A guest post from my mummy.
Dear Bella, I’m writing this open letter to you from A&E. I’m sorry that you can’t see me right now but I’m in so much pain that it’s not a good idea. You see today was the day my lung collapsed.
So, how did it happen? Who knows… just bad luck. An initial trip to my GP the Monday rung alarm bells in my head. I couldn’t breath properly and had a crazy pain in my shoulder. Almost like a panic attack I shrugged it off as stress a week before our holiday. I was sent on my way with an inhaler and hopes that the pain was fleeting.
However as the days passed a pain in my chest developed, tightness and shortness of breath. I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without feeling light-headed and fighting to catch my breath. Deep down I knew something wasn’t right.
I couldn’t sleep on my right side, crackling in my throat kept me awake and I was too uncomfortable to breathe. However I still went to work like a trooper thinking it was my muscles playing up as they often do in my back.
It all came to ahead on Friday March 3rd, 5 days before our holiday. Going into work and putting on a brave face on I knew something was wrong. I booked an emergency appointment with the GP based on my gut feeling that this pain was new. However after a quick evaluation the GP armed me with a prescription of antibiotics and steroids I felt relived that a chest infection could be determined and cured. Our holiday plan was still gleaming on the horizon.
How wrong I was.
This was the night my dream of Mexico collapsed. I was told to go to hospital by my GP to confirm the infection on a chest X-ray but instead it revealed something much more sinister. The radiographer even joked how ‘long’ my lungs were saying the X-ray dept would be in contact in a week if anything showed abnormal. Driving to nursery 20 mins later I got the call. The call to come back to hospital where a consultant would be waiting for me at A&E. It put the fear of god into me. The hospital wanted me back as a matter of urgency, something showed up on the x-ray and no-one would tell me what was wrong. Not the poor lad that took my vitals and asked probing question, who put my catheter in and wheeled me into resuscitation on my own.
The nurses and staff looked at me in disbelief as I walked into theatre, I was chatting away and joking. I looked healthy, apart from my laboured breaths and pain in my shoulder you’d never had guessed my right lung had shrunk to the size of my fist. 75% smaller than it should be.
A crude drawing displayed a healthy lung on the right and my lung on the left. How was I coping, walking, talking so well, they couldn’t tell me. All they could tell me was that I was extremely lucky I didn’t board that plane for Mexico.
Because if I had I may not be here to tell you this story. I had a large primary pneumothorax, an abnormal collection of air in the pleural space that causes an uncoupling of the lung from the chest wall and the air needed to be removed from the pleural space so that my lung could expand again. Later in the night a chest tube was placed between my ribs into the space around the lungs to help drain the air and allow the lung to re-expand. I slept with the chest tube protruding out of my ribs on a busy ward. It’s only been 24hrs since the diagnosis so fingers crossed I’m on the mend. I’m a 36yr old, healthy non-smoker with long lungs.
So even though I’m extremely sad, gutted, disappointed to not be joining you, my family, my Isabella – I get to see another day, take another breath.
I hope you have a fantastic time with Daddy, Grandma and Grandad in Mexico next week, you’ll have a whale of a time. I’ll be here when you get back. Bring me a sombrero!
Love Mummy x