NO pneumonia shot!

I had a GRAND plan for rearranging my 2 spaces at Stars this week.  Even drew up a schematic (with MULTIPLE revisions!) to be sure I didn’t forget something.  (which I HAVE done in the past!  Restocked and rearranged the booth ‘just so’ and noticed one piece of furniture I forgot to put back!)  I was READY to roll!

Had my Dr. appt to get my pneumonia shot at 9:45.  Even with having to wait a bit in case of allergic reaction, I could get to Stars right at 11 when they opened.  Have a good 4 hours to work before I needed to head out at 3 to avoid traffic going home.

Ahhhhh . .  the best laid plans.  sigh.  What I THOUGHT was to be a brief medical consultation and quick pneumonia immunization turned into an hour and 20 minute appointment.  And NO shot!!  Major DISappointment!  This doctor feels I need a COMPLETE EVALUATION to find out what is making me get sick with what I ‘presume’ is pneumonia but could well be something else??? HUH???  Silly ME to have believed 3 different ER doctors and my primary care and x-rays that said I had pneumonia!  Bacterial pneumonia, at that; indicating the need for antibiotics to get well.

Okay, I already KNEW that there were multiple kinds of pneumonia, in 2 main categories;  Viral and bacterial.  Viral, pneumonia, like any other VIRUS does NOT respond to antibiotics,  I get that.  So all those doctors whom I saw while I was sick must have presumed that I had BACTERIAL pneumonia, because they put me on antibiotics right away.  (but never did a culture; made the diagnosis from the x-ray, which CLEARLY showed a big ole pneumonia spot on my lung!)

AND when I didn’t get better after a few days on the antibiotics, but in fact was WORSE; they prescribed additional and stronger antibiotics.  I did eventually get better both times.  But was it because of the antibiotics or had the VIRUS just ‘run it’s course’??

My primary care doc (who referred me to this allergy specialist!) is not one to prescribe antibiotics  for any ole reason.  BUT he does know me and my medical history very well as I have been going to him for 14 years.  And because of my asthma and scoliosis (which scrunches my lungs) I do not have very strong lungs and get respiratory infections easily.

This new allergy doctor did a breathing test on me to see how much air my lungs were moving.  You blow into a tube AND suck back as much air as you can.  Asthma is caused by OLD air getting trapped in the lungs; thereby not leaving as much ROOM for new air.  That, I have always known.  What I learned yesterday is that MY lungs work at only a 35% capacity compared to an average person my age, height and weight.  I KNEW I didn’t have strong lungs, but less then HALF the capacity???  Yikes.  No wonder I get so sick when something affects my lungs.

Still, this allergy doctor tells me that only VIRAL pneumonia triggers asthma.  Therefore, since each time I had pneumonia, given that it greatly exacerbated my asthma, it MUST have been VIRAL pneumonia.  And the pneumonia vaccine is only for BACTERIAL pneumonia.  I understand, but it still befuddles me.  I KNOW how difficult it was for me to BREATH while I was sick.      There ARE exceptions to every rule and medical diagnosis; so at this point I explained to this new doctor that my primary care doctor jokingly calls me ‘Abby’; referencing the ‘abby-normal’ BRAIN from the Young Frankenstein movie.  Not much about me and my medial history falls into the NORMAL category!

So, some blood tests were ordered, I forget why.  Something about seeing if I still have any pneumo antibodies in my system; which would tell him if I NEED a booster pneumonia shot.  (or something like that!)  I have a follow up appt in 2 weeks.  ANd a LOT of questions to ask.

Here’s how “I”, an untrained layperson sees the whole thing.  Because of my asthma and predisposition to ailments in my lungs, my primary care doc highly recommended that I get a pneumonia vaccine. I got one; which is supposed to last ten years.  EXACTLY ten years after I got that shot, I got pneumonia for the first time!  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  I got sick again the NEXT winter, but not with pneumonia.  Then pneumonia WITH A VENGEANCE again this year.  I NEVER want to be THAT sick ever again!!  I’d rather have surgery than get that sick again and I HATE having surgeries and anyone who really knows me, knows that I have had MORE than my fair share of them in my lifetime!

The point being, I will do whatever I need to in order to avoid getting sick like that every year!  It seems LOGICAL to me that I need a pneumonia booster.  The allergy specialist disagrees.  Says REALLY he’d need to examine me WHILE I am sick to determine exactly what I am sick with and what causes it!  Can’t I just get the dang shot and try my luck?!?!?

Yes. I had a mild allergic reaction last time I got my first pneumonia vaccine, at the same time as my flu shot.  The right side of my body got VERY swollen.  ONLY the right side.  The nurse failed to write down which vaccine she had put in which arm; so ‘to be safe’ I was told NOT to get flu or pneumonia shots anymore.  HOWEVER, given that I keep getting pneumonia (or what I and several doctors THINKS is pneumonia!) it’s worth a reevaluation at this time.

This allergy doctor even says only ONE side of my body swelling up is NOT a normal reaction.  That a reaction would be systemic, not one sided!  ‘Abby-normal’! I reminded him!

All I know is that I DO NOT want to suffer with annual bouts of pneumonia!  Seems simple enough for modern medicine to remedy to me!  Heavy sigh.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh boy, what a post! So sorry to hear of your health challenges. One thing I would like to ask is if you take Vit. D? I am sure your doctor would agree if you are not taking it. 2000 units for sure. I take 5000 a day and haven’t been sick with a cold for 2 seasons. Also zinc and selenium. Of course talk to your doctor and see what he says, but I know that these have helped me immensely. I was diagnosed with lymes so I take quite a few supplements which I can tell keep me at a semi-level functioning! :o) Also probiotics to help with your immune system too. I enjoy all your projects and I am amazed at all you accomplish! Take good care of yourself! :o) Lori

  2. When I was a kid I had pneumonia for 3 months. Missed a lot of school. I also have chronic asthma and May is my bad month. So I hear you on the getting sick and being sick of it! My Hashimoto’s seems to flare up worse when I get asthma too. Both create antibodies so no doubt that is my woe.
    I have allergies to almost every thing too. Each year when I get the flu shot they hover over me in case I stop breathing. Man, what a drag to worry about the thing that ought not make you sick in the first place, GAH!!!
    Hope you feel better and fighting fit real soon.
    Love your updates!


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