Friday, November 5, 2010

Another hospital stay, urgh!

Well, I managed to stay out of Club Med for 9 whole months. I had gotten pretty used to dealing with my illness at home with my weekly IVIG. Sure I have had daily symptoms of weakness and vision issues that are a bother but I was getting used to managing my new life. Unfortunately the beast had other plans and a myasthenic crisis decended upon me on Monday.

For those of you who don't know, a Myasthenic Crisis is when the illness affects the muscles involved in swallowing and breathing. I have had three of these since my illness began, scary stuff when you can't communicate to the doctors what is going on but I will start at the beginning.

As you know, in September I had a port put in for my weekly infusions. It has worked wonders in not having to get jabbed multiple times trying to find a vein that will work with the IV but the incision never stopped itching and has been red the entire time. Not hot or oozing, just red. Last week my IVIG nurse said I should really let the surgeon know about the itching and redness so Monday morning I went in and showed the nurse what it looked/felt like. She spoke with the doctor and they said I should take Claritin for 7 days and call if it got worse or if after 7 days it didn't improve.

40 minutes after taking the Claritin, which I have never taken before, I couldn't open my eyes, lift my arms, or speak/breathe very well. My husband put a mestinon under my tongue and the weakness slightly subsided. An hour and a half later I was in dire straits, any attempt at breathing resulted in an awful sound and I was like a wet noodle. My hubby put me on my walker and wheeled me out to the car and rushed me to the ER. He explained what was going on and they rushed me back and gave me IV prednisone and ordered a NIF test (this tests the strength of the diaphragm muscle). The prednisone helped quite a bit and my NIF score was 20. Anything under 20 and they ventilate you and put you in the ICU which I never wish to experience so I was teetering. They admitted me to the hospital and ordered three days of IVIG and observation.

By day two my NIF was up to 25 and day three it was up to 30, then it went back down to 22, and then back up to 25. I was able to convince them to release me and let me have the 3rd day of treatment at home. I missed my kids and husband and my own bed and sleeping without people waking me up all the time blah, blah, blah.

So now I am resting and recovering. The best guess is that I was having an allergic reaction to the stitches under the skin and that the Claritin didn't agree with the MG and that pushed me into a crisis. So, no more claritin for me, I can deal with the itching until the stitches dissolve though I have no idea how long that will take:)

A few notes for those of you who haven't been admitted for a crisis/exacerbation. Make sure you have a binder/folder with a list of all of your medications, your neurologist's contact information, any test results from prior issues, any allergies or sensitivities, and a durable medical power of attorney so if you get ventilated you have someone who can speak for you. I also recommend requesting that you are able to self medicate your mestinon. I take mine every two hours and if it is late it is bad news, for the nurses about 80% of medications can wait 15 - 30 minutes without making the patient very sick but that isn't the case with myasthenics and mestinon so if you are strong enough make sure to insist this. Also pay close attention to the other meds they are giving you. Two of mine were incorrect. One they wanted to give me two extended release tablets of a med that I take 2 times a day and that would have resulted in an overdose. The other was the calcium I take. I take 500mg of calcium 3 times a day and they sent up Tums. While tums has calcium, the antacid part coats the stomach blocking the absorption of my much needed meds.

I hope this helps someone. For now, I rest and recharge. Stay strong.

1 comment:

  1. Last January I went to the ER for my breathing. My NIF was 15...not good! I ahve an adapter to use with the trach, and I was having such a terrible time!! G Glad you're doing better!!