Thursday, February 7, 2013

pneumothorax anniversary

The loneliest feeling in the world is being in a hospital bed for the first time in your life and no one really knows you are there.

OK one person, my daughter and co-conspirator in silence, knew. However as my blood pressure spiked to 200 over 120 at midnight I was freaking out. Would I even have the time to call her and say good bye?

Part of why I am sharing is that only my daughter has ever seen behind the curtain of the beginning of my lung cancer odyssey.

A year ago, I had an outpatient procedure CT Guided Needle Biopsy of my lung performed by Jay Goodman, MD an interventional radiologist working out of Holy Spirit Hospital.

At the risk of oversimplification a needle biopsy of a lung is kind of like sticking a pin in a balloon. You wait while the lung seals itself and reflates. After multiple x-rays, eventually I was sent home and instructed to return the next day for one last x-ray.

Returning to the hospital for the follow up x-ray I learned my lung had partially collapsed or in big medical words - pneumothorax.

I was neither experiencing pain nor shortness of breath. However since I had not fasted for anesthesia I was about to “know” pain since my chest tube could only be inserted under local anesthesia and believe me a chest tube is a helluva lot larger than a biopsy needle.

To Dr. Goodman’s credit the first thing he did was say “I’m sorry”.

Hospitalized overnight what were the odds that the only other pneumothorax patient in the hospital would be my roommate? While my chest tube vacuum was whisper jet quiet his was a non-stop loud sucking sound.

We made for an odd couple with me desperately seeking anonymity since my story was about being biopsied for lung cancer, while his story involved blowing up his lung pumping iron at the gym recovering from pneumonia.

To this day that night and morning was the most painful experience of my life with that damn chest tube rubbing against my lung.

The morning of Feb 7th, a year ago, as I watched snow falling outside my hospital room window memories of my life swirled in a snow globe ... then my adult daughter arrived with chocolate milk and saved my mind.

This morning, and still alive a year later, I returned the favor bringing her a chocolate milk. 

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


1 comment:

  1. You are sure to be an inspiration for all of your readers. Your words glow with a genuineness that is hard to find these days and your mindset during a possibly terminal disease is so selfless, many people can learn from you!