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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another test, over and done with.

Today I got my bronchoscopy done. This started off with a fast beginning midnight. No food or water. By the time all was done, I expected the fast to last a total of 12 hours. It ended up being 16 hours. I didn't take into account how long the freezing of my throat would take to wear off. It wasn't too bad, though Dh starting to talk about food on the way home sure wasn't appreciated! LOL

Dh took the day off to take care of me and, since we had no real idea how long things would take, we brought the girls along, too. The first thing I discovered was that the hospital I had to go to is a total maze! It's actually a complex of several hospitals, including a Children's Hospital and a Women's Hospital. We ended up parking way off in the wrong area. Since Dh had already paid the meter - $10 for less than 2 1/2 hours! - we walked to the right area, after I snagged someone and asked directions. Then, once in the hospital, I had to get directions for the correct pre-registration counter. Talk about confusing!

Things were running behind (no surprise there), but only by about half an hour. Once I got called in, Dh and the girls headed out for a while, grabbed a quick lunch, then headed back. We made sure they had he cell phone number to let him know when I was done.

Prep-ing me for the bronchoscopy included a bunch of paperwork (which is when I found out the dr. doing the bronchoscopy is the same respiratory specialist that wrote me up for the test), getting my blood pressure and O2 levels checked, and getting in IV. The blood pressure cuff was left on me. Things have changed a bit since the last time I've been in the hospital. For starters, no one othered to check O2 levels a few years ago. O2 and blood pressure are now done with a single machine on a stand, instead of having a person pumping away, like in the dr's office. Even the IV was different - no more big white gauze on the back of my hand. Now it's this clear tape-like bandage, allowing full view of the needle. Some patients don't like that, I was told. *L*

Talking to the nurse who put in the IV, she asked how I was feeling about the proceedure, and I told her I was looking forward to seeing the equipement and the proceedure. The paperwork I'd been given told me I'd be partially awake, and that they'd be using fibre optics. She told me they haven't used fibre optics in years. It's a little camera now, and since the dr. would be standing behind my head, the monitors (one for the camera the other for my vital signs) would be right in front of me. As we chatted, she commented that some patients are like me - interesting in finding everything out, asking all sorts of questions, and so on. Others come in and they don't even know why they're there. They just say their dr. sent them. Not only that, but they don't want to know what's about to be done with them. I found myself wondering that it must be hard to give informed consent about something when you don't want to be informed!

After about an hour, I was wheeled out. I had a decent view of where I was going, since the bed I was on was inclined. The respiratory specialist caught up with me as I was being wheeled in, dressed in a sport coat and tie! - and introduced me to the other two doctors that came in. Those two were dressed in scrubs. With the three of them, plus the nurse that wheeled me in, things were pretty crowded in that tiny room. The specialist went over my file with the other two dr's, telling them about my cough, and how long I've had it. Practially on cue, I started coughing, and they were both going "ooh... yeah - that would get annoying!" My cough has a rather distinctive noise to it.

One of the doctors then had to spray my mouth to numb it. He warned me that the stuff tasted really bad - like Buckley's Mixture, only worse. LOL. Yeah, it was bad - but I've tasted worse. He had to do that twice, then a different one that he had to stick down my throat to numb things farther down. Talk about a gag reflex, even partially numbed! No wonder they insist on people fasting, first!!

Meanwhile, the monitors were being set up in front of me. With the one for the camera, I could see the floor. Wherever it was, it was obviously hanging downwards. The nurse added some valium to my IV.

Then I woke up in the recovery room.

Dang it. I wanted to watch the proceedure!

The preceedure itself doesn't take long at all. I'd been told that they'd take a sample of the fluids in my lungs and, if the dr. saw the need, possibly a biopsy. Since the dr. would be seeing everything as it was being done, I was told he'd be able to talk to me about what he saw.

I never saw him. I figure, with them being behind, he just never made it before I was ok to head out.

I fell asleep a couple of times in recovery, so that seemed to go by quickly. I didn't have my glasses, but there was a clock close enough that I could figure out what time it was. It felt like I slept for such a long time, but only a few minutes went by.

The awkward part was when I shifted my butt around to get comfy and felt something a touch odd. And damp. Now, one of the issues with my cough is that... well, I need to tense things up in the nether regions. If I was coughing while unconcious in recovery, I couldn't have done that. Problem was, I couldn't exactly check myself! So I waited for a nurse.

By the time she showed up, so did my family. I had my blood pressure checked one last time, the IV removed, and my glasses returned to me - yay, vision!!! I mentioned to her that I felt damp and thought I might've wet myself, but she told me that that was unlikely. Then she drew the curtain so I could get dressed.

Once I was off the bed, though, I discovered I was right. I'd leaked. Ugh. That meant going home commando, and I've never liked that. I find the seams in pants really uncomfortable. Well, it could've been worse, as far as things going wrong. I couldn't even bother being embaressed about it.

Thankfully, the exit wasn't far from the recovery room. I was pretty light headed, still, and hung onto Dh, just to be on the safe side. He brought the car around - with a whole 7 minutes to spare on the ticket. In fact, once he got outside to buy more time for parking, his phone beedled to let him know he had messages, and he found out they'd tried to call him three times. He and the girls were in the waiting room for a while by then, but this department is in the basement, so there was no signal. When they'd returned, he's suggested to the woman behind the desk that maybe he should somehow let them know he was back, but she said not to bother; they'd come to the waiting room to check. They never did! I guess since they had the phone number, they just tried calling, instead.

One of the things that was stressed as they were getting me ready to go was to NOT try to eat or drink for a couple more hours, because of the danger of choking. I was told that, if I felt like it was safe to try, just to take a sip of water to see, but no more. Once home for a while, I did give it a try, and I had no problem swallowing, but I just took a few more sips, then went for a nap, since I was still feeling a bit woozy.

Right now, the only effects I'm feeling is irritation in my bronchial tubes - which is really no different from times when my cough it a bit worse. If I take a deep breath, I can feel it more, but again, it's nothing I'm not used to because of the cough. I was warned that I might be coughing up blood or having problems with shortness of breath or pain, but I'm not having any of that.

Since the dr. never saw me in recovery, I have no idea how things went otherwise. I won't find out until I go for my follow up visit, near the end of November.

After this, I just have the barium X-rays to get done. I need to make that appointment myself, once I figure out which location is most convenient for me to get to.

Then, it's just a matter of getting together with the specialist and seeing what the results tell us.

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