Back to the Big House

I’m setting off to Houston next week for yet another Hospital Adventure; this time, my doctors are going to try and dig a little deeper — quite literally — in an attempt to determine exactly what’s going on inside my lungs. The continuing relatively stable state of my pulmonary fibrosis has the medical establishment a bit perturbed, so they have come up with this fresh plan to surgically extract more cash from my insurance company. Oh wait, and it might benefit me as well.

On Tuesday, I’ll get a CT scan so my doctor can pinpoint the specific area of interest, and the following day I’ll have a transbronchial procedure to remove some tissue for closer examination and biopsy. Fortunately, this minimally invasive technique involves no external incision, only snaking a slender tube through my windpipe and into my lung. Mounted on the end of this tube is a tiny video camera and a delicate surgical instrument (see magnified photo, right) which will be used for tissue removal.

Ha ha! Just kidding, although the analogy to this tool (except miniaturized and maybe a bit more sterile) is probably not that far off the mark. The good news is that my recovery time will be short, and I should be released from the hospital after only a few hours. I won’t be under total anesthesia, but will likely get a dose of Midazolam, which will leave me conscious enough during the procedure to respond to directions (i.e., “turn your head to the left”, “say ahhhh”, “open your wallet and give the doctor all of your money”, etc.), but also produces amnesia so that when I come out from under I will have no recollection of what happened. It’s a fairly common surgical drug which I had during my upper endoscopy last year. I’m told that patients often wake up asking “are we ready to start yet?”, after the operation has been completed.

I’ve also been told there is a small chance (about 5%) of complications during the procedure, specifically a collapsed lung. But I’ve also been reassured that they prepare for this unlikely possibility, and should it happen, they will be able to take care of me. I envision them calling “Hey Leroy, get in here!” as a gas station mechanic in coveralls races in to the O.R. with an air hose to re-inflate my lung. Leroy no doubt has a Swiss Army Knife in his pocket as well.

I will post afterwards and let y’all know how things turn out. Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply

Line and paragraph breaks automatic.
XHTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>