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My Husband Is Having Breathing Problems.. For Almost 8 Weeks

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Posted on Mon, 29 Jun 2020
Question: My husband is having breathing problems.. for almost 8 weeks now. He is COVID19 NEGATIVE... He started having difficulty breathing about 5 days after remodeling our chicken coop that had been vacant for almost 2 years. At the time he was cleaning out the coop he was just getting over a cold. He has tested negative for histoplasmosis. He is truly struggling, and I don't know where to go from here. We've done 13 telehealth consults, 1 urgent care, 1 ER, 1 ENT specialist.

SYMPTOMS:
From sinuses to lungs feels majorly constricted, a struggle to breathe. Nothing seems to 'trigger it' to get better or worse. It's just constantly there. If he lays on his back for too long his chest starts to hurt. No fever.

Medications:
He was given Albuterol when telehealth doctor first thought it was COVID19. He was since tested, and was negative. After he takes it he says "it feels more like a pit in there and makes him cough". If he doesn't take it then he has no cough, but also can barely breathe at all.
There is something wrong with him that started right after he was remodeling/cleaning to coop -- I just need to know how to help him. What could we be testing for that we're not? What else could he have that would cause this?
We're uninsured so we get the backcrap of every physician, but we're self employed, and can pay for the right tests. To get him into a "primary care physician" he can't get in until October. The ENT wanted to get him into a pulmonologist - however they are now backlogged until November
Just need someone to actually listen and help.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dr. Jolanda (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Please talk with his doctor to send him to a pulmonologist

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome in 'Ask A Doctor' service

I am sorry for his situation. According to the whole history of his symptoms yes I fully agree he should see a pulmonologist closely.

The fact that you have done several consultations online and no improvement is not a good indicator.

If he was my patient I would order some blood test specific for the lung function such as :
Arterial blood gases, a chest X-ray, hemogram and CRP, Spirometry test, and at last an ECG.

If they come positive than he should take the exact treatment. If the ECG is positive than it is an indicator that the breathlessness might be from heart problems.

In such conditions, I strongly recommend you discuss this with his doctor s/he should send him to the pulmonologist.

The first and most important step is to find the exact cause and afterward should be the treatment.

I hope to have been helpful

Regards

Dr.Jolanda


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Dr. Jolanda (35 minutes later)
Thank you for the response. Unfortunately - I cannot get him in to see a pulmonologist until October-November.

While I can appreciate the aspects of wanting to see just of where his lung capacity/ lung function is.

What about his entire airway? From his nose to his throat to his lungs... he's having trouble with it all. Is there something that could explain that?

When I sent him to the ER they did do an EKG as initially they were concerned it might be a heart attack.... but it was not.

I'm just trying to figure out what/ if anything I can do to get him relief NOW. It has been completely straining to fight for every breath it seems like.

One doctor prescribed him a ZPAK, another prednisone, another thought that if he had histoplasmosis he shouldn't take the steroids because it could send him into organ failure. So we've held off on all of the medications until something made sense. There has to be something out there that explains what is happening to him, right? The only thing he's taken is the albuterol.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Dr. Jolanda (18 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Continue discussion

Detailed Answer:
Hi again,

If it would be a problem from the upper airways then the ENT doctor would've diagnosed it. So it is excluded. Probably this is an allergic reaction and Albuterol is good in such a situation.

However, if the ER has discharged him home it means that he has no emergency or urgency otherwise he would be hospitalized for sure.

He just should try to stay away from that area that has triggered the reaction and if there is another strong difficulty in breathing just call again ER. This is what you can do. Try to avoid also an anxiety situation if it is present.

He needs close evaluation.

Regards

Dr.Jolanda

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Answered by
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Dr. Dr. Jolanda

Pulmonologist

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 2733 Questions

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My Husband Is Having Breathing Problems.. For Almost 8 Weeks

Brief Answer: Please talk with his doctor to send him to a pulmonologist Detailed Answer: Hello and welcome in 'Ask A Doctor' service I am sorry for his situation. According to the whole history of his symptoms yes I fully agree he should see a pulmonologist closely. The fact that you have done several consultations online and no improvement is not a good indicator. If he was my patient I would order some blood test specific for the lung function such as : Arterial blood gases, a chest X-ray, hemogram and CRP, Spirometry test, and at last an ECG. If they come positive than he should take the exact treatment. If the ECG is positive than it is an indicator that the breathlessness might be from heart problems. In such conditions, I strongly recommend you discuss this with his doctor s/he should send him to the pulmonologist. The first and most important step is to find the exact cause and afterward should be the treatment. I hope to have been helpful Regards Dr.Jolanda