Contributed by Bob Rawlins, oxygen user and consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~
So, I’m sure most all of you have heard of the infamous drug, Prednisone, a type of steroid used and prescribed by doctors for many things.
I have a long history already with this drug.
One, it saved my life!
When I got very sick almost three years ago now, there was lots going on and I have had to read about it. I have talked to my family and friends to get the full story of what I went through.
I was first diagnosed with bilateral vestibular neuritis and was put on 60 mg of Prednisone for inflammation. There was lots of anxiety, lots of restlessness, lots of hunger pains, and really a challenge. I was told I had a long road ahead of therapy and rehab.
This totally affected my equilibrium and inner ear issues when this virus attacked. I was walking like a drunken sailor for almost a month. It was idiopathic, yep, familiar word? Doctors had no idea what caused this to happen. Just theories from what they had seen.
So, I was heading into my first rehab session when my journey really began.
I started shaking like a leaf and the physical therapist took my oxygen reading and I was at 66. Needless to say, there was no therapy being done today and I was immediately put into the emergency facilities at Medina Cleveland Clinic Hospital.
After CAT scans and several other tests, they started me on all kinds of antibiotics.
But my oxygen levels were not coming up enough for everyone there to be comfortable. After two days of trying they had determined that I needed more specialized care.
Well, you guessed it, I got my helicopter ride and ventilation all in one swift moment.
They air transported me to the main campus in Cleveland. I was vented for about 14 days and fighting for my life. I was pretty much out but my family was dealing with all the anxiety, and the not knowing what was happening as my team of almost 15 doctors were working hard to find answers.
Finally, they said they needed to treat me as an Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) patient. Not much medicine here to prescribe.
But Prednisone, saved my life. They put me on a gram a day of Prednisone for four days – which is quite a bit and they told my family there was a 20 percent chance of success.
Now, this miracle drug can also cause many side effects. Which is why they said they could do this for four days tops and hope that it would help me turn into the right direction.
Things were a bit touch and go, my kidneys started to fail with about 12 hours left of the four-day stretch.
My wife tells the story:
She started to kneel next to my bed and pray. Then, the nurses and aides wanted to do the same and a doctor as well.
They talked about putting me on dialysis for my kidneys when a miracle did happen.
My body started to come around. My kidneys started working and the ventilator was helping me get back to a state of survival.
So, as they say, the rest is history. I am here telling and sharing my experiences. I think God had a plan for me, no doubt.
So, Prednisone saved me. There are many who have or are still on this drug. I have been on it for three years now in different doses depending on the situation.
I want to get off it, but I have also learned to live with it.
The weight gain, the mood swings, the impatience at times. All part of it for me.
Some feel great, gives them a boost and in a short time are off the medicine.
Many, not so lucky. However, like being on oxygen therapy, you take what the cards deal you.
I have also managed to lose 22 pounds while on Prednisone, yes, you can.
Don’t fall to the temptations of irregular eating habits. Sleep when you can and talk to your doctor about taking Melatonin at night before bed. I take 10 mg every night and it helps me but nap, when I can.
Find a good Doctor of Nutrition, it helped me stay on plan and help keep me in good eating habits. You can generally find one right where your pulmonologist is, or they can recommend one for you.
The best thing I ever did. Gave me a better attitude, yep, the right “’tude” is so important!
But remember, there is no greater miracle then you!
Till next time!
Love you all!
– Coach Bob
Bob Rawlins, 61, of Medina, Ohio, is husband to Terese and father to their 13-year-old triplets, a soccer coach, a hospital volunteer, and marketing guru. He uses a FreeStyle Comfort portable oxygen concentrator.
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