7 Things People Don’t Tell You About Pneumonia

While many of you might’ve thought I have been on a hiatus due to winning the lottery and spending the past month enjoying my new home in Italy, I’ve actually just been sick. Really, really sick. How sick, you ask? So sick that I couldn’t even read. THAT sick.

You see, I went home to Texas for a quick, early Christmas visit with family in mid-December and came back with the worst gift ever: H1N1 flu. (That’s the swine one, in case you didn’t know.)

It’s an evil, evil virus, folks. As in fetal position for six days. And then for me, it quickly turned into pneumonia, with a side of kidney and liver failure. I spent many days in the hospital. Christmas and New Year’s never happened, really.

Basically, you know those stories you read in the newspaper about previously healthy people who get the flu and die unexpectedly? Well, that was ALMOST me. I was one of the lucky ones who pulled through. (And for inquiring minds, I didn’t get my flu shot. I usually do, but I kept putting it off because our whole household had been sick with one thing or another since Halloween. I was waiting until my immune system had rebounded. Big, huge mistake.)

It’s been two weeks since I got out of the hospital now, and I’m still on oxygen. Which makes me feel about 90 years old, and is something that I never dreamed I’d need in my 40s.

Here are a few other things that no one ever told me about pneumonia. (Disclaimer: This is not any kind of medical advice and is based on my singular experience.)

1. When you are in the throes of pneumonia, before the antibiotics start to kick in, every time you cough, you will feel as though someone is reaching down through your lungs and pulling out your soul. And the sound will be violent. Horribly violent.

2. If you have pneumonia but don’t know it yet, the whole not-being-able-to-breath thing can catch you off-guard. At one point, my lips and fingernails turned blue from not enough oxygen. I didn’t know it though because I was lying in the dark, clutching my chest and stomach. When my husband did realize it, that’s when we called the ambulance.

3. Once your lungs fill up with bacteria-laced fluid, it takes a long, long time to get them back to normal. I thought once I’d completed the high-powered antibiotic regimen, I’d be home free. Nope. It can take weeks and sometimes months for you to get a clear chest x-ray. I’m still waiting for mine.

4. In addition to your lungs, it takes a long time for your whole body to get over pneumonia. I didn’t believe that at first. When the doctors told me I’d need another two to three weeks off of work, at least, to recover, I scoffed. I now take back my scoffing.

5. Pneumonia is as much about fatigue as it is about fluid on your lungs. And when I say fatigue, I mean bone-tired fatigue. It’s the kind of fatigue where, in the beginning, taking a shower takes every ounce of energy you have. The kind of fatigue where, I promise you, you will not have what it takes to shave your legs for weeks. Because it’s just too much.

6. Pneumonia jacks up your sleep patterns. You see, you spend so much time in the beginning coughing your head off that you can’t sleep. Not a wink. Then, if you end up in the hospital, too, there’s no sleeping there, either, because they’re busy taking your blood and your vitals and changing your IV 24 hours a day. So you end up going home, an exhausted insomniac who takes a few short naps during the day and stares at the ceiling, pondering the meaning of life all night.

7. Pneumonia can bring you and your spouse closer together. You wouldn’t think this would be true. After all, odds are he has now seen you at your complete and utter worst. He may or may not have had to wash your hair when you didn’t have the energy. He may or may not have had to clean up bio-hazmat things and help you on and off the toilet when you were at your most frail. And let’s face it, there is no way to rock an oxygen tube in your nose. But for us, we’re closer. Because I am usually always in control. And now I wasn’t. He had to step up and take care of me at a very basic and raw level. I couldn’t have made it through this without him. And he almost lost me forever. These kinds of things create a different bond than we had before. And so far, it’s a good one.

Have you ever had H1N1 and/or pneumonia? What’s been your experience?


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112 thoughts on “7 Things People Don’t Tell You About Pneumonia

  1. Crikey Kathy, what a scary scary time. I’m SO glad you made it past this and that your husband was such an angel. Pneumonia sounds absolutely awful, but your experience is a reminder to us all to appreciate our health. xxx

  2. Yikes! I’m so glad you’ve survived. The world would be a sorrier place without you. Pandas are standing by, wishing you a speedy recovery. There is just nothing funny I can say about this. (OK, the part about pandas standing by? That was a LITTLE funny….I just didn’t want to make you laugh and start another painful coughing jag.)

  3. Yes, this will be a Christmas that you and Ryan will never forge, that’s
    for sure—-if it makes you feel any better, it added a few years on me as well!!!!

  4. Yes, this will be a Christmas that you and Ryan will never forget, that’s
    for sure—-if it makes you feel any better, it added a few years on me as well!!!!

    • Ugh. I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s certainly no joke, even though I tried to make light of some things in this post. It’s really, really serious stuff. I just still can’t believe I was healthy with no pre-existing conditions one day, and then within a week, I was near-death. I won’t forget it, either. Thank goodness for antibiotics that worked for me. Some folks aren’t as lucky. 🙁

  5. Good Lord, Kathy! What an ordeal! I hope it’s all behind you. Thank you for the post to remind us that we’re not invincible and that really, really bad little bacteria and viruses are still all around us. Every day is a gift!

    • Thanks for reading, Ann. And you’re so right. I thought I was invincible for sure. No longer! Every day really is a gift. Just hope I can remember that as I get better and better, and a year from now, and …. forever. Feel free to remind me! 🙂

      • I been sick for a month on and off. I found out today that I may have pneumonia. I swear constantly and was put on Antibiotics. It’s hard not to smoke cigs.

  6. Take your time getting well. The world will gladly wait to enjoy your genius! Hugs and special prayers for you my dear friend. Winnie

  7. And to think that I was recently complaining about my allergies.

    Wow, Kathy. SO glad you’re going to conquer this thing. What a scary time for you and the boys. Tell Ryan that I thought he was a saint already, but he’s taken that halo to new heights. You’ve got quite a guy there.

    Grant has contracted H1N1 twice (and had gotten a flu shot both times). The first time, we were on a camping trip and he went to bed early before making s’mores. I knew something was amiss. He woke up the next morning with low-grade fever and respiratory funk, and I took him straight to the doctor, who diagnosed him with a respiratory infection. That evening, his fever spiked to over 105. We took him to the emergency room and he was put on an ice-water IV. He was far too weak to even protest (he was 9 at the time). But he recovered quickly and, thankfully, didn’t get nearly as sick as you did. We were very, very lucky both times. My hearts go out to those who haven’t been.

    • Thanks for reading, Kara, and I’m so so so glad Grant’s brushes with this stuff were not like mine. And yes, I almost feel guilty reading the news stories of families who weren’t as lucky as us. It really could’ve gone either way for me. That’s why I’m trying so hard to deal with the latest setback with gratitude and grace. But frustration’s at the top of that list, too!

    • Hello KathyLynnHarris:
      Your 7 things about pneumonia is a spot on bullseye! Pneumonia and pleural effusion has kicked my ass. Thank you for writing this. It has helped me.


  8. Good lord, that was awful. That happened to my husband a year ago this month, hospital, big drugs, near death etc. Except yours lasted longer (and he took five weeks to recover) and he never had to have oxygen. The bugs are getting stronger than us, just what you read in the news. Thank goodness you survived to tell the tale, understatement! I recommend getting flu shots the very minute you see them advertised at your pharmacy. I ran late this year and that scared me. I am so, so glad you are on the mend and that your fabulous husband came through big time! Onward to full health!

    • Thank you, Kay! Glad your husband is well now, too. Scary, scary stuff. I’m on week 6 since the flu first hit. Still nowhere near myself.

  9. Kathy, bless your sweet heart. Please take care of yourself. So glad you have such an amazing husband to take such sweet care of you. What a blessing. Slow and steady wins the race!

  10. Pingback: My Favorite Reads of 2013 | Kathy Lynn HarrisKathy Lynn Harris

  11. I had it last year after emergency surgery for gall bladder. Coughing after open abdominal surgery sucked!! Home after 7 days in the hospital then 3 was at home before going back to work 1/2 days. Everything drains any ounce of energy you even thought you had. And that stupid little lung exercise machine thing is the devil!!! Rest and take it easy. It’ll all come back with time.

