Recurring Pneumonia and pain

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My name is Lauren, I'm 27 years old. I'm in good health apart from this complaint. I rarely drink, don't smoke, but I am quite overweight. I have very mild asthma. I'm a stay-at-home-parent of two children.

In December 2017 I caught flu, which developed into a chest infection. With it, I had a pain in my right side, which felt like a pulled muscle. I was prescribed abx and got better until mid-January (2018) when I developed tonsillitis and crackles could still be heard on my chest. More abx . I got better but in February, required abx for my chest again. The pain in my right side got worse around this time, and lingered after I got better. Then I started to get low-grade fevers every day and had raised CRP in my blood. GP referred me to respiratory specialist however before I got an appointment, my fever and heart rate went very high, the pain got much worse to the point it hurt to breathe in, and I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. Strangely, the Drs couldn't hear anything on my chest, and I wasn't coughing. It was diagnosed by xray. That was in March. I had 3 days of IV abx followed by 2 weeks of oral. The pain in my side lingered for a while, but follow-up blood test and xray showed the infection had resolved. GP actually thought the pain was in my shoulder, not connected to the pneumonia, and suggested physio. All Drs I came into contact with were surprised I had become so ill given my age and general good health.

Over the summer I was in good health and the pain gradually went away. In October, I noticed it was back. Its hard to describe, its like a strained muscle, sometimes it feels like its in my ribs, sometimes my shoulder and round my back, sometimes right inside my underarm. Sometimes it hurts to move, sometimes it hurts taking a deep breath. Some days its worse than others. It feels like it should be sore to the touch, but it isn't. I thought maybe I had slept wrong, or hurt myself carrying boxes (I had just moved house). With no other symptoms, I didn't think too much of it, especially as GP thought it was separate to the pneumonia.

Mid-november, I went to the walk-in centre with a fever that was barely coming down with paracetamol, and a heart rate of 145, and worsening pain on my right side. They called an ambulance. A chest xray revealed that it was pneumonia again, this time more widespread, and I was kept in on IV abx for 7 days. I was told that I'd be referred to the respiratory clinic as an outpatient, to investigate why I had become so ill again. Initially, the pain in my right disappeared. However, when I started to feel better and do more things, I noticed it reappear on occasion. Now its there pretty much all the time. A couple of times, I thought I felt the same pain on my left side, but I'm not 100% sure. The pain in my right side is particularly bad today - I can feel it on every movement and it is sharper than usual. No other symptoms.

I've got a follow up xray tomorrow, which I suppose will show if there's any infection still there. I haven't heard about my referral to the respiratory clinic yet.

I'm just really fed up. I'm still so tired. The pain is concerning me. Would it be normal to still feel some pain 6 weeks after a bout of pneumonia? What will the respiratory specialist do? I've been tested for HIV, TB, Legionella already, all were negative. What could be the cause of all this?

Any insight, opinions, stories of similar experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

0 likes, 10 replies


10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, thanks for your reply. I had a CT scan the first time, as the xray showed a patch that the Dr thought could be an empyema and need draining. It wasn't.

    I assume bacterial, or they wouldn't have treated it with antibiotics. The second time, it took 3 types of IV antibiotic to make my fever and blood results improve.

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  • Posted

    No, I don't know 😕 I saw a GP today (never see the same one, just whoever I can get an appt with) for an unrelated issue. But while I was there I mentioned that I hadn't heard about my referral. He told me to call the hospital, so I did that. I was told I'm too far down the waiting list to be offered an appt. The current appts are for march, so god knows when I'll get one!

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    • Posted

      phone back your GP and get a telephone appointment (much quicker than waiting for a face to face usually.) Then explain what happened sometimes they can speed things up a bit.

      Just out of interest did you have contrast injected with your CT?

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  • Posted

    Good idea, thanks.

    I had something injected yeah, I believe it was iodine. It gave me a sensation of warmth all over my body and made me feel like I'd wet myself lol

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