"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Sunday, June 24, 2007

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 money 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 device (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 most often wake up asking "are we ready to start yet?", after the procedure 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 am also told they prepare for this 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!



  • At 6/27/2007 10:42:00 PM, Blogger Daisy Martin said…

    Let us know how you are doing. And as for that picture of the swiss army knife you posted - that was the actual knife the doc used on me for my spinal fusion. I think some duct tape and a swingline stapler were involved too.

  • At 6/27/2007 11:56:00 PM, Blogger Janelle said…

    Toast, I wish you the best of luck during your hospital course. I am glad that the surgical team is ready in case something happens. They probably give you the amnesia drug so you forget about your doctor saying "Oops, looks like we are going to need Leroy".

  • At 6/28/2007 06:35:00 PM, Blogger SupaCoo said…

    Hilarious! I'm glad that you're keeping the doctors confounded by your well-being. Keep up the good work!

  • At 6/30/2007 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Sphincter said…


    I'm reading this after your most recent post, so I know you are OK. So, I feel comfortable in joking that Leroy the mechanic may charge you as much if not more than the doctors. And if you are making any funny noises, he will probably detect the cause immediately!


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