  12. Hi really glad to hear you survived. I had to leave a comment as I had pneumonia all over Christmas and New Year also, like you they didn’t exist for me, I was borderline hospital case so luckily got to stay home seeing as my partner was off work for 2 weeks and could constantly care for me, I recognise every bit of what you say from needing help off the toilet and being an insomniac (in my case staring out of the window gazing at clouds) I am 50 and thought pneumonia was for the very old, Im so glad we both had someone to look after us, I certainly would have probably just lay there and died if I hadn’t been looked after, God bless

    • Oh my goodness! Jane, so glad to hear you survived as well, and that you had your partner to look after you, too. It’s scary stuff. Thanks for reading, and I hope you are well on the way back to health now!

  13. Oh my! I couldn’t believe it until I read your article. I thought I was being a “baby” about how bad I felt, until reading this.
    For me it also started as the flu. Which kind I have no idea but the flu with all the trimmings. Fever, coughing, chills, sweats, nausea, vomiting and what flu would be complete without intestinal distress. For the first four days I thought I could just get over this. Not so.
    I went back to work after five days with a ribcage so tender and sore from hacking and coughing, that by two pm that day, I realized I was an complete idiot. By 2pm I could not catch my breath and booked to my doctors office quickly. From there I was sent for chest x-rays and the next day boom! Bacterial pneumonia.
    Then came the ultra strong antibiotics and day after day, I kept expecting to feel better because of medication. I have never been one to “nap” during the day. I found myself falling asleep at the drop of a hat and could not lie back at all or the coughing would start. I, like you, ended up the first few nights, lying awake all night and sleeping more during the day. But it’s when I was sound asleep that I have had the most bizarre effects. Dreams! Wow, every time I fall deeply asleep, I dream vividly! Strange dreams of driving a car and sinking into a deep hole, Donald Trump singing over a 3-way radio to me the song “Your just to good to be true” (ok, some call that one a nightmare!) and I could go on and on. Did you experience the vivid dreams?
    Still not out of the woods and the fatigue from doing and exerting very little is excessive. I did have the flu shot and my PhD scientist of a husband explained that bacteria and virus are all very different so the flu shot may not protect you at all, as in my case.
    Thanks for the article. It made me feel better to know I am not alone and validated that I really do feel this horrible and it’s not just me.

    • First, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Second, you are not going crazy … the fatigue is just devastating. Hang in there. And don’t overdo it when you start feeling better. Or you’ll end up with round 2 of pneumonia, I found. Thinking of you and wishing you the best!

      • You are so very kind. Thank you for you reply and best wishes. I appreciate the words of wisdom. I will keep in touch and let you know how I am doing. Best, Meri

  14. Hi I hope you’re improving Meri, Kathy is right don’t overdo anything, from my last reply you can see I had pneumonia about 14 months ago, I’ve since had the flu and pneumonia jabs. has anyone else had the pneumonia one?
    I thought I’d just chip in with my mad dreams, I had vivid dreams of L’wren Scott growing larger than a skyscraper singing “bang bang into the room” she was so loud ha, god bless her soul.

    • Too Funny! Gosh, the things our brains can come up with. Thank you so much for checking in and sending me best wishes. Very nice people on this blog.
      I am back to work PT and indeed, taking it slow. I am in retail management and had a grand opening yesterday @ a new HomeGoods and couldn’t believe how tired I got from running around. Called it a day early. Again, thank you.

  15. I never had the bizarre dreams you all are talking about, but at least it would’ve made the whole thing more interesting. Everyone, keep getting better!

      ~Good evening all~
      I had to give you this timely update and sudden perspective of why I came down with bacterial pneumonia. While watching GMA (totally admit I am a “Good Morning America” junkie while getting ready for work), I saw a segment about humidifiers causing health issues. Medical beliefs are that if you don’t rinse out the humidifier everyday and disinfect it once a week, big trouble can lurk. I have a large floor humidifier right next to my bed and it has been on high every night. (and this is hard to admit, as I am a clean freak, truly) We do not rinse our machine more than once a week and honestly, have never bleached it. So….I pulled mine apart this morning and bam! Mold inside where I could not see it. I was breathing it in nightly and only a foot away from my side of the bed!
      Have to admit and share with you all in the hopes that it might solve a mystery for someone else or better yet, help prevent the pneumonia from hitting one of you. Who knew? Not me.

  16. I have a friend who just passed away from double pneumonia. We’re in such shock because we thought she’d just be in the hospital awhile, take some antibiotics and then be good to go. However, no matter what the hospital did, her lungs kept filling up with fluid and then her organs failed-she basically drowned in her own fluids. This happened over the course of just a few days, and to a youngish woman in her mid-40’s.

    One thing I do want to say is that when doctors say to finish your antibiotics, you really need to. She’d had a chest infection, felt better and so stopped taking her medication. Then she developed pneumonia and I guess the antibiotics didn’t work as well as they should have. At the end, her lungs turned into two big, spongy things that in no way could support life. It’s so shocking-I never thought it would kill her, we all just assumed the drugs would work. This is still a serious thing, even with all the treatments out there.

    • Annie, I’m so very sorry to hear about your friend. Just so sorry. And you are right …we all just assume there are drugs that will work. And they don’t always. And when complications occur … Thank you for reading and writing. And I’m thinking of you and your friend’s family.

    • Annie, so very sorry at the loss of your dear friend. You have such a strong message and I hope many see it. Doing what the doctor prescribes you to do is so important unless you went to medical school as well and disagree. Hang in there.

  17. Hi Kathy. Firstly you are a very strong and brave lady for having pulled through what you did 🙂
    Well . . . it is now 03.34 am and I have stumbled across your story because I CAN NOT SLEEP. It is so very frustrating, I am as tired as tired can be but the minute I lay back to sleep the severe coughing starts. And it does not stop. Not for 10 minutes.
    I googled “pneumonia lack of sleep” in a desperate attempt to find some way that I CAN get some sleep. I have tried propping myslef up with pillows to almost sitting, no luck. I think it is just worse at night? Because during the day I can have a successful 2 hour nap, no coughing.
    You see, I discovered only yesterday that I had pneumonia. But I had flue 2 weeks ago. It had cleared by Sunday. Then suddenly Monday evening I had this severe pain in my left rib cage (thought I pulled a muscle). But later in the evening I was woken with this most horrible feeling of being extremely hot and cold at the same time, dizzy, sweating and confused. So I got up to splash my face with water in the bathroom. I never made the basin and connected the bath tub. Woke up thinking, Is this how I am going to die? I know it sounds silly, but at that moment I could not recall feeling this bad ever.
    So let me cut my story short, I went to the doctor and gor the lovely conformation that I have swine flue. Obviously I was struck with horror! Its okay she said, plenty rest, lots of water, pain pills and antibiotics. By yesterday i could not cope with this cough anymore and went back to see how she can help. Listen lungs….. Breath…. Breath deeper…. Ummm I cant, thats the deepest breath I can take…. Oh…. Dear….. You have developed pneumonia.

    To add to all this, I just heard this evening that my mom has passed away. Tomorrow I have to go and do all the necessary! How? I havent slept a wink. I have pneumonia. Its moments like this, when reading your story, I can truley say you are so lucky and blessed to have a husband who loves you and cared for you when even you couldnt. Its a blessing, hold on tightly to him.
    So in my sleepless state I have now typed out my whole story 🙂
    All the best, and only happiness and health forward for you.

    • Oh Michelle, I’m sorry I’m just now checking my blog comments and saw your post. What a horrible ordeal – I cannot imagine having to handle the death of a loved one while in the throws of serious pneumonia. You poor thing. I could barely function. I don’t know how you did it. Please let us all know how you are doing now. I hope you are on the mend, at least physically. I’m so sorry I didn’t see this sooner to offer you some support.

  18. Hi,I’m currently in hospital searching online how to sleep whilst suffering with pneumonia and I ended up here.i have it and have been in hospital 3 days now but haven’t slept for 5 days due to coughing when trying to get some sleep,I’m sooooo tired.the comments I’ve read have really made me realise that I’m not alone in this.i feel inspired by all of you to beat this.all the best to you all

    • I’m sorry I’m just now checking my blog and saw your comment. I hope you are well on the mend now … how’s it going? It took me a long while to fully recover. Take it easy and hang in there!

