Dying to breathe

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Anna Kay Campbell
  • Lung disease patient desperate for help

Barrington Flemming – Staff Reporter

For the past three years, life for 29-year-old former sales clerk, Anna Kay Campbell, has been a series of tragedies, one behind the other. From being immediately struck with Interstitial Lung Disease following the sudden death of her mother to thereafter developing diabetes as a side effect of some medications, Campbell’s life has been tough, and she now desperately needs help.

A resident of Ramble, Hanover, Anna Kay explained to the Western Mirror that after her mother died three years ago, she fell ill, and realized that she started having difficulties breathing. She was subsequently taken to the Cornwall Regional Hospital for diagnosis and treatment, where she first learnt of what had been affecting her.

“The doctors did a CT scan on my chest and told me that my lungs were failing because I had developed lung disease. I now have Interstitial Lung Disease and I have to receive my oxygen daily. I take Prednisone and Zantac, and water tablets to reduce fluid around my lungs,” Campbell explained.

Campbell, diligently taking her medications to ease the discomforts associated with her disease, developed diabetes as a result of one of her medications – Prednisone. The drug essentially primes the body for times of challenge by, among other things, increasing blood glucose levels. Extended use of the drug, however, can cause diabetes, which is what happened in Campbell’s case. As a result, she now has to get treatment for both her disease and diabetes – making things especially difficult for her.

Campbell now has to constantly wear a mask. “It is very difficult for me; I cannot take off the mask. I have to wear it all the time, except for a brief moment when I go to the bathroom. I put it back on right after. I have cold in my chest, but the medication does not seem to be working and I have to be careful with my diet too because of the diabetes. The mask is attached to an oxygen tank, which I have to travel with for any emergency,” she explained.

After spending a year at the Savanna-la-Mar General Hospital for treatment, she was discharged in June of this year. Now, Campbell is a ‘residential’ patient at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, after previously living with her sister, and her mother, before she died.

“I went back to live with my sister but her husband said I could not stay there with my condition, and since I had nowhere else to go, I ended up at the Cornwall Regional Hospital. I have other relatives, some in Western Jamaica, some in Mandeville, but they all say they cannot accommodate me; they do not have any space”, she lamented. That’s why, Campbell said, she’s been described as a ‘residential patient’, having no other option but stay at the problem-riddled hospital.

The former sales clerk, who worked at a wholesale, shared, however, that a relative in Haughton Grove, Hanover, recently offered her a living space, but she needs all the help she can get to build a room for herself.

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