Vegan meets pneumonia

By Glauce Fleury

And there’s no relationship between them. But I’m blogging about it because after being discharged from the hospital, I heard from some folks: “Did you get sick because you went vegan?” Hmm.

Removing animal products from my diet didn’t expose me to pneumonia. Pneumonia is a lung infection caused usually by bacteria or viruses. You can get it when you breathe these germs into your lungs and are more likely to get it after a cold or the flu. I had had the flu, so it was probably impossible for my lungs to fight the infection.

I have met the flu once a year, always in winter. Maybe because my immune system doesn’t perform well under cold temperatures, the flu made it easier for the pneumonia to approach me.

I got sick during Christmas time, while visiting friends in Ontario. They were already sick. I initially had sore throat, cough and suddenly started feeling cold, which now tells me I also had fever.

At the time, I thought I was feeling cold because the temperature outside had dropped more than 20 degrees in a couple of days. Not appealing to someone who grew up in the tropics.

My flight back was a nightmare. I was short of breath. My ears ached. I had headache. After I landed, I packed the fridge with healthy food and my cabinet with vitamins, cough syrup, pain reliever and fever reducer.

Exhausted, I went to bed. I woke up worse. When I saw a doctor, the suspicion was pneumonia and sinusitis. Three days later, I was even worse, but the chest X-ray hadn’t shown anything wrong.

I was, then, diagnosed with an acute sinusitis. As I had had headache, cough that produced mucus and fever (common symptoms of sinus infections), it made sense to me. The doctor prescribed antibiotics.

Two days later, the fever was higher, the cough was more intense and the short breath prevented me from sleeping two hours straight. I went to the doctor again (the second, as the one I had seen was not in).

He asked me to do a second chest X-ray and a blood test. The following morning I received a phone call from the clinic to go urgently to an emergency room. “Why?” I asked.

My blood test had shown a D-Dimer four times higher than the usual, pointing out some infection. I needed more exams to find out what was happening. For a few minutes, I panicked.

I spent the day at the hospital. A CT scan confirmed pneumonia (the second X-ray too, but the result came later). I had intravenous medication (antibiotic and anti-inflammatory), was prescribed more antibiotic for the following days and was, finally, discharged.

My homeopath, who lives in the tropics but has taken care of me for almost 15 years, told me to boost my immune system with amino acids, vitamins and omega-3. I’ve been doing it.

I went back to the clinic last Friday. The doctor recommended me to have a third chest X-ray soon to check if the infection has cleared up. He also said I could go back to work this week, so I’m (slowly) resuming my life. It’ll take me a while to feel 100% again. I’ll have to be patient.

Vegan feels better, and can’t wait to say goodbye to pneumonia.

OBS: Sorry about the break, but I needed it to take care of my health. The blog is officially back! 🙂

Photo credit: Paolo Zanin via Free Images.

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