      • I have it right now and what I need to ask you all is ..is it normal to wAke up in a whole lot of pain every night ?? I have been taking antibiotic for a week now ..the worse time for me is when I sit down or lay down so I have not slept or relaxed since the day I went to the hospital ..I thought by now that pain would go away .

        • Ronda, I’m sorry I’m just now checking my comments and responding. I hope by now you are feeling a lot better! I do remember a lot of pain in my chest, lots of headaches and other pains. The chest pain lasted the longest and it got better using an inhaler for a while after. Let us know how you are!

        • I was given the Hycodan/Tylenol cough syrup when I had pneumonia and it helped some. But I thought I had literally cracked my ribs from coughing!

  19. It is 3:35 in the morning while searching Google for “why can’t I sleep with pneumonia”. The first hit came to your blog. I can’t thank you enough for your article. I know I am not the first or the the last to contract pneumonia, but the fatigue and shortness of breath can be so frustrating. Your ability to put into words all of the feelings going through my oxygen depleted brain, made me feel better. I hope more people suffering with pneumonia find your post. It will do them a world of good.

    I am so glad you made it through okay!

    Thank you.

  20. It’s two days before Christmas, and the nightmare still isn’t over. I came across your blog while searching for what folks have/are going through with pneumonia, and I came across your blog. Like most, I get a cold or two each year, but for me my sinuses always over-react and subsequently drain down into my lungs. This invariably leads to a chest infection (acute bronchitis) and for a week to 10 days I feel awful, tired and am constantly working at hacking up the resulting crud in my lungs. This Nov things took a different twist. Five days after the sore throat and sinusitis started, the doc looked me over and said my lungs sounded fine and gave me something for sinusitis that I knew wouldn’t work. I knew my lungs weren’t fine. Six days into the bronchitis back to the doc and he says I now have flu on top of sinusitis and (he finally admits) bronchitis. The coughing was worse, but nothing productive was coming up. Another six days and now the coughing is violent. I can’t sleep, I pop out of bed every hour and hold on to the bedpost as I cough to the point of passing out. I pant for 10 minutes like I’d just finished a 400 meter dash, then the coughing starts again. Now I’m scared. Nothing is coming up and I feel like an elephant sat on me. O2 meter is now reading 85%. Wife (who is a nurse) drags me back to the doc. “Yep – you’ve got pneumonia, on top of the flu and whatever else you think you have. Wife is wanting to strangle said doc and between violent coughing fits I try to calm her down. “I highly recommend you check into the hospital” he says. “Ya think…?” says the wife.
    So – we go there and they read the incoming data from my GP and immediately mask me and whisk me away to an ER exam room. I mean these people were moving frantically. Oxygen tubes up my nose, an IV in my arm, a CAT scan (IV with contrast, whatever that means), which of course made me throw up between coughs. All kinds of test later and yep, I have flu and bacterial pneumonia, so the Levofloxin drip starts and I find that that O2 tube really is my friend. I couldn’t sleep at home – try sleeping with all this in a hospital bed! A few 2×12’s I think would have been preferable. A stay in the hospital can be a real eye-opener. First, what they can do there is just not possible at home and second, you find out who really cares about you. I had visits from friends and co-workers during my brief stay that really lifted my spirits – and the hospital all made them put masks on before entering my room!
    Anyway, they kicked me out after 2 days, telling me I’m “out of danger”. Good to know, but my lungs – now a week after discharge – still seem to think otherwise. I’m a 59 year old musician and singer (OK, I can’t seem to quit…). Of course we have a gig for New Years. I haven’t been able to even talk for two weeks and am just now getting my throat to vibrate. The boys are going to have to do that job without me I’m afraid. Each day I think I’m going to wake up (I’m actually sleeping almost thru the night now) and the nightmare will be over, but it just keeps hangin’ in there. Almost a full month now. Reading your post and subsequent replies at least lets me know I haven’t gone thru this alone, and that (if you survive it) recovery takes time – probably measured in months at this rate, personal patience and the support of your spouse. And – I agree that an ordeal like this can bring you closer together. You don’t realize how much you might need to depend on a spouse until you find yourself in a situation like this.

    • Richard, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, too. It’s an eye-opener and it does take a helluva long time to recover from. Skip the gig, rest, and listen to what your body needs (read: Not tequila, as tempting as that might be.) Hang in there and let us know how you’re doing after the New Year!

    • Wow Richard, and I thought last Feb. I had it bad! I had many of the same symptoms along with not being able to sleep. I had never had pneumonia and what a toll that takes! Not just the body but mind and soul as well. Please stay home and don’t attempt to sing and play on New Year’s. You can relapse and undo much of the healing your body is struggling to do. Ask your wife, she’s the nurse. A spouse that can care for you and about you is the best medicine outside of the drug store variety. I felt badly as I could see the look of helplessness on his face for an entire month while my body slowly recovered. Try sleeping in a recliner to keep yourself upright a bit, it helped me stay asleep longer. Let us know how you are doing. You will recover and at times you wonder “Oh yea, when?” but it takes a good month or so before you begin to feel all your strength come back….slow and steady wins this race, so pace yourself. I wouldn’t wish this illness on my worst enemy!

  21. I have walking pneumonia and I don’t have a wife :'(. As for those of you who are having an uncontrollable cough try cloves, Just press them between your teeth and suck it. Hopefully it’ll help.

  22. I loved this article. I’m so sorry you’ve went through this but you are spot on about everything. I sat in the hospital shower, on a chair, as my husband washed my hair and showered me. We’ve been married less than a year. I’m 32. Inside I was too tired to think at the time but now I look back and think wow! My husband really did take his vows seriously ‘in sickness and in health’. Over two months on, and now with a parapneumonic effusion that I’ve had drained (1.5 litres and I possibly need more drained), I’m still so grateful I’m alive. Wishing you well on your recovery.

    • Thank you for reading. I’m sorry you’ve gone through this too, but we’re lucky to have good partners through this. So many people don’t. Continue to recover! I wish you all the best.

  23. This blog gave me such comfort in the middle of a painful dark night, not being able to sleep due to lack of air getting in lungs and coughing! I am now recovering from pnemonia septicaemia and pleurisy, 6 weeks in and finally starting to feel less whacked!!
    The points you make are just spot on and I do not think anyone realises how intrusive and painful this illness is. I had have pnemonia twice in a year and they have now realised my extreme hayfever cause me have bad asthma which causes the pneumonia. I am so lucky to have beautiful tender husband too who has had to look after me in all the ways you describe, putting his life on hold for me for the past 6 weeks not leaving my side. In a bad situation you really can learn to love each other more even if you did not think it was possible. Thank you for you blog it gave me hope on a. Very dark day

    • I’m so sorry you’ve been going through all of this, too, Rosy. Thank you for reading and commenting, and I wish you a VERY speedy recovery!

  24. I found this blog while I was looking for things about pneumonia. I was diagnosed with it last night. I have been ill for about 6 days with it. The first time I went to the doctor. I was just told that I had a chest congestion I was given so many antibiotics and told to drink Mucinex DM. I have been doing it for almost 4 days. I just noticed that I felt I was going to vomit or someone was just ripping my lungs out. I couldn’t sleep, and I am constantly dizzy and tired. I have been in bed none stop, I felt like my showers have been mostly in my bed as I sweat! I also have no appetite what so ever. I lost 10lbs in 4 days! I mean not trying to complain, but not the best way to lose lbs either. (haha)

    I am glad I read this because you explain how you felt the same way. I though I was being a lazy bum because I was being told that I was over reacting by people around me.

    When I told my mom I was diagnosed with pneumonia I had no support. I was told that I have to stop being lazy and get up and do something, so that I feel better.

    I’m glad to read this, so thank you. I don’t feel like I am over reacting anymore. I was surely shocked about how long it took though I thought once I finished my 2nd course of antibiotics and other stuff. That will be it, but you say it takes longer. Great………

    • So sorry you are so poorly 🙁 I felt how you sound when I posted my experience. I am now pretty much fully recovered but developed a stomach ulcer due to so much long meds. It took me to have 9 weeks off work then 3 weeks phased going back to get to how I currently am. You are not being lazy, people do not realise just how energy zapping and how your heart pounds so much just making a cup of tea!! You just keep cosy early nights and long layins and you will get better! It’s a long journey but you will get better! Take care

  25. Hi Kathy,

    I am so glad I found your post, now I know I am not alone. I was diagnose with pneumonia two weeks ago and is the worst feeling I have ever had. It seems I have more trouble sleeping at night and when I have the most pain. I am glad that you are well and healthy getting to your daily routine. Take care and thank you for your post:).

