Pet Sematary: Teaser for thrilling Stephen King adaptation
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Having enjoyed a hugely successful writing career, with 64 published novels under his own name, a further seven under his pen name Richard Bachman and approximately 200 short stories, King is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished authors worldwide. Due to this, when the star had to take a break from writing back in 2003 after contracting double pneumonia, concerns for his welfare immediately rose. Shortly before a trip to New York, where the author was set to receive an honorary lifetime achievement National Book Award the star was diagnosed with pneumonia in his right lung. On his return from the awards, his condition had worsened and the infection had spread to his other lung.
Immediately hospitalised, the author underwent surgery to remove fluid and scar tissue from one of his lungs.
Due to his complex health problems, the star spent nearly four weeks in hospital, his dwindling health was thought to be connected to previous injuries that he sustained in a car crash back in 1999.
The near-fatal accident in which King was hit by a van as he was strolling down the road left the star with a broken leg, hip, a punctured lung, broken ribs and other smaller injuries.
At the time of his hospitalisation for pneumonia, a spokesperson for the author said: “It’s a slow healing process and he’s in some degree of pain from the thoracotomy.
“It’s hard for him to get comfortable.”
After “walking around” in New York, the star’s condition “got worse and worse,” leading up to his time in hospital.
“He’s been concentrating on getting better,” his spokesperson Warren Silver added.
The NHS explains that pneumonia is a condition that causes swelling of the tissue in one or both lungs. It is a bacterial infection typically caused by a virus.
As well as bacterial pneumonia, other types of the infection include the following:
- Viral pneumonia – caused by a virus, such as coronavirus
- Aspiration pneumonia – caused by breathing in vomit, a foreign object, such as a peanut, or a harmful substance, such as smoke or a chemical
- Fungal pneumonia – rare in the UK and more likely to affect people with a weakened immune system
- Hospital-acquired pneumonia – pneumonia that develops in hospital while being treated for another condition or having an operation; people in intensive care on breathing machines are particularly at risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia.
All types of pneumonia can be potentially dangerous, so it is important to get a diagnosis as quickly as possible.
As potential symptoms are similar to other common conditions such as a common cold, bronchitis and asthma, it can be tricky to know you have pneumonia. But the NHS explains that some of the most common symptoms include:
- A cough – which may be dry, or produce thick yellow, green, brown or blood-stained mucus (phlegm)
- Difficulty breathing – your breathing may be rapid and shallow, and you may feel breathless, even when resting
- Rapid heartbeat
- High temperature
- Feeling generally unwell
- Sweating and shivering
- Loss of appetite
- Chest pain – which gets worse when breathing or coughing.
Less common symptoms include:
- Coughing up blood (haemoptysis)
- Feeling sick or being sick
- Joint and muscle pain
- Feeling confused and disorientated, particularly in elderly people.
If you or someone you know has experienced some of the above symptoms persistently, it is recommended to go and see your GP or call 111. Doctors are able to diagnose pneumonia by asking about your symptoms and examining your chest.
Pneumonia can particularly affect adults over the age of 65 or children younger than the age of two, so treatment might have to be given in hospital.
Some people however catch pneumonia whilst already in hospital for another illness. The Mayo Clinic explains that hospital-acquired pneumonia can be serious because the bacteria causing it may be more resistant to antibiotics and because the people who get it are already sick.
For mild pneumonia, treatment often includes plenty of rest, taking antibiotics and drinking plenty of fluids.
Individuals who do not have any other health problems should respond well to treatment and soon recover, although your cough may last for some time.
Vaccines are also available to prevent some types of pneumonia and the flu. These vaccinations can be administered to children aged between two and five who are at particular risk.
Other factors that might help to prevent pneumonia include good hygiene, not smoking, a healthy diet and regular exercise to boost your immune system.
For King, after “25 days” in hospital, he was allowed to return home to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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