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Old 02-07-2012, 05:16 PM   #1
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Unhappy Back from hospital stay, but more asthma. What to do?

my girlfriend had several severe asthma attacks several days ago and had to go to the ER. she had to stay in the hospital for a few days due to the severity of her asthma attacks and had two more asthma attacks while in the hospital. the ER doctor said it was one of the worst asthma attacks he's seen in a long time. needless to say, i'm still a bit shaken up by all of this.

the doctor says she's stable enough so she's back at home now with a lot of meds from the hospital. she's still weak and exhausted, her chest is very sore, and she has pain when she breathes. however, the doctor told us that this is all very normal considering the severity of her asthma attacks. she's been taking all of the prescribed treatment/meds and trying to get as much rest as possible.

about half an hour ago, she began wheezing and coughing. i got her some tea, which seemed to help with the coughing, but her breathing still sounds tight.

I'm concerned that she is going into another severe asthma attack, but she says that it is normal and not to be concerned. Is this normal or should we consider going back to the hospital? If she has another asthma attack, should we return to the hospital immediately or are additional asthma attacks normal? Is there anything I can do to help her recovery?

*update*
i spoke with an RN through the insurance helpline who said that wheezing and coughing are normal and expected during recovery. she also mentioned that "second wave" attacks are well-documented and normal after an initial attack and can be dealt with at home with meds.

my gf just finished her scheduled nebulizer treatment about 20 minutes ago and her symptoms seemed better. about 10 minutes ago, i found her sitting on the bed, leaning over, wheezing and coughing and using her inhaler. her neck and shoulder muscles feel tight, she's complaining of chest tightness and that it hurts for her to breathe. i can hear how tight her chest is when she's trying to breathe and it's pretty frightening.

still, she says she is okay and just needs another nebulizer treatment and refuses to go to the ER. she's had asthma since she was a kid, so i try to trust her judgment.

she's on another nebulizer treatment now, but her breathing still sounds so tight. she insists on sitting hunched over and can only say a few words at a time.

not sure how long these second wave attacks are supposed to last? how bad are they supposed to get before they get better? is there anything that i can do to help her through these "recovery" periods?

Last edited by ConnorW; 02-07-2012 at 06:05 PM.

 
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:18 PM   #2
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Re: Back from hospital stay, but more asthma. What to do?

It sounds like your girlfriend has pretty bad asthma. However, she has been dealing with it for a long time, and she probably knows what to do and knows when she is in trouble. I assume she's on strong medicines such as oral steroids, so as long as the nebulizer treatments are helping, try not to worry too much, just stay with her and help in whatever ways you can.

She may want distraction, TV or reading to her. She may not feel much like eating, but bring her small, light meals that will be easy to swallow and digest. Not too much fat. Make sure the air around her is as healthy as possible. Ask whether a humidifier would help.

If her lips or fingernails turn blue, or if she seems confused and disoriented, like she doesn't know where she is or what's going on, get her emergency help no matter what she says.

 
Old 02-07-2012, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: Back from hospital stay, but more asthma. What to do?

Thanks for your response. She has been having her latest asthma attack for about 30 mins now and the last 3 nebulizer treatments and 4 puffs of her albuterol have only had very minimal effect. She's still hunched over, her ribcage is sunken in and her breathing is so tight, however, she still insists that there is no need to go to the ER. It is frightening, but I will try to let her be the judge for now.

 
Old 02-07-2012, 06:35 PM   #4
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Re: Back from hospital stay, but more asthma. What to do?

That is NOT good, but I don't know that much about really severe attacks.

Call the hospital and tell them she has visible retractions. Ask what to do.

 
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