    • I’m glad you found this post, too. I hope you’re well on your way to recovery … rest. It just takes rest. Wishing you all the best.

  26. I went to the local A&E Dept in Surrey in May because I was coughing and couldn’t catch my breath. I had blood tests and chest X-rays. I was told I had a virus and I should go home and take paracetamol and lots of liquids. The next day whilst in bed, the hospital called to say that the blood test had now grown a bactaria and I did in fact have pneumonia. I was put on a course of antibiotics, followed by a second course a week later. The pain in my lungs continued and I had more X-rays and a CT scan in June which showed some bibasal basal atelectasis – which I was told is a collapse of part of the lung. I was told it was not too serious and would remedy itself. It’s now August and whilst the pneumonia has gone, the pain in my lungs is still there. I swim almost daily and feel better after exercise but every now and then the pain returns and I have to take pain killers. I have shortness of breath at times also. Most troubling of all is I now have fairly chronic insomnia which is playing havoc with my days. I feel exhausted but at night, whilst I fall asleep, I awake with a jerk within the hour and cannot return to sleep. I also have nausea in my stomach but no vomiting and I’m sure the two things are related. I am told stress could be the main contributor here. Must admit, at 56, the pneumonia made me feel at my lowest and for the first time I think I realised how mortal I was. The knock on effect was I then had (in my mind), every life threatening condition going. I don’t want to start taking sleeping tablets but I feel I might not have any options unless by some miracle I get a good night’s sleep! Speaking to people at work, I’m surprised how many people I know have actually had pneumonia previously. They all have their own horror stories, but all have made complete recoveries. Some have recovered quickly, but most say it was 3-6 months before they felt normal again. Fingers crossed for me and everyone on this blog!

      • Hi

        It’s November now and for the first time since May I feel normal. Slight twinges still in my lungs but nothing like it was. Energy levels are back and I am sleeping better. Back in the gym and dare I say I think I am now almost over this horrid illness. Six months folks, but it has got better. Stick at it, take your medicine, do as much exercise as your body will allow, but most importantly get enough rest. Wish you all well.

    • Hello~
      Had my first battle ever with it two years ago. Just turned 58 then so I know just how you feel. Be patient. Sounds like I am giving horrible advise, I know. But there is really nothing you can do to bounce back as quickly as you may like.
      I had fluids in my lungs with my pneumonia battle. You had a collapsed lung. I found it took 6 mths or so for me to feel at least 98% better and then I returned to feeling like I did pre-pneumonia rapidly. While yours was not life threatening it was serious. Any pneumonia can be if left untreated. Look how many elderly people, in less weaker immune systems, die from complications due to pneumonia.
      Don’t over push yourself but I applaud your daily swim routine and if you feel better afterward, it most likely is strengthening you. Get sleep “remember how you couldn’t sleep a whole night through with pneumonia and try to get into a regular routine.” As I said, if you feel well, be patient (something no one ever takes about when talking about having it.) However, if you are concerned, whether for a reason of just an urging to worry about it, go to the doctors and let me be the decision maker on how much you need to worry. Or not worry. You may find you sleep a bit better. Btw, when I had the damn illness, I finally learned how to spell pneumonia! What a reward. Wish you all the best and certainly reach out to this forum if you need support.


  27. I am happy you came through the ordeal. My story will reinforce how very blessed you were.
    It is not really my story, but the story of our daughter-in-law Joei. A beautiful healthy wife and mother of three. She had just turned 42 years old two months ago when she became ill. A person who very rarely went to a doctor. She assumed she had the flu. She laid around for a few days refusing to go to the doctor. She sad it must be a three day flu and would get better. On day four our son, her husband said enough is enough you have to go to emergency. And she agreed.
    The poor girl was beyond protest.
    Long story short. She had pneumonia which led to kidney failure and ultimately septic shock and death.
    Within 26 hours of going to the hospital our young gorgeous Joei was gone. At the end she had three heart attacks and they revived her three times but could not get her back the fourth time.
    We were all devastated beyond belief. Twenty six hours!
    Three children. Six, seven, and sixteen.
    The moral of the story is not to wait when you are sick. Go to the doctor. Nothing could have prepared us for this.
    My son and the children have been alone now for over tree months and are learning to cope. It is a mighty huge challenge.
    And don’t think because you are young it cannot happen. Err on the side of being over cautious with your precious life.

    • Dear Gale, my heart breaks for you and your family. I still don’t understand how something like this can happen so fast to healthy people. I think it makes it all the harder to try to wrap our minds around the loss. I’m so very very sorry to read about this, and I wish I could help somehow. Please know you’re in my thoughts. I’m just so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story so that others can be encouraged to seek care early and often. It’s a good reminder for me, as well. Much love to you.

  28. Hi, I’m 53 and havent had a cold in two decades. Sitting at my desk, I suddenly coughed as my daughter walked by and said, “Oh! You’re sick,” to which I replied, “I never get sick.”
    Hours later I was going through so much of what’s been described on this blog. I’ve never felt more miserable in my entire life!
    Initially, based on all my symptoms and Google I was certain I had bronchitis. And everything I read said to see a doctor if it hadn’t run it’s course within 3 weeks. And since “I never get sick” I was thinking I’d just forgotten how bad it felt, and I’m so much older now. When I was four I got really sick and broke an eardrum so that every year until I was 24 at least twice a year I’d come down with bronchitis and an ear infection, which are quite painful.
    My personal experience with the medical profession and everything I’ve researched let’s me know that not everything they do, in fact, much of what they do is not for the benefit of the patient. Like higher education it’s not about people first but about the Almighty Dollar.
    In any case, by Day 3 I was thinking ‘I’ll be dead by then” thinking of the counsel I’d kept coming across that said to let it ride its course. And the thing is I’d feel like I was dying and then hours later felt a ton better like it was almost over. But then it would come back worse than before! Then my temperature spiked up to 104 one night. When I was a kid and it had reached 105 the doctor had them put me in a cold bath with ice cubes. Repeatedly taking my temp throughout the night this week, I was glad to see it come back down on its own. So I did some more Googling (asking, begging, Jesus to show me the way) I read another article (maybe on the color of plegm) that said that if the plegm was brown and your temp hit 103-104 you’d need a chest x ray to rule out pneumonia. And because my doctor doesn’t have an x ray machine in her practice, knowing it would mean two trips out not just one and I was exhausted (and it really would have been three trips to pick up the antibiotics), I did what my husband suggested and went to one of those clinics that have been popping up everywhere the last few years, Patient First.
    My impression of what they are was totally wrong! I saw them as…McClinics with McDoctors. But they’re really more like a hospital Emergency Room set up. Only much better. I was seen immediately. When was the last time your doctor saw you IMMEDIATELY?Bloodwork and x rays taken, pneumonia confirmed, I was given a Nebulizer treatment to help me breath, and able to purchase all the meds there.
    And for years I tried finding a good female primary care provider and havent been successful. (Though “I never get sick” I have had other issues. I never get colds, have never had a flu shot, and certainly not PNEUMONIA.) The Physicians Assistant who took care of me was the best: bright, patient, thoughful, friendly, not rushed, not arrogant in any way, good old fashioned down to earth.
    So I just finished day one of antibiotics, and am sitting here wide awake in a cold sweat in the middle of the night…but i can tell from my xray and others I’ve seen on the web that I don’t have it as bad. And I felt a thousand times better today than before any treatment. They also want me back in 3 days and the again in 3 weeks. And since they put their schedules up online I know when to show up. I can also see she does doubles on certain days (12 hour shifts) so I know when to stay away.
    All that said, especially in light of the previous entry about Joei, who waited 4 days to see anyone and died, I hope that my experience with these super clinics encourages people to seek help in a timely manner, whatever ails you. If I had known what they were really like I probably would have gone in by the 2nd day into it.

