Short Health Update, Saturday, March 8, 2014: My surgeon, Dr. Jim Maloney, did rounds this morning and was in at 6:45 am. (When does he sleep? He did my lung on 12/23 and we heard one on Christmas Day!)
He wants to do a third bronchoscopy Tuesday. He is deciding if he should put a stent in, as it is needed in a tricky place. He drew a diagram for me. He said the juncture (anastomosis) where the lung joins my breathing to my nose and mouth looks good. There is a pocket of slough below that on the left side, where the infection is/was. It has causes a “dynamic collapse,” thus partially blocking my airways. He debrided this a lot (and think more on Tuesday), but would like a temporary stent here to expand the opening. The tricky part is that on the right just above it passages go off to get air in my blood, and he doesn’t want to block them, of course. I told him that if we added everything I know about lungs to what he knows, we wouldn’t know any more, that I would rely on his judgment and had full faith in him. So it looks like I’m here until Wednesday, 3/12 at least. 9Unless I can get three more bed sheets and a longer O2 hose—I’m only on the 4th floor.) So much for the first bronch on 3/3 being an “outpatient procedure.” Things happened.
Feeling good and breathing better, I was on 4 lpm of O2 after the surgery Friday, now down to 1 lpm, hope to be off tonight. But may need it again after Tuesday’s bronch.
While time constrains have forced me to delete unread hundreds of political, joke, military and cute video e-mails, I try to read all the personal notes. I do appreciate all the support, prayers, good wishes and smart-ass comments. I’m really doing fine, lots of people far worse off, including some recovering—or trying to—from a lung transplant. So I continue to march.
Semper Fidelis. ~Bob
Lung transplant update
Sorry for the lack of blog posts. I have over 500 unread e-mails since Monday backed up, most of which will have to be deleted unread when I get time, and I cleared out about 100 Tuesday. You’d be surprised how little time you get in the hospital, with meds, tests, consultants, IV changes, etc., even during the night. I brought a history book and don’t think I read 150 pages. Plus I can only do e-mail when Bonnie brings her computer in, and I find that the programs have been “improved” so much (Windows 08 and Word 10) that random windows open, and I cannot find the few features I use regularly in Word 03, so it takes me 4 times as long to do stuff. Hopefully I’ll be home next week, get caught up, and can post news and comment again.
I’m still in the hospital, and now they are saying I’ll be likely here over the weekend as they doubt they can set up home health IVs for Saturday, though things change hourly. If you’ve been following the saga—and who could blame you if you aren’t?--they did surgery Monday to debride the sough (“sluff”—dead cells) that has formed on the juncture (anastomosis) on the airways between the new lung and the old body, going down into the bronchial tubes, which has been blocking my air intake. The surgeon took out a lot of slough, stretched the airway, but ran into a pocket of infection. So they held me, put me on IVs of antibiotics about 85% of the time since Monday, sometimes two at once. I can now kill cockroaches at ten yards by breathing on them. Due to the junk stirred up, I was on 6 LPM of O2 Tuesday, 3 LPM Wednesday, and room air Thursday, but back on 4 LPM O2 for the moment. They postponed the second bronchoscopy/debridement surgery to today, (Friday) due to op room schedules at UW. An op room wasn’t available at the VA.
I gather from preliminary reports it went well. The chest x-ray looks very good, Dr. Maloney, my surgeon took out a lot of slough using a laser, and they put a balloon in and expanded the lung. I suspect that I will need a clean out bronchoscopy soon to suck out loose stuff that settles, but have not been told that. As usual, I can’t say enough about the team at the UW/VA hospitals. Though with things like this, there are factors beyond anyone’s control, I have the highest faith in them.
Everyone—and I mean everyone—says this is just a “bump in the road”—so I’m going with that absent other evidence. Thanks to everyone who has worked to cheer me up. As usual, I remain positive and optimistic, not depressed or overly concerned—at least about myself. I’ll try to post another update when I have more solid news.