MAC: Just how well do nebs work, anyway?
Like many of you, as I sit with my "pipe" in my mouth for seemingly endless hours, I often wonder "Does all of this do any good? How deeply is this penetrating into my lungs since most of my bronchiectasis is in the lower lobes?"
Let me tell you a little story about my past few weeks…
On Fathers' Day, I started coughing like BT (before treatment), my lungs hurt, no energy, … I looked at my trusty green machine and realized it was lonely – I hadn't used it for a few days. So back to faithful daily use, and it helped a little, but the darn cough was getting to be 24/7, so off I went to the doc. She changed my neb (temporarily) to DuoNeb to try to open my lungs better, stopped saline to calm the irritation and ordered a few days of steroid too. Boy, the junk really started to come out!
Then I restarted the saline, and just like I remembered from my early use, every cough was like licking the salt off my Margarita glass. But the cough is 90% gone, my O2 sats are almost (my) normal, and the fatigue is almost gone. This morning I realized that yesterday's saline vial wasn't used, oops, it had fallen on the floor. Then I ran off to do errands & chores.
When I started to cough, I was STILL bringing up a ton of mucus (after 48 hours) and it still tasted like salt.
Since 7% saline has been shown to inhibit or stop the growth of MAC bacteria, I find that VERY happy news – it means that salty fluid stays down there, bathing our lungs, even if we occasionally forget or get lazy (not that I'm recommending that…)
Perhaps that's why those of us routinely using hypertonic saline are having fewer exacerbations, and why I didn't end up as sick as I have in the past.
What has your experience been?