  29. Three days ago I woke up with a 102-104 fever without any warning and breathing issues, with a side of chills that made me violently shiver. The next day it got even worse and I ended up with a 104-105 temp and I couldn’t move. Everything was hot and cold at the same time and my eyes hurt so much from the heat that I couldn’t keep them open. I could tell that I didn’t have a cold or the flu because whenever I get sick with anything, no matter the illness, I get severe sinus issues, which didn’t happen at all while I’ve been ill. Today we went to the doctor and they told me I had the beginnings of pneumonia. The doctor prescribed pills and an inhaler. If there’s no improvement in 2 days then I have to go get a chest X-ray, and if the results come back bad I have to be hospitalized. Thing is, I have a choir concert that I’ve been practicing for for the past three months tomorrow, and I can’t go. I also have midterms this Friday and next Monday, and a ton of late work for all my classes to do because I’ve been absent. I’m just hoping that I get better as soon as possible so I don’t miss too much of school.

    • That sounds awful, Stephanie. I don’t think you can expect to feel back to your old self in time of the concert, but if the antibiotics work, you should definitely be feeling better! And sounds like you caught it early. Good luck!

      • Hello Stephanie & Kathy Lynn~
        All I have to say Stephanie is that things made a lot more sense to me once I found Kathy’s site and I’m glad you found it as well.

        I had pneumonia (and didn’t know it) two years ago in Feb. 2015. Once the chest x-ray confirmed my diagnosis, while up surfing the internet in the middle of the night, I came across her post. (she is definitely right about being up all night, I didn’t just ponder the meaning of life, I seriously questioned if I would ever get mine back!) But Kathy put it all in perspective for me, what I was feeling with the breathlessness, fatigue and the bleak, dismal thoughts I was having, she UNDERSTOOD! It does take time & our sense of urgency to move past it & move on, won’t get you anywhere. Don’t fight it and believe that allowing yourself to recoup is the only real answer. Your entire system has gone through a very taxing time & no matter what you believe, are NOT going to produce a miracle and get better overnight. Happy you found her and reached out. Smart move. As for you Kathy, I still think back remember you fondly. Maybe sometimes, when we feel desperate, it takes someone we don’t know, haven’t even met, to make us see the big picture. All the Best Stephanie & go easy on yourself. Meri Briggs

        • That was so kind, Meri. Thank you. I’m just glad my (sometimes silly) words helped you somehow. And Stephanie, let us know how you’re doing, ok? So glad we’ve all connected. I’m glad Meri and I pulled through, and you will, too, Stephanie. Give yourself time and don’t rush recovery.

  30. Thank you everyone for posting here, and to you for creating this post! I thought I got over a bad cold just in time for vacation…but now I’m away and my symptoms are worsening. Breathing is difficult, sleep is a non-starter, and I’m currently witnessing what it means to have your sinuses overreact. Looks like I will be off to urgent care tomorrow.

  31. I am so glad I found this blog! I believe others have stated the exact same thing but I was also diagnosed with pneumonia after 6 days of increasing temps, bone aching chills and difficulty breathing. I know our local ER’s have very extended wait times so I was lucky to find a not too busy Urgent Care. X-ray confirmed it. On the inhaler and Z pack and I feel confident I will recover. The people on the front lines treating us are angels and I am lucky to have family and insurance. If you had predicted this for me a month ago the odds were against you. Never smoked, run 5ks and haven’t had a chest cold in 30 years or better. We are mortal. Make the best of the time and resources you have – it an all change in an instant.

  32. hey kathy can you please tell me the antibiotics you were taking i’m 13 right now and we think my mom has pneumonia and shes has a allergy to the antibiotic called penicillin and i’m real scared we live by ourselves i don’t have a brother and my father doesn’t live with us

    • Hi Shy-Ann, I’m really sorry that I didn’t see your message sooner. How is your mom doing? I hope she’s on the road to recovery. I don’t remember the antibiotics I was on, but I know there were heavy-duty stuff. Please update us when you can.

  33. Hello, Kathy , I really have found comfort in this blog and reading the other posts . I currently am in the recovery process from having pnuemonia . My illness started the week before Christmas . I had a terrible cough ( I never experienced anything like this before ) I knew this cough was not right as it kept me up at night nonstop and there was no relief from it, no over the counter medicine was working . The insomnia on top of it I am sure made me that much sicker at the time . I vividly recall the chills , sweats , and weakness . I went to the ER on 12/17 , my heart was beating so fast, I was “trachy” but the doctor just thought I had a sinus infection.. But they decided they would do a chest X-ray , the xray revealed a “touch of pnuemonia ” . I was sent home with anitbiotics -amoxicillin and an inhaler . I thought as many others mentioned that I would be fine . However , this was not the case , as I still had no relief from the coughing and they the vomitimg began and each day I got worse . I knew something was extremely wrong when I could not walk from the couch to the bathroom . Just as your loving husband helped you, my husband also was my rock .. He had to literally carry me to the bathroom and help me on and off the toilet , yep , he saw me at my worst . My 18 year old daughter had to help me get dressed as I was to weak and out of breath to help myself . So , Christmas Day 12/25 I knew it was time to go back to the ER , close to calling the ambulance but my husband was able to load me up In the car . At the ER they did another chest X-ray and discovered it has now turned into bi-basal pnuemonia and ok top of that I tested positive for influenza A ( I had a flu shot ) . My first trip to the er on 12/17 they did not test me for the flu . Not sure how long I had it . At any rate , I was admitted to the hospital and spent 4 days on heavy antibiotics , oxygen, and breathing treatments . I was on the verge of sepsis . Very scary ! I pulled through . Every day I am reminded how delicate life is . As I continue to recover I have adjusted , I get down but I realize it’s going to be a process . I’m grateful for the simple things . I’m blessed I can walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes a night and have found ways to navigate daily routines ( curbside grocery online shopping is a blessing !). I’m not sure if you felt this way, but I am paranoid of germs now . I had bacterial pnuemonia and since this experience it kind of freaked me out . It changed me for sure , but I have hope that things will continue to get get better . Thank you so much for sharing your story and for allowing others to do the same . There is strength and healing in numbers . God bless.

    • Hi Carrie, your experience sounds exactly like mine in so many ways, even the timing! And I went to the ER twice, too. Ugh. Yes, it was a long road back to health for me, but you’ll get there. I’m so glad you pulled through. Thank you for reading and sharing your story. I will keep you in my thoughts for continued healing.

  34. Hi. Kathy
    I am a 38 year old who 2 weeks ago today started feeling ill while at the office. I was the one who “never” gets sick but it literally felt like a freight train had hit me.By the time I made it home, I had the full blown flu. 2 people in my office had it and I thought oh no here we go. I foolishly did not go immediately to the Dr. and tried to ride it out at home, but 9 days later I was coughing up a slight bit of blood in my phlegm and k re something just wasn’t right so I took myself to the ER after dropping my boys off at school. At first , they did a CBC blood test and said I tested positive for blood clots which scared the daylights out of me to say the least, but the Dr. said it may be a false positive if I had the flu and a chest x ray and ct scan revealed I had never bacterial pneumonia. In addition , they said I had a small nodule on my left lung that was common and not concerning, but also saw on the same lung an “undefined white opacity 1cm” that on the discharge papers said likely due to inflammation and scarring from pneumonia amd less likely neo plasm. What’s neoplasm I asked the Dr, I quickly found out that’s the term for lung cancer and even though it said less likely my mind tool it elsewhere and I hit the panic switch. After all, I never in a million years would ever think this. Here I am exactly 6 days after my ER trip when I was diagnosed and 2 weeks since I first got sick, and yesterday I started to see the light and have energy for the first time. Its true what you say about it bringing you closer to your partner.My wife jas been the angel by my side in all this and taken care of me since I got home from the ER. Last night however I could not sleep, I have been taking Levoflacin 750 mg once a day and felt like I was getting worse in middle of the night.I had unbelievable feelings of chills , shakes , and sweating and was sure in had a fever but when I took my temp, it was 99.1. I just got so scared and confused and felt hopeless. I woke up today feeling a bit 2 steps behind my progress , after all I didn’t sleep well last night, and just woke up from a nap as we speak in mid afternoon. I have missed 2 and half weeks work thus far and told them I would be in Monday but taking it slow. I am also supposed to follow up with a pulmonologist within a month. It is worth noting that although I am not a cigarette smoke , I have smoked a small amount daily of marijuana last 10 years or so but once I got sick quit cold turkey and have zero urge to go back. I have been feeling weak today and although I’m not coughing up blood anymore I am dry coughing out a lot of what I call black guck from my lungs . I am living in fear of the Dr even though it says less likely cancer on my papers its enough to scare the pants off you, especially when you have 3 beautiful kids and a wonderful wofe you want to grow old with . Saturday is my 2 younger boys opening day for their little league and I was told as long as I have no fever that its ok to go and just take it easy. I have never felt this awful in my life and have been looking for answers everywhere and found yiur blog helpful amd to shed some positive light. I know its a process , but the shortness pf breath is scary and I am just hoping for better days ahead. Tomorrow is my last dose of Levoflacin and I’m just hoping and praying I can recover and get back to my normal self sooner than later. I guess I just need to give this more time . Your opinion on this would be helpful for me so thanks in advance from sunny south florida.Also lastly, is having a constant temp arpund 99.0-99.3 signifying anything in your opinion or am I just worrying a bit more than I should? Thanks again !

