I had a rather serious case of bacterial pneumonia.
Initially I only had chest pains when breathing. Then I developed a persistent dry cough and fever, so I was examined by a doctor who prescribed oral antibiotics (roxithromycin), pain medication (ibuprofen) and a cough syrup (dextromethorphan and salbutamol). At this time, my CRP (the C-reactive protein test measures the level of inflammation) was 42 mg/l. (It is less than 6 in healthy people.) The examination included an ultrasound scan of my heart and a thorax X-ray.
I took the antibiotics for a week and then went to the hospital for a checkup. The CRP value had risen to 309, indicating a serious infection, and the X-ray showed that the pleural space around my left lung was filled with fluid. I was immediately admitted to the hospital and put on intravenous antibiotics (clindamycin and levofloxacin).
A tube thoracostomy was performed, which means I had a tube put through my chest into the pleural cavity, sucking out nasty-looking pus. A CT scan the next day showed an empyema cavity of 12 by 12 centimeters. (The radioactive dye used was injected to my vein, but I could still taste the metallic taste of radioactivity.) I was given tramadol for the pain, but I got nasty surrealist imagery on that, so it was changed to codeine and paracetamol.
For a while, I was getting better. A week after admission my CRP was 53 and the thorax X-ray looked better. I was given streptokinase, an agent that dissolves the pus in the pleural space, through the pleural tube. The next day, however, the tube came off by itself. Two days without the pleural tube led to fever and a rise in CRP to 194, so a new tube was placed. More streptokinase was issued as well. A CT scan three days after the new tube thoracostomy showed an empyema cavity of 12 by 7 centimeters. CRP was 79 mg/ml.
Two days passed, and pus was still accumulating through the tube, so they decided to perform a thoracotomy and decortication. I was given intravenous fentanyl (China White) and midazolam (sedative), which made me feel totally weird and I passed out. They cut open my chest, destroying some nerves in the process (there's an area of some 10 by 10 centimeters in my chest with no feeling) and scraped away the infectious mass. Some of that stuff was taken to a tuberculosis test, just to make sure. Also, because of the suspicious complications I had, an HIV test was performed. (Both negative.) This time, they left two tubes in me.
I was given a continuous infusion of fentanyl for the post-operative pain as well as some oxycodone injections. (That stuff is delightful!) I slowly got better, although I had a serious fever about a week after the thoracotomy. (It was Sept. 11, 2002, and I was delusional with fever, thinking I might be the last living member of Al-Qaeda.) The tubes were taken away, and finally I could walk around. (I'd spent some three weeks lying down.) Finally, after more than a month in the hospital, I was discharged, healthy but with diminished lung capacity.