Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Little Ole Lung Biopsy - No Big Deal - Unless It Is, and Then It Really Is - Pt 2

As I woke up in the Recovery Room, I immediately knew something had gone wrong.  I was in severe pain in my right chest.  A nurse was standing next to my bed and through the receding sedation haze, I understood her to say my right lung had collapsed and they had not gotten the tissue they needed. She went on to say what I was getting for pain control which was a laundry list of Schedule II pharmaceuticals.  I was eventually moved to my room where I had a sleepless night as pain management doctors played with meds to determine what might give me the best relief and leave me conscious.. The next day, an associate of Lord WonderKid’s was the one who came by to inspect the drainage tube and while he was a bit more available than the Gutless Surgeon, he could provide no insight as to what happened to cause my right lung to collapse. 

The drainage tube came out on Friday.  It was a procedure that the anesthesiologists suggested strongly that about 10 minutes before the removal, I have a 2mg Dilauded “push” in my IV as it would “make it a lot easier” on me.  Man, was that an understatement. Pulling plastic tubes out of the chest cavity rates right up there on the pain scale, trust me and the anesthesia guys and gals on this folks. 

In discussions with both the oncologist and Dr, Bob, we all agreed that it was vital to know what the nodules were…..benign? Cancerous? If cancerous, was it metastasized prostate cancer or some other cancer ? (both my parents smoked in the house and cars when I was growing up, so something generated by 2nd hand smoke is a possibility).  A different thoracic surgical group was contacted about doing what is known was an “open biopsy” where 2 holes are opened between ribs and “stretched” a bit to allow for a camera and then a cutting device to be slipped in and the tissue cut and removed.  This was a it different from the previous two due to the extra holes but also because the lung would need to be collapsed on purpose so it was still and not a moving target which meant that recovery would once again require the 12” drainage tube to be in place for for 2-3 days after the procedure. That makes for a total of 3 cuts on this one in addition to the still healing would from the Gutless Surgeon’s attempt. 

The different group of surgeons was hired and I was fortunate enough to draw a Dr. Kirkland who came to my room when he said he would to discuss the procedure and answer any questions I might have.  Dr. Kirkland was personable, punctual, respectful, quite knowledgeable and also honest enough to tell me that during recovery I’d feel like I‘d been “in a knife fight and lost. He also said the anesthesia group would double their efforts to ensure my recovery pain was kept to a minimum.  I felt this was someone I could trust to cut on my body. 

The surgery was completed yesterday and it was immediately confirmed that the nodules were not benign but it would be up to 48 hours before we knew what type of cancer I’d managed to get in my lungs.  He was correct about the additional pain but was also correct about the anesthesia groups doubled up efforts to keep me comfortable. I’m on a variety of narcotics, both oral and IV as well as NSAIDs, Lyrica and anti anxiety drugs. Most interestingly, while I was in the recovery room and they were struggling to keep my pain controlled, they suggested an epidural catheter that would deliver a constant dose of a Novocain like (what ya get at the dentist’s office) drug to the spinal column above the level of the incisions. They warned that they would need to flip me over to insert the catheter and that even though they would drug me up as much as they could, it would be a rough experience.  Exercising exceptional wisdom considering the state I was in, I agreed and they were right about the trauma of being turned over with a chest tube sticking out of my body.  But they were also right about the huge added benefits of this additional, non-narcotic medication.  I can’t speak highly enough of these folks. 

I was taken back to my room and of all things, Lord Douche Bag waltzed into my room as if all was grand. Acting like Little Mary Sunshine, he seemed rather taken aback when I assured him there was indeed a problem between him and me. When I explained the problem was the lack of preop counseling and zero post op contact, which I found completely unacceptable considering the slight complication of a collapsed lung.  He then proceeded to throw the anesthesia staff under the bus by blaming his lack of contact with me on them sedating me before he got to the OR.  As I have no respect for people that cant own their mistakes and run coworkers down in trying to explain their own misdeeds, I invited him to promptly leave my room. 

That takes us up to tonight, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm.  I’ve just pressed my self administered IV dose of pain med and will buzz the nurse for a sleeping pill and I’m hopeful
I’ll sleep more tonight than last night’s 1.5 hours.  I’ll need the rest both to help heal the physical wounds of the last week but also to prepare mentally to hear what is in my lungs, news I will likely get tomorrow.  News that will give more precise insight as to what the future holds..  News that may tell me about my longevity. Tomorrow is a pretty big deal. Goodnight folks

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