My Lupus Flare Sent Me to the Emergency Room
Last updated: May 2023
To have an autoimmune disease that comes and goes as it pleases can be very disturbing. I have had this disease for a while now and learned some of the ins and out of having it, but sometimes we do not realize when we place too much strain on our bodies.
Just recently, I woke up one morning and had the same skin rash that never went away during my pregnancy. But this one was different. I woke up feeling like it was freezing and it was 75 degrees in my home. I slept with a hoodie, 2 blankets, and sweatpants. I really thought nothing was going on at this point because no one in my house complained. That was until I placed the heater on.
I needed to do laundry, which can be difficult for me to do on my own. Usually, my husband comes with me to the laundromat. So, we gathered the kids together and went on our errand together. As I sat in the car, the weather outside was 78 degrees or higher. It was a very beautiful day outside, but I was still freezing.
Exhausted by fatigue
The second sign of a lupus flare was when I started having sleeping cycles that I was unaware of. When I tried to get out of the car and help my husband, I would feel like I ran into a ton of bricks and I could not get up. Every time I got up I felt as if I was going to pass out and I would lose my vision, or it would become static-like. I told my husband to just bring me and the kids home, and he finished the clothes.
I thought I just needed rest. That was not the case. My body began switching to hot flashes, and I was sweating while sleeping. My sweat imprint was on my bed, and it was soaked. I felt something was completely wrong, so I decided to take my temperature. My temperature was 103 degrees. That’s when I knew I needed to go to the hospital because something was not right.
My lupus flare emergency
I decided to go to the emergency room when my husband finished work at 3 a.m., and let me tell you, I am glad I did. But before I went, I took my lupus medication to see if that would help. It did, I was able to drive myself to the hospital.
When I made it there, my temperature dropped to 98.7, but something still didn’t feel right. They ran plenty of blood tests, and the results were what I expected. I ended up with a low white blood count (WBC), which told them that I had a virus, but the lupus panel they ran on me confirmed that I was in a really bad flare-up. So they decided to keep me for the weekend. In that weekend time span, I received prednisone 1000 mg via IV every day, as well as monitoring my blood pressure because of the flare-up. The flare-up can cause my blood pressure to be extremely low or semi-elevated to where it causes a caution alarm. When it was time to get discharged, my flare-up was gone completely from my face, and I had a follow-up appointment with my rheumatologist.
Next treatment steps for me
I feel like doctors should know when their patients are admitted to the hospital. My doctor said she did not know even though I purposely went to the emergency room location where she was so she did not have to go far to check on me.
At first, I was not going to be able to see my doctor until June. But, thankfully, the office got me in sooner. She told me I had protein in my urine, and my creatine was also elevated. This can cause kidney issues and I was not ready for that at all. She suggested infusions. I feel that it would be too much on my body, but my doctor said that it would help with my skin.
It was a tough decision, but I would rather change my lifestyle than go through infusions every 4 weeks while taking other injections. I would not be able to be productive for moments that I feel are important. I got some rest and was sent home on steroids and other medications. If I know 1 thing, it is that if you become determined, you can do anything.
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