    • Mark, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. And I’m sorry I’m just now seeing your post to approve it. I hope by now, you are feeling a bit better and continuing to improve, and that you made it out to the kiddos’ ball games. What you describe is exactly what happened to me, and the temp you describe even two weeks out was what I experienced as well. Just remember, what you had was serious, and it’s going to take a while to recover. I know it’s scary. So scary. But you’ll get there … go easy on yourself.

    • Hi Mark ~

      So very sorry to hear you are not well. For those of us that have been diagnosed with pneumonia, it’s one of the most unexpected illnesses that can hit you & hit you hard! Kathy is correct when she adds that she knows it takes time to recover.
      One piece of advise is I were you & do what you think is best. If it were me, I would go get another opinion of your tests results from another expert source. Finding spots on the lungs is serious stuff but not always serious if it is bacterial pneumonia. But with a wife and children and your young age, I would personally leave no stone unturned to be certain.
      Give yourself a little more comfort zone in getting another doctor’s view. It can’t hurt but it certainly can help.

  35. Hi again Kathy,
    Thanks for your response. Today is March 23rd and i have been back at work 3 weeks now and still honestly don’t feel 100%. I went to my primary care last week for a follow up and she checked my lungs with the stethoscope and said my lungs sounded clear, and the pneumonia was likely gone, but i asked her why then still the shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue? she said to give it another few weeks to let my body heal, and then ordered me to get another CT Chest scan to be sure the “white spot” was decreased in size. She ordered me for a CBC blood test and basic profile blood test to make sure my kidney function and overall bloodwork comes back ok, and said that would be a good indicator as to if i am actually starting to shake this. But i have to be honest, i have NEVER in my life been feeling bad for this long. Today marks 4weeks exactly i went to the hospital and was diagnosed. Is this normal in everyones opinion? I also noticed after finishing the Levaquin nearly 3 weeks ago that i have EXTREME insomnia and ringing in my right ear. I just can’y help but worry about having the “C” word and its driving me and everyone around me crazy. The radiologist told me he wasn’t comfortable doing the CT scan again too soon because apparently the “:Dye” they inject w/ contrast can put you into renal failure and he recommended i wait another few weeks before having it done so in my head, thats another 3 anxious weeks of stressing. I won’t go back to marijuana for this anxiety because of fear of smoking it making me worse, and my primary prescribed me 25mgs of zooloft for the acute anxiety but although i filled it i am still reluctant to take it as i have always had skepticism taking anything like that in fear of what it will do to my mind. I sit here at my office feeling somewhat hopeless, and patiently waiting on my bloodwork results, after having them done yesterday, they said if i hear back today its bad news but if Monday or Tuesday then likely noting came back too off. in addition, while being able to not sleep at night, i keep waking up with a severely dry tongue and mouth, as if my body isn’t producing enough saliva and i have read that this can all be from having a lot of stress . I just pray everyday for my body to be rid of this and for it to be nothing worse as living in fear is not my preference by any means. This forum has been very helpful in understanding the recovery involved and i’m sorry i haven’t responded sooner as i though i may get an email when anyone posted but did not. Look forward to hearing feedback from others, hopefully shedding more light.Thanks again.

    • Hi Mark, sorry to just now be approving and responding (again). I was on vacation. I hope by now you are starting to feel a little stronger. But I can tell you that what you describe is what I experienced (even the ear ringing at one point). It just takes forever to rebound when your body is trying to recover from this. At least that was my experience. It took me months before I could hike a mile without shortness of breath.

      • Hello Mark~ Just a follow up to Kathy Lynn; She is absolutely correct about the amount of time you will find it takes recovering from pneumonia. I had never had it until three yrs ago and it was downright, no contest, the worst illness I ever had. I too, discovered Kathy’s blog late one night (or early morning) when I couldn’t sleep.
        If your lungs are clear then you are well on your way to healing 100%. It’s the “on your way to 100%” part that will take some time. It’s mind blowing to realize how slowly your body jumps back from it, however, time is just what you need to muscle through it. It was a good 3-4 months before I felt normal again. Please don’t allow yourself to worry needlessly as long as you are checking in with your primary doctor. Your lungs need time to heal and build up again and we all know what would happen to us if our lungs were not functioning well. You just won’t get to experience a total rebound as you do with illnesses like the common cold, flu, etc. Give it time and by all means, continue to have yourself check in with your doctor. Lesson from the many of us that have gone thru what you are going thru….it sucks, but it does get better.
        Meri B.

    • Mark

      I was diagnosed with pneumonia back in May last year. I went back to work in June but like you I continued to have shortness of breathe and terrible pain in my lungs. The illness made me paranoid and I thought I had a number of serious diseases, including at one stage lung cancer due to the constant pain in my lungs. As a result in Sept I had a scan which showed scarring on the lungs but nothing more serious. I also developed chronic insomnia and health anxiety which had me in tears as I couldn’t see any end to this. I ended up on citalopram, (still on it now) which helped with the anxiety. I have been on this for six months, but I am now coming off the medication. I had the insomnia for three months and felt exhausted for this period, finding it difficult to concentrate at work. However my wife is an ICU nurse and she kept pushing me to do things, swimming was my main exercise but she had me walking the dog and made sure I didn’t just lay in bed or on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. Work was understanding and allowed me to work from home if I felt too bad. Eventually come November, I started to feel normal and was in the gym and doing most of the things I used to do. I am now sleeping well and like I said am coming off of the anxiety pills. I think the lesson I learnt is that this is a horrid illness that takes far more out of you than you realise. Before this I had never been ill and this made me realise how mortal we all are! If I have any advice for you, it’s to push on and realise this isn’t going to go away any time quickly. You’ll continue to feel more tired than normal and probably more breathless than you want to be. But go away it will! Just give it time and keep pushing yourself to do things and be as normal as you can.

      Good luck and I hope you feel tonnes better soon.


