Since being hit by a cab in October my health has been precarious. I spent most of May/June dealing with allergy related sinus infections. On Wednesday I felt off kilter. On Thursday covering a show, I was hit by a series of chills, I knew were not right. I immediately went home and laid down. Two hour later I ached from head to toe. Being stubborn and seriously having a commitment I could not get out, of I forced myself to talk on a panel. I did the talk and really should have gone to the hospital after that, but I never realized what I was really dealing with. On Friday I knew I need to get this checked out. It took me over 12 hours to get out of my house and into a cab to go 9 blocks. Every breath or movement caused a torrid of pain, in which sounds tore from my throat. By 6am in the morning, I was admitted and undergoing treatment at Mount Sinai West. I had done my research and realized this might be pneumonia, an infection of your lungs. What I wasn’t prepared for was that it was bacterial, not viral. Viral pneumonia are mild,” notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Typically, you’ll improve in a few weeks. Bacterial pneumonia often occurs after another illness, like the cold or the flu or sinus infections.
I have been here 5 days. The reason, they need to identify what caused this. With luck I can go rest at home with kitty care. It will be at least 6-8 weeks before I can return to a normal level of functioning and wellbeing. This means 1 event a day, not 3 to 4.
Since getting this illness that seemed so distant to me, I have learned a lot and what I have learned, you should be aware of.
It is incredibly painful.
Pneumonia is the world’s leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, accounting for 16% of all deaths of children under 5 years old killing approximately 2,400 children a day in 2015. There are 120 million episodes of pneumonia per year in children under 5, over 10% of which (14 million) progress to severe episodes.
About 1 million adults in the US seek care in a hospital due to pneumonia every year, and over 50,000 die from this disease. Half the deaths from bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia occur in people ages 18-64. It is one of the top 10 reasons for hospitalization. The global genomic survey discovered 621 strains of the common Streptococcus pneumoniae in more than fifty countries. If you have Asthma, Diabetes or heart problems, this is ticking bomb.
Pneumonia can be caused by lots of different types of microbes, and no single one is responsible. The microbe causing the infection is almost never specifically identified. Through a global genomic survey they discovered 621 strains of the common Streptococcus pneumonia in more than fifty countries.
Antibiotic resistance is growing amongst the bacteria that cause pneumonia. This arises due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in and out of the hospital.
Pneumonia is being used as a bioweapons and vigilance is needed to prevent pneumonia from becoming an even worse problem than it already is. The attack is fast acting and incredibly debilitating. On a pain scale from 1 -10……a 20.
While successful pneumonia treatment often leads to full recovery, it can have longer term consequences. People who have had pneumonia have increased risk for chronic lung diseases, worsened exercise ability, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and declined quality of life for months or years.
In the US, pneumonia was one of the top ten most expensive conditions seen during inpatient hospitalizations.
We are not yet winning the battle against pneumonia.
Pneumonia does not have an effective advocacystrategy. It is not the subject of fund-raising walks or runs. It does not have a ribbon or other symbol around which people rally. It does not get the attention it needs from biomedical scientists or from research funders. More effort is needed now.