Saturday, May 6, 2017

Starting to Get Some Answers

I spent the day at the hospital taking tests, waiting and getting rehydrated. The best part was that we didn't have to wait to get in.  As soon as I started describing my symptoms - shortness of breath, chest and back pain, they didn't let me say anything more.  They brought out a wheelchair and took me right back.  Within ten minutes I was hooked up to an IV, had blood drawn and answered a hundred questions.  The only part that took awhile was finding a vein for the IV.  The nurse tried, but had no luck.  She called in three other nurses, but they were afraid to try.  For the first time in over twenty years, a doctor had to start my IV.  Left a bruise, but I was glad that he got it in one try and it held for the day.

After the blood work I was taken to have a chest x-ray.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to hold my breath long enough, but I made it.  We waited for well over an hour to get all of the first round of test results.  The good news was that the blood work showed that I did not have a heart attack and my white cells were normal.  The scary news was that the radiologist felt that I had a hole in my lung that was producing fluid.  The blood work also showed that I tested positive for a blood clot.  The second part did not scare me as the doctor said a false positive was normal.  The first part caused the most worry as 50% of the time a hole in the lung means cancer.  With the seriousness of the first tests, the doctor said I would have to have a CT scan.

They came pretty quickly to take me to scan room.  It was different than when I had one two years ago.  It was a long tube like an MRI.   Panic set over me and the nurses could tell.  They explained that the normal CT scan was being repaired and that they were using the PET scan instead.  I told them about my MRI experience, but we all knew that it was important that I had the scan.  They assured me that it would take less than ten minutes.  Once they suggested a washcloth over my eyes I was positive I could do it.  They got me situated and although it was uncomfortable, I survived.  Once I put the washcloth over my eyes, I just pretended that I was on the rides at Disney World that always scared me when I first got on - Twilight Tower of Terror and Rock N Roller Coaster.

The results came back quicker than they originally estimated which I was glad for.  It had been a long hour and a half of thinking.  The good news was there was no clot or mention of cancer.  There was fluid around my lungs in addition to pleurisy.  The doctor strongly suggested I revisit Dr. Mulry and set up a stress test and discuss the fluid retention.  He gave me a steroid to try for four days with my antibiotic and inhaler.  I didn't physically feel a lot better when I left, but I did feel relieved.  Pleurisy is painful and exhausting, but it isn't lung cancer and now we know what we are dealing with.

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