      • Kathy & Denis,
        Thank you so much for the response. It really does take a little of the stress off seeing so many relate to what i am going through and giving me hope to just simply give it more time. Today is Wednesday, and this coming Friday will make 6 full weeks since i went to the E.R. where i was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and honestly, i am not 100% by any means yet, prob about 65-70% at best)i am hoping and thinking this is due to the insomnia which is really getting the best of me.I am here at my office and find it hard to get through the day at times. My spouse seems to think that the medication i was given at the onset and took for 7 days -Levaquin 750mg once per day is having really bad side effects on me a month after finishing it and its not the pneumonia recovery at all but i am torn between thinking its a bit of both. When you look up that medication, it was banned numerous times by the FDA and there are tons of forums where some people complain about all the things i am going through-sever dry mouth at night, insomnia, shakiness when i wake up, and overall lethargy. I feel like i have some good days, and then a bad day.I also have that ringing in my right ear which i have never had before taking it.It always seems that if i get a little bit better sleep some nights, i can take deeper breaths during the next day and vice versa if i sleep poorly, the chest pain reappears and i have more breathlessness. Does anyone else experience this? My other very strange symptom that i can’t figure out and scares me is every time i lay down at night my mouth gets so dry to the point i have to wake up several times and i see some blood mixed in my spit when i go the the bathroom but here’s the thing, i am not coughing, and most think its coming from my gums although i have no pain there. It doesn’t seem to be coming from my throat or stomach but who knows. After rinsing a few times, it goes away . Again its only when i lay down but you can imagine how hard it is to sleep like this , which likely explains the tiredness the next day. As for my next Chest ct scan concerning the “unidentified 1cm white opacity likely scarring and inflammation and less likely neoplasm” as it said on my discharge, my dr. wanted me to wait a few more weeks as its a ct w/ contrast and i was told having too many too soon can put you into renal failure and/or have a negative effect on the kidneys so i was sent for bloodwork again last week and everything came back “essentially normal”. My lymphocytes were slightly low (20%) and neutrophils were slightly high (69% but they said that wasn’t a concern. At this point, i just want to feel like myself again. The mental and physical impact of this has really taken a toll on me and my wife and even my kids who want their fun and playful pop back. Any advice is always helpful and i appreciate all of you. I will be so happy the day i can come on here and say i am 100% over this, just not quite there yet. Praying for better days ahead!

        • Hi Mark,

          Thank you for sharing. I have been reading the posts too and following up. It is good you pay attention to your body and the new nuances you are feeling since your initial diagnosis with pneumonia. Keep giving yourself time. I know it sucks to not feel up to par. I had to take day by day- celebrating the good days and honoring myself with the not-so-good days. I did things like online grocery shopping and curb side pick up until I was physically ready to get back out there..mainly I was so scared of picking up germs. I actually went into sepsis (blood poisoning) with my battle of double pneumonia/flu. I just had a final chest xray scan about 3 weeks ago and it is all clear! I just wanted to share that it gets better- at different rates for everyone. I am on my treadmill, playing flute, doing yoga- things that just months ago I thought I would seriously never be me again. Keep up the good vibes- but do as you are, keep up with the questions and asking your doctor questions- its your body- “we” have the right to know and to question and get the correct answers. Many blessings and well wishes on this journey.

  36. Hi everyone and Kathy,
    I write this to you guys today with my heart heavy in hand. I went to the hospital yesterday and got a CT with contrast chest scan for follow up which if you’ve been following above you know my doctor had wanted me to do. First they took my CBC count as well as did a kidney function test again to make sure I can handle the CT and the doctor came back to me with the thumbs up saying all looked in order and hopefully the next part would bring me peace of mind. So I had to CT scan and waited about 2 hours for them to come into the room what they told me was not only a shock but worse news. First they said the white spot that they had originally found six weeks ago and thought was pneumonia was now called a stable focal ground glass opacity at Junction of the upper left lobe and lingula. What they also found was high-grade stenosis involving Celiac access at origin approximately 1 centimeter. The doctor scratched his head and told me it was unfortunate that he was the one that had to give me the news because he was simply an ER doctor but that it was bad news to say the least. I broke down right then and there crying like a baby 38 years old thinking of my life my family and what would come next. I originally just went for Peace of Mind hoping that the unidentified opacity from 6 weeks ago was either shrunken down and scar tissue or went away completely and this news really floored me. I haven’t mentioned but I have no health insurance which is why I went to the ER in the first place so they couldn’t refuse treatment but when they let me go I realize that I now have a whirlwind of problems and my family and I are now really really scared. I’m trying to stay positive today I just feel extremely sad I don’t know what’s coming next I’m going to need a specialist for the lung and likely now a specialist for the esophagus since that’s what the high-grade stenosis means. The crazy part is I actually thought and expected good news I’ve been feeling mostly better just a little short of breath and all other symptoms have been subsiding, however immediately after the contrast I felt nauseous and today my temperature is slightly elevated to 99.3 yet again also I had extremely high blood pressure there and I’m a pretty skinny guy I’m thinking it’s all from anxiety from all this but who knows at this point. I had been spitting out some black specks over the last 4 weeks but stop smoking marijuana 6 weeks ago at the onset of the pneumonia my doctor told me not to worry and that this was actually just my lungs repairing now it seems It’s actually plaque coming from my esophagus which is being squeezed Tighter and Tighter according to the doctors again this is all unrelated to the ground glass opacity which still remains in my upper left lobe of lung so I have two things to worry about. They said the pneumonia had left my body and now I had to get specialist which I’m looking up as we speak but have no idea how I’m going to pay for. I have three beautiful children and a wonderful wife and my entire family is worried sick what started out to be a great day yesterday and it being my worst nightmare and today is simply just fact-finding trying to see and find answers anyway I can. I don’t think I’m going to be going back to work now I’m going to look into short-term disability and hoping for some positive answers from the lung specialist I think I also need a gastro now for the high-grade stenosis involving Celiac access at origin which is also one centimeter. They told me in the hospital that I do not have cancer as of today but my body is brewing something quote on quote. How am I not supposed to be worried I have no idea but I went to church this morning and pray to God that I will be okay and that this will all work out I will keep you all updated and ask that you just keep me in your better Thoughts with started as what they called pneumonia is still ongoing and now looking like something much different I appreciate all the feedback and will do my best to push forward and fight thanks for listening and Kathy thanks for providing a forum like this for support.

    • Mark, so sorry to hear that. I do hope things work out for you and your family. I Can’t imagine how you must be feeling but be strong (sure you are) if not for you for your wife and children, easily said I know. I’m not religious, a lapsed Catholic, but I’ll say a little prayer for you.


  37. Unlike probably majority here, my pneumonia come about from aspiration due to reflux (or GERD). I forgot to load my reflux medication for an entire week when I was loading my dailies in my pill case. I have thyroid cancer that causes insomnia and I also have neuropathy issues. I take medications for these in addition to medication for controlling fluttering heart (SVT). So, I guess I had just managed to overlook the reflux meds entirely. It wasn’t until I woke with a sudden attack, choking on bile and the evening’ meal that worked it’s way into my wind pipe. If you’ve never woken from this…imagine someone prying you mouth open whilst you sleep and pouring battery acid straight into your wind pipe. It is most unpleasant, painful, panic inducing, and causes one to bolt upright from a dead sleep, gasping for air and vomiting at the same time.

    This attack happened twice; once as described and the second time after I had realized my mistake and started taking that reflux medication, straight away. Except…it takes a bit of time for the pill to build effectiveness again. So I suffered a second night of the same aspiration and panic from a dead sleep.

    One of those two occasions caused the onset of walking pneumonia for the first time in my life. I turned 40 in March. My health issues are truly manageable under medication and proper diet/exercise. I had figured the slight cough was from the irritation of the aspiration. It has happened countless times before. I would cough a few days and be over it. Thus, why I take reflux medication. This time, no. I made another mistake. Two weeks off and on, I had low grade fever and felt a bit tired at times. I thought it was my allergies playing havoc. It is heavy Spring here in Texas and everything gets a yellow dusting. 99.9% of the residents end up battling sniffles, sneezes, asthma, and so forth. So..why would I think suspect otherwise? *sigh*

    I woke at 5:45am, on April 16th, from a deep sleep..instantly into a sharp pain that felt like a knife had been plunged deep into my chest, dead center. I screamed and gasped for air and then coughed like mad. I startled my husband awake and then tried to stand to go to the restroom but everything was dizzy. I had a blazing fever of 103.2 and could barely think straight. I was aware enough to pitch fit about going to the ER before sewing my doctor. My husband drove me out to her and I was wheeled in to a waiting bed, oxygen, breathing treatment, a most painful shot of depo-medrol steroid and anti-inflammtory, and a heavy hitting antibiotic shot. My blood pressure was a strange reading of 109/50 as well. Before long, I was coming about and allowed to head back home to strict bedrest. I avoided the hospital outright, but has instructions to head right to one if I worsened.

