Thursday, March 20, 2014

Latest on the slightly-used lung from Honest Fred's Body Parts & Bait Shop

Latest lung transplant update: They have scheduled a "clean out" bronchoscopy on March 27 with the pulmonologist to see how things are going and to clean out the mucus buildup that goes on. I'm feeling better, but my FEV numbers on the spirometer continue to click downward, I can feel and hear the mucus when I breathe, and even light activity makes me breathe hard, though my oxygen sats stay up. Today, they also scheduled an outpatient surgical bronchoscopy on April 11 for more debridement of the slough and to replace the stent if needed. This was what I went in for on March 3 and they kept me until March 11 with two additional surgeries. Hopefully that's not needed this time, but I will do as they say to try to make this thing work. So I'm clearly not out of the woods yet, and didn't expect to be. One in five lung transplant patients die in the first year, one in two in the first five years. But at the time I received the transplant on December 23, I was declining rapidly. I think by now I'd be dead or on death watch in hospice at the least. So it was like calling an artillery fire mission on your own position when you are being overrun--there was no choice. I will continue to march and still have a positive attitude. I have complete faith in the healthcare team at UW Hospital/Madison VA--but this process has things that can be beyond anyone's control. I know a couple of lung transplant folks having a harder time than I am, but still in the fight. And several good folks worse off with other health challenges, so I feel blessed. Thanks as always for the thoughts, prayers and good wishes.

Last Monday, I took three trays of cookies--one for each shift--up to the nurses and health techs on the ward. One of the nurses said I was sweet. I said that they had all been so wonderful I wanted to do something. She said, "You're easy to be wonderful to--it's the people who aren't who make this job a challenge." I try to put myself in their point of view and make things as easy and cooperative as I can. They have a lot on their plates, and I'm hardly the only patient. ~Bob 


  1. Saying a prayer that you continue to do well. I was recently diagnosed with COPD and I'm seen at a VA hospital except for the COPD because I cannot get the medications I need through them and have to use Tricare that I have through husband. The fear of the disease is sometimes worse than the disease itself--I quit smoking when diagnosed after 30+ years..

  2. As always, thoughts and prayers to you and the family.


  3. Thoughts and prayers, and thanks for remembering the 'little' folks...

  4. I try to never miss a day checking on you and your blog. The Nation could use a lot more people like you but by the time they realize the need it might be too late. When I read your health issues I am reminded that at 70 I am fortunate that most of my problems can be treated with drugs. Keep fighting and keep trusting. We are really lucky to live in a place where people dedicate their lives to helping others through medicene and research.