Saturday, March 21, 2020

What to Expect After having Pneumonia

I've started to see friends posting about family getting infected by the coronavirus. My heart goes out to them. I'm sure they are worried and having a hard time coping. I've been open about the illnesses I've been through because I think it's important to show that there is life after an illness and to share how family and friends can support you.

Me with Daddy in Lucban after the miracle at Kamay ni Hesus.

I've been reading patient stories to understand what they went through. I had one of the worst kind of pneumonia - legionnaire pneumonia. The signs and symptoms of legionnaire pneumonia is very much similar to COVID19. Because I had a pre-existing heart condition, I had complications and had heart failure as well. It was only weeks after that I found out what kind of pneumonia bacteria I got. My doctors took care of me as best as they could, but it left me with lung issues.

What to expect after having pneumonia (especially if you have pre-existing conditions). I'm sharing here what happened to me so you can prepare and make better decisions.

(1) Recovery may take longer than expected - the pneumonia I got had a 10% fatality rate and it took me a year to get well. Don't jump back into your regular routine, take it slowly.

(2) Check for asthma - I didn't realize that I started having asthma after I had pneumonia. I suffered it daily and only eased up after I saw an allergologist.

(3) Allergies - because my immune system became compromised all my allergies came in full force. I was allergic to chicken, chocolate, Coke, crab/shrimps and cockroaches (the smell!). My doctor explained that I was always mildly allergic to these things. I worked really hard to get over my allergies and refused to succumb to it. It took years of eating it little by little, but I eventually got over it.

They pricked me 40 times for the allergy test. I was so thin then.

(4) Your Body Will be Different - if you saw the proposal video I shared yesterday. I had to make several stops going up the hill because my lungs couldn't cope with the climb. Over time it's been worse, but I'm working on strengthening my body more through physiotherapy. On hindsight, I should've done physiotherapy after having pneumonia.

(5) Take Care of Your Mental Health - it's been 12 years since I had pneumonia, but I could still feel the effects until today because my lungs has a lot of scars from it. There would be bad days and you will need to have a strong mind, happy heart and solid faith to cope.

Fast-forward 12 years after. Doing physiotherapy to strengthen my body.

My advise for patients is to rest as long as you could. I made really bad decisions after I had pneumonia. I traveled to Singapore for work a few weeks after and tried to go on with my activities as if I didn't have a bad illness. My asthma was left unchecked and I suffered a lot. I think it was my cousin who suggested I see an allergologist and things got better after that. I probably should have started seeing a respiratory doctor after my bout with pneumonia. So please make sure you have a regular check-up even after you get well from pneumonia. 

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