Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pneumothorax – Collapsed lung #2 of 10,000+


I just had a bronchoscopy on Monday.  I got out of the procedure around noon and went out for lunch because my appointment with the my doctor was at 2:30.  While we were eating I felt some shortness of breath and I asked my mom if I had experienced this last time I had a bronch.  She said yes but so I let it go although it odd to me.  We proceeded to go to the doctors office early upon my request because I just did not feel right.  In the parking deck of the hospital I took my oxygen level with my pulse oximeter and it was at 92.  Now that is not normal at all.  I am usually 97 to 100%.  I told my parents that I needed a wheelchair and so I was on my way to the clinic.  In the walkway connecting the parking deck to the hospital I took my a reading of my oxygen again and it was down to 86%.  Now I stated that I needed oxygen.  Dad was mentioned that I did not have a nasal cannula and I said get me the oxygen I will inhale the oxygen right from the tank.  So that is what I did and felt better immediately.

It's weird, I was totally aware of my shortness of breath as I have experienced it for over 7 years but the biggest questions was why, what was going on that this was happening.  We got into the clinic and my mom went ahead and asked a nurse to help me.  She dropped all her paperwork and came to my assistance immediately.  My oxygen level was 83 by then and my heart rate was out of control.  Within minutes I was hooked up to 12 liters of oxygen and several people in an exam room with me.  They ordered an EKG and chest xray.  My symptoms were shortness of breath, a pain in my shoulder an rapid heart beat (no kidding I was scared, anxious and at some point I was almost in a panic state.  Breathe deep, yeah right!)   
The xray showed a pneumothorax.  My lung had partially collapsed.  I was sent to the bronch suite where they proceeded to place a chest tube to release the air.  My major problem during the procedure was the pain in my left shoulder.  I had had it when I got to the clinic and that is one of the main reasons why they did an EKG on me.  The pain killer that I was given during the chest tube procedure did not take away the pain.  Just seconds after the chest tube was inserted I realized that I was breathing 'normal.'  From the bronch suite I was taken into a hospital room where I stayed for several days.  
My first day there I could not walk around.  I was too exhausted from the anesthesia and the trauma I had gone through. The second day I tried to walk but the pain in my shoulder and lung area was too much so I only did 3 laps around the hospital floor.  I had hot packs on my shoulders for over 36 hours before I felt some relief.  The PA told me that it was a referred pain due to the fact that the chest tube was very close to the diaphragm.  The following day they took the chest tube out and they said to go and walk and that they would take a chest xray in about 4 hours to see how my lung was doing.  I proceeded to do 30 laps (which was 2 miles) got into bed and fell asleep for about 40 minutes.  A chest xray was taken and it showed that a hole was still in my lung so the PA said to walk again and that they would take another xray in about 4 hours and for me to walk again.  I proceeded to walk another 30 laps.  They took the other xray and the hole was still there but holding steady.  It had not gotten bigger (thank the Lord)!  Their follow up it to get another chest xray within 48 hours.
I hope you never have to go through something like this but I wanted to share my experience.  The doctor was really sorry.  He apologized a few times and mentioned that he had done well over 10,000 of these procedures and that I was the 2nd person that this happened to.  Well it is not the best lottery to win but there could have been a lot worse things that could have happened.  All shall be well soon.  So get out there and

Celebrate Life,

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