Friday, October 7, 2011

2nd Pneumothorax

Unfortunately, I just experienced another pneumothorax, a partially collapsed lung. It was not as bad as last time, none the less, it still was not a pleasant experience. I had felt some shortness of breath when walking but that is normal after a bronchoscopy.
The noticeable difference from the other bronchs came when l i went to bed. I started coughing a lot. It felt just like prior to my lung transplant. I just did not stop for about 30 minutes. It hurt my lung when I would cough. I could literally feel the outline of my lung with every cough. I continued to cough during the night but it was intermittently. The next morning I coughed and it did not hurt as much as the night before. I would cough when I walked some and I had a little shortness of breath.

My post transplant coordinator happen to call me and I told her what was happening and she said for me to stay very aware of what was going on because a pneumothorax is a side effect for some during bronchs and to let her know how I was doing later on during the day. Throughout the day I noticed that I was having problems walking and then when I went up 4 stairs and I had to stop was a MAJOR SIGN that something was not right. It was very late when I got home so I emailed my coordinator and told her that I was going for a chest xray the next day and she agreed.

The chest xray results were a pneumothorax. The first thing I was told was to go the ER and that they would have to place a chest tube in me. Transplant patients avoid ER rooms because of all the bacteria and sickness that could be airborne there. The second option was to try and aspirate my lung in hopes that they could get the air out. If all went well I could escape a hospital stay and a chest tube. The procedure to be done is pleurocentesis (a procedure in which a lung is punctured to drain fluid.) This procedure can also be done to remove air from the cavity as well. Photobucket
I sat on the doctor's examination table. He was feeling the tissue between my ribs on my upper chest. That was uncomfortable so I knew I was in for a treat. He then covered the area with a surgical drape that had about a 4 inch circumference. He then proceeded to inject me with lidocane, a numbing agent. It was two large needles worth. This needle was about 6 to 8 inches long and it went all the way into my chest. YIKES, it hurts just saying it. Well it did it's job because I did not feel the 2nd needle at all. He then took a scalple and nicked my skin. A very tiny nick. Then came the catheter and introducer. The catheter was 8 to 10 inches long and that went in me as well. Now this hurt but later on the doctor said that the catheter was rubbing along my rib and that is why it hurt. It also felt really weird. It was like my lung was being tickled. Just a really weird sensation. Anyway that was the rough part. Next came the suction. My mother was there throughout the entire procedure. The doctor even said "I will blow the air toward your mother" and he did. You could hear it. It seemed to be a lot of air. Mom said he kept taking out air until the tiniest amount of blood came out. He had me take a deep breath and blow it out hard twice. Then he put a gauze with medication on it and put a lot of pressure on it. Then he had my mom hold it and put pressure on it while he got some more gauze and bandaged me up.  This procedure saved me from a hospital stay and from getting a chest tube inserted.  I can keep my weekend plans!  Life is GOOD!

Celebrate Life, 


  1. Alma,
    I am sorry that you are having to deal with issue again, but as we all know Thank God you are here to deal with it.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, your information is such a big, big help to all of us who may face the same issue.
    I am sending you prayers and light to come thru this. Love, Dorothy

  2. hi there! just searching the web for post-pneumothorax patients. my boyfriend was just discharged from the hospital yesterday after having the tube in him for a little over 24 hours. he was sent home, but does not notice any relief in breathing. my question is, did you feel better right away? do you think it is normal to have shortness of breath after this procedure?