Two weeks ago, Kay Balbi started coughing, sniffling and sneezing. She went to a local walk-in-center on Sunday November 1st, and was prescribed antibiotics, given a breathing treatment and told to contact her Primary Care Physician (PCP)because they thought she had the H1N1 (Swine) flu.
Following up with her doctor the following day, the PCP’s office told her to follow the walk in center’s advice, take the medications and then booked her for a follow up appointment.
By the time the doctor’s appointment rolled around, her phlegm was green and the wheezing had gotten worse. The PCP prescribed much stronger antibiotics, changed the inhaler prescription, and prescribed Prednisone, a steroid, to help knock the viral infection from her body.
The doctor had warned that she would feel energetic from the Prednisone, but that she should focus on rest and hydration. By that Saturday, she was feeling better with breathing more clear. But then Saturday evening, she thought her stomach was going to explode and felt somewhat delirious.
Jamie and Adam on Myth busters, from the Discovery channel recently did a segment on a hot water heater, bursting through two floors in a home. This provides a visual at YouTube of exactly how she felt the swine flu symptoms.
After watching the video, Kay said, that explains why I feel the way I do. ” There seems to be no pressure relief valve inside of me….I assumed it was the medicine I was taking – coming off Prednisone but now I know it is part of the H1N1 Flu Symptoms”, Kay said, “By Sunday November 15th, I had stopped all medications and on Monday, I was in agony again”.
Her body has swelled up from either the flu or the medications, and her eyes -barely slits -look like she is a chipmunk with chubby cheeks. She says her joints ache, and she must use her arms to pull her body up the stairs because her knees are so stiff.
After seeing her condition on Tuesday, November 17th, her sister insisted it was time for a trip to the ER at St. Francis Hospital, in Hartford, CT.
The St. Francis Hospital ER staff was welcoming and she went through intake quickly; they took her vitals and then she in the chair, waiting to see the Rapid Diagnosis Team. Four hours later, she was given an IV and a round of antibiotics, to hopefully bring down some of the swelling.
The hospital did a chest x-ray that came back clear. They took blood and it indicated there was a viral upper respiratory infection. In the St. Francis Hospital ER, patients with possible swine are everywhere; masked; pulling on IV poles, children coming in processed more quickly than the adults.
The hospital staff is clearly overwhelmed with the abnormally high amount of visitors. It took thirteen hours to get processed through the ER and at nine hours, she had reached her breaking point – and the tears began to flow.
She told the staff, I am so sorry “Patience is a virtue of people who feel well; but when I am sick, I totally lack it “.
According to the World Health Organization, the Swine flu has reached pandemic proportions. Evidence of this exists at doctor’s offices and ER rooms all over the country. Patience is wearing thin for patients and health care providers alike.