My name is Ken and I have been diagnosed with Bronchiectasis, after years of chest problems. Ever since I was a child, I struggled with chest problems, including whooping cough and measles etc, and my mother told me, that a doctor had said that I had a smokers cough at the age of 4, but then I was born and started life in a North East coal mining village. From then on I had more chest infections and other related problems, and at one stage I had what they thought was industrial asthma. This was caused by working in a lot of industrial areas during my working life, using materials from asbestos and other products which are now classed as carcinogenic. In the 1980s things got so bad that I went from one chest infection to another, but nothing was done about it Then in 2001 I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia, but nothing concrete came out of this, but it later came out that this hospital was closed down a few months after I had been in, because it was well below standard in more ways than one. Eventually in 2003 I had to retire early due to another illness, and then my wife and I moved back to the family home in the North East I got more chest infections every year and these got worse each winter. One year I saw a nurse practitioner who said that she thought I had Bronchiectasis, but was unable to do anything without a doctor’s permission. Around two years later and after being on antibiotics for nearly four months, I told a family doctor that I had really had enough, of taking medication which did not seem to clear a chest infection for very long. The doctor said that he would then refer me to a chest clinic, as something was clearly wrong. It seemed that these infections started off again after around 6-8 weeks, and it was starting to drive me mad. I was then referred to see a Chest Consultant after a radiologist had reported chest X-rays showed that I had COPD, along with a cracked rib, which could have been caused by coughing so much. I was then diagnosed as having Bronchiectasis, but was not given any information about it, apart from being told that my doctor could keep an eye on me. We then got a new family doctor at home, and were amazed to find that he had spent time going back through my notes and found that all of the sputum tests had come back with the same results over the last 8 years at least, and this was the Haemophilus influenzae bug. So he said that it had to be deep rooted in my lungs and may never get rid of of. I confess that the colour of the rubbish coughed up is distressing on a morning, but we now have a nebuliser at home which helps remove some of this stuff each morning. It’s now down to me trying to keep on top of this with antibiotics and the nebuliser, coupled with walking in the fresh air each day. I confess that walking on hilly streets can be hard, but if it all helps then it’s worth it in the long run. I also now see a pulmonary nurse at our surgery every few months and she is monitoring me I got a new smart phone last year and found some applications which monitor the air wherever I am, and this helps me to steer clear of pollution etc, so in many ways. I have now got myself set up and just have to keep myself going, and keeping as fit as I can, because it all helps you to remain as fit as you can. Ken Clasper
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