under my nose.

That evening, my temperature spiked to 105 and I could not breath at all, so my mom rushed me to the ER. I remember the nurses pretty much attacked me the second I walked in – I must have looked really sick! The nurses ripped off my clothes and rubbed me down with alcohol and put a Tylenol in my butt to get my temperature down. Out of everything that happened, I remember the feeling of the Tylenol up my butt annoyed me the most…in retrospect, I think that’s bizarre, but, when you are a child, I guess you just don’t always realize how serious things are. I also remember the doctor had such a hard time getting the IV needle into my vein that my mom almost fainted and had to leave the room.

It turned out that my lung had collapsed and my throat was so swollen they almost had to perform a tracheomety. I spent that evening in ICU, but I responded phenomenally to the antibiotics and was moved to the children’s ward the next day. I spent 10 days in the hospital, and for some time after I was discharged, a nursed visited my home daily to administer IV meds.

When I was older, my mom told me the head doctor at the CF clinic yelled at her in the ER for not taking me to see him earlier in the day. And, the CF clinic changed their policy based on this incident – from then on, anyone who came in with an infection was immediately admitted to the hospital. My mom was also told by my doctors that I may have died that night if she had not brought me into the ER. And, that was when they said “yes, now we definitely know she has CF.”

My Fantatstic 5th Grade School Photo

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