This is a follow-up post to the video I put up on several Facebook locations earlier today. I describe here exactly what happened, and before I move on, you need to be aware that I pull no punches. Some of the descriptive may turn your stomach. It did mine.

So here we go.

During our brief trip to Blackpool after Christmas, I manage to contract a chest infection. I was just getting over a similar infection from before Christmas, when this one struck with a vengeance and by Sunday I could hardly breathe. I went to see my GP on Monday morning, New Year’s Eve, and started a second course of amoxicillin 1000 mg, three times a day for five days.

We spent New Year’s Day at a family party held at my sister-in-law’s farm, and as the afternoon and evening dragged on I began to feel really ill.

Move to 2 AM and I was having anxiety attacks because I couldn’t get my breath at all, so I dialled the NHS helpline 111. After a lengthy debate they decided to send for an ambulance, despite my insistence that I didn’t need one. I just needed to know how to control the anxiety and my breathing. The ambulance turned up at 3:30 and they decided to ship me off to A&E, even though I said I did not want to go to A&E I just wanted to know how to control my breathing and the anxiety.

Seven bastard hours we were in that department, and when they finally decided what was wrong and what to do about it, they prescribed doxycycline 200 mg, to be taken in tandem with the amoxicillin. They made me take two of the pills there and then.

Twenty minutes later, they began to work and their first effect was to make me throw up. I ended up puking into a sink three times in five minutes. But that was nothing compared with what was to follow.

We were on our way out of A&E, making our way to the hospital pharmacy to fill the prescription, when I urgently needed the toilet. The nearest was a walk of about 100 yards. I didn’t make it. This doxycycline moved my bowels. Worse, it did so time and time again with every step I took. And this didn’t just happen once. It happened on four separate occasions. My wife had to deal with the prescription while I tried to clean myself up in one of the hospital lavatories.

But I still went home plastered in shit from the waist downwards. When I got home my poor wife had to help me clean up in the bath, after which we worked together on cleaning the soiled clothing as best we could.

I tried the pill again in the afternoon, with similar results, although not as catastrophic. After that, I went to see my GP again this morning and he’s now put me on amoxicillin 500 mg three times a day, supported by clarithromycin 500 mg twice a day. It’s a combination I’ve taken before and although it upsets my stomach, it doesn’t make me actually throw up.

The other advantage of speaking to my GP is that he keeps me fully informed. The reason this infection is much worse than others in the past is that my right lung is not operating at all. It’s not dead, but it’s not supplying any oxygen to my bloodstream because it’s chock full of infected gunge, and that’s what we’re trying to sort out over the coming week.

As I write, my life is dominated by the chest infection and its aggravation of my COPD. There are so many things that are not happening because of it, one of which is sleep. I wrote this a minute or two after three in the morning, and I was shattered, I needed more sleep, but I couldn’t. The moment I lay down, the infection kicked in, and the hiatuses in my breathing create the same urgency which sent me to A&E in the first place.

Throughout the day, I was still fragile going from cold to hot, hot to cold, still having those flashes when I cannot breathe at all, but now I know how to deal with them. I don’t blame the crew at A&E. They had people queuing up on trolleys in the corridors, and they were obviously stretched almost to breaking point. In addition, they don’t know me as well as my GP does, and all they asked me was about allergies and as far as I’m concerned, I don’t have any.

It has simply been a catalogue of disaster from minute one.

I entitled this post ‘Breakthrough’ with good reason. It’s now six in the evening, and there has been a breakthrough, but it’s been only in the last hour when the infected crap in my right lung has begun to respond to the antibiotics. Even as I dictate these words, my breathing is becoming a little easier.

I don’t believe I’ve turned the corner, but I do believe I’ve reached the corner and by early next week I should be back to my normal, irritating self.

There’s one positive to come out of this. At least I think it’s a positive I won’t know properly until the end of next week.

I haven’t had a cigarette since last weekend.

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