I had a full series of breathing tests at a pulmonologist's office that involved several types of tubing. I remember when I was led into the room for the tests, I did not witness any sterilization or preparation of the the equipment. The tubing had intricate parts, and one of them sprayed a powder or chemical into my lungs when I inhaled and then tested by ability to fully expel whatever it was. Within 3 days of that test, I began experiencing respiratory symptoms: post nasal drip; "frog" in my throat; sinus pressure. That quickly progressed to a cough in which I could feel the phlegm in my chest, but it would not come up, no matter what I did. At one point, I was taking Symbicort, rescue inhaler and doing a nebulizer, plus taking over the counter guaifenesin syrup. I would have coughing bouts that caused me to lose control of my bowels and urine several times per day.
The shortness of breath was so severe, that at one point, I had the thought that I had waited too long to call 911 and was going to pass out or die alone. I had fever on and off, along with aching in my joints and muscles and debilitating shortness of breath in which just bending down to pick something up felt like overexertion. Getting from my car to my home and office doors proved to be almost too much to bear. During this time, I saw my doctor twice. The first time, he told me to keep doing the over the counter, symbicort and rescue inhaler. He added the nebulizer with Albuterol. No blood work, but did send me for X rays on my second visit. He also did an in office breathing treatment. The X ray came back and interpreted as not pneumonia, but instead "bronchitis." I took the antibiotic Levaquin for 10 days, and thought I noticed a slight improvement after three days, but it continued to progress.
A series of breathing tests came back as normal (that was before the onset of the current, acute symptoms). I had another close call with coughing and wheezing, dizziness from lack of oxygen. I called my MD after hours asking if he thought I needed prescription strength cough medicine. He said no, and suggested I get another x ray, but it was Saturday afternoon. He suggested the ER. I declined due to high cost for basic x ray and care. I chose an urgent care center near my home. The doctor there assessed me and gave me a lengthy in-office breathing treatment with combination of two chemicals. She gave me two steroid injections, one with combination.
My blood work revealed elevated white cell count, so the x-ray was repeated and ruled out pneumonia in favor of bronchitis unspecified. I was given an oral steroid and asked to follow up with that office or my regular MD within two or three days. I am still sick with a cough, fatigued with general malaise, low grade fever on and off, minor appetite fluctuations with slight decrease in appetite. I gave my sputum to my doctor at the second visit, but I think he threw it away. It would change colors from green, to yellow, to black. It has impacted my ability to work, although I work from home and have managed to continue to do so for the most part.
I called the pulmonologist when I didn't hear back about my tests, and asked him about the possibility that I got an infection from the breathing tubes/tests. The person answering told me it was possible, but not likely, that they clean the equipment regularly. Then I ran across the articles about CGE. I just happen to work in health care.
I really believe that I may have CGE. My sputum is green again and I feel a sinus infection progressing. I forgot to mention that my sinuses have been bleeding a little but. Furthermore, I associate this infection with testing from those breathing tests/equipment. I am now thinking about taking more sputum to my MD, informing him about CGE and requesting a culture. I'll bet the same strain of bacteria is in the breathing tube apparatuses, which would pinpoint the cause. In any case, I am feeling scared and down right now, and just wanted to write about it. Any comments/suggestions are appreciated.