hi, I’m in the UK and in April this year I had a cold which turned into a chest infection. I’m 66 years old and stopped smoking thirty years ago. I had a radical mastectomy followed by deep radiotherapy 19 years ago but made a full recovery and, despite being a few pounds overweight, I’ve remained very fit and well. I hadn’t even seen my GP for four years until I got the chest infection which went on for a few weeks.
Here in the UK, you never get to see a doctor face to face - it’s always a telephone call. My GP prescribed amoxicillin over the phone but a week later the cough was no better. I was then seen by a nurse who told me that my blood pressure was low and asked if that was normal- how would I know? I haven’t seen a doctor for four years! She then said my oxygen levels were low - not surprising, I had a chest infection.
She sent me to the hospital for a chest x ray and then I got another phone call from a doctor I have never seen who said that I’d got emphysema and she would prescribe a salbutamol inhaler’to help with my breathing’.
Since the chest infection has cleared up I don’t have any problems with my breathing. I walk around five/six miles every day with my dogs. I swim 2/3 times each week and do around 50 lengths of the pool. I was a competitive swimmer way back in my teens so even though I’m much slower I’m still a ‘proper’ swimmer, swimming both breast stroke and front crawl with my head underwater.
I don’t know if I’m in total denial but I can’t get my head around this ‘emphysema’ diagnosis.
Any advice please