Recovering from influenza exhaustion

Influenza can cause swelling in the lung tissue. This is different from pneumonia, in that it is not fluid in the lung air spaces and different from bronchitis, where there is swelling and inflammation along the tissues lining the lungs.

In really severe influenzal lung swelling, the air spaces swell shut, the lungs are bleeding and bruised, and the person dies. Young healthy recruits in the 1917-1918 influenza would literally turn blue as they were no longer able to breathe and they would die.

If a person is still feeling exhausted after the initial week of influenza, they need testing to find out if they have lung swelling. This can be done at home or in your doctor’s office.

To test at home, the patient should sit relaxed for 10-15 minutes. Take a one minute pulse count: normal is 60-100 beats in one minute. Then the patient should get up and walk until short of breath. Sit back down and repeat the pulse. If the pulse is jumping up 30 points or if it is over 100 after walking, there is still lung swelling. The treatment is rest.

To test in my office, I add a pulse oximeter. I get a resting oxygen and pulse level, walk the person and then watch the recovery. The oxygen level will often drop and then rise to the sitting baseline as the heart rate recovers. Most people do not need oxygen if they have a healthy heart and healthy lungs to start with.

You can see why influenza would be so dangerous to someone with an unhealthy heart or lungs, because the heart can’t make up the difference.

I had influenza in 2003 and had lung swelling to where I could not walk across the room without my heart rate going to 132. Sitting, my heart rate was 100. My normal heart rate is 65-75. It took two months for the swelling to subside and mostly I lay on the couch. Be reassured that if you rest when you need to, you will recover.

The photograph has my father sitting and Andy Makie standing with the harmonica, at a music party at my house in 2009. Both my father and Andy are gone in their 70s, primarily from lung damage from cigarettes. Miss them both. Thanks to Jack Reid too.

Fraud in medicine: oxygen

My father died of emphysema in June of 2013. I found him dead on the floor of his house. I expected this because he was nearly a hermit, but it was still hard.

He was on oxygen. It was prescribed to be continuous.

I started cleaning up the house and trying to find his will. I lined up oxygen tanks and called the oxygen company. There were ten tanks.

The oxygen company picked up the tanks.

I found eight more. I was very busy with a large house, a complicated estate, two years of unpaid taxes, he paid bills on line but had not updated the payments when costs increased……

I hired a local estate sale group. They did an excellent job. The house was sold. I picked up the last few things, including the oxygen tanks.

I called the oxygen company. “Why did my father have 18 oxygen tanks?”

They said, “We delivered them as needed.”

I said, “He didn’t need 18 tanks.”

They said, “They are paid for.”

Oh! Medicare paid for the oxygen. No, not medicare. You and he and I paid for it, because we pay taxes to medicare and medicare pays the oxygen company. Well, 80% and then my father paid the other 20% unless he had a medicare secondary insurance, which he also pays for…. Oh, are you under 65 and thought medicare paid for everything once you got it? Sorry to disillusion you…..My father  was supposed to be on oxygen continuously. So the company kept delivering it at the intervals covered by medicare, even though he was not using it all. He sometimes didn’t wear his oxygen and he also had bought his own oxygen concentrator, smaller and easier to move than the one from the oxygen company.

I was furious. “So you kept delivering oxygen even though it was not all being used. And kept charging.”

They said, “We delivered it when it was needed.”

Liars. They delivered more than was needed and I gave some back to them, after medicare had already paid for it.

I still have 8 tanks of oxygen. After all, it’s paid for by medicare, by my taxes and by your taxes. The oxygen is paid for. The tanks belong to the company. I’ll return them when they are empty….. I don’t think the corporation should be able to charge medicare for it twice…..

I should check to see if the company reimbursed medicare and my father for the oxygen when it was returned. If not, I can check into filing a fraud complaint with medicare against the company. But even if they reimbursed medicare and my father’s estate, I am still angry that they kept delivering it when they knew darn well that he had tanks already. Or maybe they don’t even keep track of how many tanks they’ve given out. It’s all about money.

Fight back against corporate greed and fraud. Ask questions. Do not give the oxygen back if it’s been paid for….. give it to someone who needs it instead.