Jun 18, 2012

3rd and 4th Spontaneous Pneumothorax and Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery

 Well I finally went to the hospital Friday night and this time have a Spontaneous Pneumothorax in each lung. The right lung is collapsed 15% and left lung collapsed 45%. They put in a chest drain tube for the left lung and were planning on waiting on the right one. Late last night the tube came loose and it felt horribly painful and unsettling, so much that I really thought it was a serious problem, like involving my heart too. I can't even describe the intensity of the pain and the fear I had but I will try. I really don't think the ER doctor put it in properly to start with and he didn't do a very good job instilling my confidence in his abilities to do this either. To start with, when he told me it was 45-50% collapsed and they had to put in the chest drain tube immediately, he then joked about looking up the procedure on YouTube, which may have been his way of easing me up, but I wondered if this is perhaps what he actually did. Then I had the pleasure of watching him gather all the materials needed for this procedure in a way that he did seem like this may have been his first chest tube procedure, just the way he had to carefully look at everything and plan the whole process. Then as I was ready for the operation, he couldn't get the spotlight to turn on, and had to ask his assistant how to turn it on. They fumbled with it for a bit, then decided that it wasn't really needed. I was thinking, maybe you should just find another light that does work, just in case you need it! 

So back to the chest tube coming loose the next day and the pain that came with it. There was blood coming though the tube in spurts and every spurt was accompanied with a horrible burning feeling deep inside my chest, along with what felt like heart pain. As I was watching my stats monitor, my heart rate was climbing up to what seemed like dangerous levels... 124...130...135..... I had already called the nurse and told her and she called the doctor to come up and check it out, but I didn't know if her or the doctor realized the urgency in my situation and by now, I was totally freaking out, pressing the call nurse button repeatedly, like that was going to get them there faster. The doctor finally arrived and with a very calm and cool demeanor, she was talking to me like I was having heartburn or something non-life threatening and besides that, with the questions she was asking me, it didn't seem like she really Got It. Within a few minutes there was a room full of staff (finally) and they were really trying to figure it all out.  Right then, my leg was cramping severely too, so much that it felt like it was going to break in half kind of cramp, that I often get, but this wasn't a good time to have to deal with that little inconvenience too. So they quickly hooked me up to  the EKG, while my leg was cramping and I wasn't supposed to move at all, so they could get a good reading. Another doctor  pulled out the chest tube during this time too, since they finally came to the conclusion that it was no longer in all the way and wasn't doing it's job. So I was thinking, just great! I gained another scar, went through all that to get the tube put in and it ended up just being a waste. Anyway, they were going to put in another one but decided that since I was having the VATS (Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery) on Monday that they would monitor me closely and hold off on putting in another tube.

So  I will be having this surgery this afternoon sometime after 3pm and it will involve 3 incisions. One for the camera and two for their instruments. They will look around for anything suspicious, remove any blebs, take tissue sample and also do a Pleurodesis which is a procedure where they rough up the pleural lining with a gauze or sponge and then use the scar tissue to stick the lung up. Then they will also be putting in another chest drain tube, which will probably be in for a few days, then hopefully everything will be good and I will be able to go home, finally fixed...I hope. In the meantime, the right lung is still supposedly 15% collapsed, so maybe it will just heal itself? Who knows... But I really am trying to stay positive and hopeful.

I will write an update sometime after the surgery so if this sounds exciting, stay tuned for more!

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