Kelly’s story

Other lung conditions

Busy working mother-of-two who spent five days hospitalised with pneumonia and weeks mounting a full recovery from the infection. Kelly, 41, Adelaide, enjoys spending time with her family and maintaining her health and well-being through regular yoga sessions and walking.

However, in August 2014, following a weekend trip to Melbourne with her sister, Kelly started to feel unwell. By the time she arrived home in Adelaide, she felt “dreadful”.
After receiving a visit from a home doctor, Kelly was diagnosed with an infection and recommended bed rest. But after a restless night during which her condition worsened, Kelly visited her GP the following day for further advice, who promptly directed her to hospital.

Kelly subsequently underwent a litany of X-rays, blood tests and a lumbar puncture to determine the nature of her infection. As she awaited receipt of her test results over night, her health continued to decline. The following day, Kelly was diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening infection, pneumonia.

This is Kelly’s story.

“I never realised just how painful or severe pneumonia was before contracting the infection. I recall lying in my hospital bed and feeling terrible. In fact, I felt so bad at one point, I almost wanted to die,” Kelly said.

Kelly was diagnosed with pneumonia after a “freezing” weekend trip to Melbourne with her sister, in August 2014. Kelly’s sister developed a sniffle during the trip and began to feel unwell. In stark contrast at the time, Kelly felt fine. As the week progressed however, Kelly also grew unwell.

By the Friday of that week, after having returned home, Kelly had developed a severe headache and was concerned about not being able to drive home from work. She nonetheless pushed through, and made the trip home safely. However, Kelly’s headache continued unabated.

“My headache was horrible. It was one of the worst headaches I’ve ever experienced, and because it was showing no improvement, I chose to call a home doctor,” Kelly said.

“The doctor arrived and told me I had contracted an infection. He recommended taking some over-the-counter headache tablets, and to rest. I tried to sleep that night, but slept poorly. When I visited my GP the following morning, he took one look at me and instructed me to head immediately to hospital.”

Heeding her doctor’s advice, Kelly went straight to her local hospital, where she underwent a series of x-rays and tests.

“Viral meningitis was prevalent at the time, so the doctors also performed a lumbar puncture on me,” Kelly said.

“The following day, armed with my blood test results and X-rays, the hospital registrar diagnosed me with pneumonia.”

With her temperature hovering around 40 degrees Celsius, Kelly was treated with a combination of intravenous (IV) and oral antibiotics for the ensuing five days, and kept under medical supervision in hospital.

“They wouldn’t release me from hospital until my temperature had stabilised at 37 degrees Celsius for 12 hours straight – an exercise that took five days,” Kelly said.

“When I was finally discharged from hospital, I was still feeling unwell. In fact, it took close to five weeks and another course of antibiotics before I started to regain my health. I’ve never felt so sick. Pneumonia is such a painful, horrible infection and it took me six months before I felt well enough to resume my full duties as a Business Performance Manager.”

After mounting a full recovery from pneumonia, Kelly was advised to protect against re-infection through vaccination.

“My doctor recommended vaccination against pneumonia following my recovery,” Kelly said.

“I will continue to vaccinate against pneumonia as required because I never want to contract the potentially life-threatening infection ever again.”

Kelly’s parents, who are aged in their 70s, have been vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, and neither have contracted the infection to date. Post-vaccination, Kelly is also yet to experience reinfection.

“Contracting pneumonia was a terrible experience for someone like me, who is otherwise healthy. Anyone who is at risk of contracting pneumonia, such as people aged 65 and above, and those who are unwell, should talk to their doctor about protecting against this terrible infection,” Kelly said.

Sharing your personal experience with lung disease is a compelling and inspiring way for others to learn about and cope with their diagnosis. Your story may also encourage people to identify and act on symptoms they are experiencing, which may otherwise have been ignored.

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