Posts Tagged ‘collapsed lung’


ICU / UC ME

on April 15, 2010 in Misc 4 Comments »

In my last post I said that I’d tell you all about my unplanned hospital stay.   But you know what?   Nobody wants any pukey details.   So instead here’s a non-gory summary.

Went to the emergency room.   The nurses hooked me up to a couple sharp shiny things.   Later the thoracic surgeon arrived and we chatted and he stuck another sharp shiny thing into me and right between a couple ribs, which caused me to express a few good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon words. 

bicycle pump

And then he stuck a tube between those ribs, and let me tell you, getting a tube stuck in between your ribs and then having that tube of air start to inflate a collapsed lung HURTS LIKE HELL!  But the good news:   the pain soon diminished and my lung would now safely take all night to completely fill out again, thank you very much.   

Next I was shipped upstairs to ICU.   There the nurses asked me to step on a scale because apparently, no matter what your condition, it’s of paramount importance that your body weight be recorded.   Well, when I stepped on the scale and saw that my weight was down a couple pounds, I felt immediately better.  Isn’t that pathetic?   We women REALLY have to get over our big thing with body weight.

Later a couple other people (Nurses?  Technicians?   I was in no condition to ask) took me to a CT scan, which didn’t hurt at all (now there’s a novelty!) and which revealed that I have four to eight fractures in my left ribs.   Oh goody.   Can’t do nothin’ about them, just hafta let them heal.

Blue cat scan

After that:   was put back in my ICU room and kinda slept off and on.   Had lots of drugs pumped into me.   Felt SO much better when a nurse finally removed that wretched tube around dawn.   For the first time in two weeks could breathe deep, full breaths and could lean on my back without pain.   I’m almost back to feeling normal!   And then friends came and picked me up and took me home.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to my ever wonderful friends Annie and Rich who are always there for me.   And thank you Sue for having a premonition that something was wrong and kept trying to get in touch with me.   And thanks to all the nice hospital people who joked with me and didn’t seem to mind when my hospital gown kept slipping down and I found myself accidentally and repeatedly flashing them.

I like to think that, even in my condition, I still looked pretty good.  But then that’s what too much medication can do to your brain.

Lung Power

on April 12, 2010 in Misc 3 Comments »

So alright already, I know it’s been a week since my last entry. But I have a good reason for being absent here the last few days. 

I spent Friday night in the hospital – in the emergency room and then the ICU, to be exact – and I wasn’t released until Saturday afternoon.

help sign

Why was I in the intensive care unit, you may ask? Well, you may recall how a couple weeks ago a black belt who shall remain nameless (especially since I don’t know his name) chose to teach me a harsh lesson for my mistake by slamming me to the floor during a beginner class in Aikido. The initial diagnosis of my injuries entailed a separated shoulder (which my chiropractor fixed) and torn cartilage in my left ribcage. However, I still hadn’t had an x-ray taken of my chest and shoulders; I was also concerned about my shortness of breath, which wasn’t getting any better, and how I still couldn’t bend over or lean on my back without feeling pain and pressure in my chest. Hence early last week I called a top sports medical clinic. After some pleading on my part, the nice lady who made appointments squeezed me into a slot at the end of day on Friday.

I left work early on Friday, went to this clinic, told someone my injury story, let someone else take lots of x-rays of me, and a short while later the doctor came into the room where I waited to review those films with me. He was also looking at me as if I were an alien from the planet Zortak. That made me start to worry, I can tell you.

“I’ve got some good news and bad news,” the doctor said as he clipped an x-ray film to a screen and lit up the image. “The good news is, your shoulder looks fine. The bad new is… Do you see this part of your left lung?”

collapsed lung

Hell yes, I could see it. And to be trite, the difference between my right and left lung was there in black and white. While my right lung was a lovely ghostly white shot threw with healthy blood vessels pumping away, half of my left lung looked like a black hole.

“You have a partially collapsed lung,” he said. And this was why he seemed to think I was a Zortak alien. He couldn’t believe that in my condition I had not only driven to that clinic, but that I’d been going to work for the last two weeks. He made it very clear that I had to go immediately to the nearest emergency room. Like, RIGHT NOW!

Within minutes he and his staff figured out that the nearest such place was Porter Hospital about a mile away. Of course I worried about whether or not Porter was in my insurance network. The doctor, God bless him, didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass. He would okay it. Just GO. “Are you sure you can drive?” he and his staff repeatedly asked with alarm in their faces. They would call ahead to notify the hospital I was coming. Just get there NOW.

And so I left and drove to the hospital. And the people there also treated me very well. Of course, I still had one hell of a long, painful night at the place, and I’ll tell you about it in my next entry.