    Today is day 6. I can deep breathe again with a tinge of pain and I have two inhalers, continued use of antibiotic until next Wednesday (full course run through by then), my sleep aid, a cough medicine with codene in it for the bad episodes, and a muscle relaxer for my sore back and ribs work-outs due to coughing. I rarely take the muscle relaxer or cough syrup, but had to rwsort to both last night when over exertion from a coughing fit hit me hard. I feel better in the early day..but by mid afternoon to evening, I run out of steam on simple tasks. I am finding it very challenging to sleep up right as well. Despite sleep aids, the inhaler seems to fight it and I am finding myself coughing less but at a cost of restlessness and anxious nerves with shaking. I can’t win for losing in this mess.

    I find myself far more fortunate than others who have endured this far worse than I. Still…it is a bother and has had me worried for how much longer I will endure fatigue. I can breathe again..even deeply. I have been religious about deep breathing and coughing exercises to help my lungs recover. The problem is, I start off feeling good and then get winded with chores like walking or bending over in my tiny garden to pull a weed or two and grab some sunshine and fresh air. I don’t like to be a bother, but my husband has been insanely supportive from carrying me an hour and a half to the doctor..missing a day of work, getting my meds, cooking meals, and so forth. I need to be getting back to my feet and stop feeling so wiped out after only half a day. I suppose it’s the Aries ram in me..being so stubborn and strong willed to boss my body into doing as I say. LOL!

    Utterly frustrating… And exhausting. I deal with annual bronchitis and am used to inhalers and barking like a seal.for two months with a little raspy. This?? This is a mess. And how much longer must I sleep sitting up? Goodness. I feel like a doll on a stand! I can foresee I will be a difficult old woman when I fall ill late in life. That is given I make it there, which I won’t if I make the mistake of missing my reflux meds again!

    3:37am here… And wiiiide awake. *sigh* But better than being in a hospital any day. Right?

    • I’m so sorry, that a) I didn’t approve your post sooner (I really need to be checking my dashboard more often – so sorry!) and b) that you have going through so much. Let us know how you are!

  38. Mark~
    I am very sorry to hear your latest developments. You are scared, young and a man with many commitments and responsibilities. Hearing the news is not easy in any way shape or form. I see your post was two weeks ago so I hope you had a serious pity party, as you deserved it, but now have had time to hear see a specialist and have wrapped your mind around it all. You must stay positive and as fearless as possible while you take on the battle of your life. You deserve to find courage and positivity deep down and a reserve of it you never knew you had. Please update us on how you are doing all the way. You have many prayer warriors and readers who can help you win the fight. Believe it and find a way to live it everyday.

    • Yes, please update us, Mark. And I apologize (Again) for not checking my dashboard more regularly so I can approve posts like yours. I hope you’re doing so much better!

  39. OMG, the part about the coughing is like hell on Earth, it was horrible for me too. Every time I took a deep breath, I couldn’t keep myself from not coughing.

  40. Mine started with a sharp pain at the back went yo the hospital given drug named dawanol but while sleeping there was fast heart rate until I could hear it.After taking the drug it subsided but after three weeks came back was a sleep was woken up suddenly with a sharp pain from the heart went to the doctor given injection for 5 days. Diagnosed with mild pneumonia on the left lung
    After two weeks I could feel fever ,lack of sleep and the worst recently short of breathe and hiccups started went back to hospital was given Amoxillin and clavalanate tablets took for five days but no improvement due to on off hiccups
    Back then have been given some drugs again but I sleep halfly when I sleep I woke up suddenly with fast heart rate and fever currently on drugs plus the one that aids in breathing,my stress is about sleep like now from 1am -4.44 am ,am sleepless believing in the drugs and God will get along
    This site has helped me know that it will heal but a bit long now the stress is sleepleness for how long then?

  41. Hi im 46 female with really bad pain on right side of rib no coughing or temp pain has been excutiating been admited to hospital and i was fine when i left xray showed a shaddow ehih they said was pnemonia does this sound right plse ?

  42. Is there anything that actually helps with sleeping during pneumonia? I’m currently caring for my 81 year old father, who has afebrile pneumonia. He just got out of the hospital yesterday, where he was for 5 days (this time, at least; he was hospitalized for the same thing in May; also had it in either late-January/early-February; the latter didn’t require hospitalization; looks like it’s materializing off-and-on every 2 to 3 months). Visiting hours at hospital were 9 am to 8 pm, so I didn’t witness the severe breathing problems during the night, which seems to be normal (it’s 7:30 AM my time, and he hasn’t slept all night bc of breathing problems). But it’s very disturbing, and when I search “pneumonia sleep problems” (just an example; I tried all kinds of search terms trying to get some useful information, which I didn’t find anywhere, other than one article suggesting to sleep positions that may help), my search results keep feeding me articles about people dying in the middle of the night from pneumonia (again, scary; especially bc he’s 81, and has been fighting this off and on for 7 months; I’m afraid it’s beating him down, although he’s otherwise in EXCELLENT shape; the change is remarkable; he’s not the same person; severe confusion; hallucinations in the hospital).


    What I’m looking for: I’m not trying to be rude, truly, but please do not reply, unless you have some information (or a link to some information), or some suggestion/suggestions, about something that might be helpful to him (maybe it’s something you did, or someone you know did, or something you heard about; a link/webpage you found/saw or heard about; or anything of the sort). Also, if any red flags popped up in your mind when reading my description of my dads situation, please reply with information you think we need to know (is this a serious warning sign? Does he need to return to the hospital?). Lastly, If you need a more specific diagnosis of his particular type of pneumonia in order to give me any useful information, I’ll try to get more information (one thing I forgot to mention, is that my sister and I discovered that NECK PAIN, for him, means he has pneumonia; each time, without fail, it starts, and continues throughout the sickness period, with SEVERE NECK PAIN, which he doesn’t ever have, unless he has pneumonia).


    We’ve ruled Covid out each time, and he’s vaccinated, so please no Covid-related replies (unless, they somehow relate to useful pneumonia-related information, specifically relevant concerning anything I can do to help my dad).

    Sorry guys, if I sound like an A-hole dictating how you should respond, but I’m in a pinch, and need the kind of information I’ve described now. And right now, although my sister is the quarterback when it comes to caring for my dad in these types of situations (we all help, but she is by far more on top of everything, than any of us; she’s not only quarterback, she’s Tom Brady), I’m the one who is actually staying with him until he gets better; so, I’m responsible for monitoring his condition (I’m looking into the possibility of additional assistance, at least until he gets better, right after I post this); and I cannot make any mistakes, or fail to do something, or discover some information, which I’m capable of doing/discovering. I’m guessing all/most of you understand my situation. I just feel I needed to briefly explain myself Re my potentially off-putting tone. Again, I really need info I can act on. I couldn’t tell you how much I’d appreciate your help.

    • ONE LAST POTENTIALLY RELEVANT PIECE OF INFORMATION (I’m the same person who created the post this reply addresses, but didn’t see an “edit” option, so I figured replying to my own post was the best way to add this information, which may be important): Actually, two additional pieces of relevant info, FIRST (LOW BLOOD PRESSURE): Another indicator (and ultimately, the straw that broke the camel’s back respecting my sister’s decision to take him to the hospital Thursday night; it’s the following Wednesday morning as I write this) of my dads pneumonia is extremely low blood pressure. Unfortunately, his not-so-good blood pressure machine won’t work (we tried fir 10 minutes straight, and it wouldn’t give us a reading). Second (some good news, finally): his oxygen monitor readings are above normal/healthy (he’s reading 94, and in the hospital, the nurse told me anything above 92 is healthy). MY QUESTION: how essential, and/or urgent, is it to get a new blood pressure monitor? Right now, I have no way to know what his blood pressure is, and again, extremely low blood pressure (which was preceded by lots of other symptoms) was the reason we decided to take him to the hospital. Otherwise, please reply if the low blood pressure, and/or the normal/above-normal oxygen-level readings, made you think of something you think I should know (or, maybe you had same/similar symptoms, or a loved one did, in which case, I’d love to hear how everything played out, so I can know what to expect). Again, to any potential people who reply, thank you so much! I really need info!

      • So very sorry your dad is sick! I think I would get a blood pressure monitor if I were you. They are fairly inexpensive and it can’t hurt to check on things, right? I’m glad his pulse ox levels are good! As for sleeping – have you talked to his doctor? I think at some point in my recovery (it’s been a while now), I was given a medication to help me sleep and get some rest. Good luck and I hope he feels better soon!

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