In for a penny in for a pound… or a visit to a hospital.

As you know from my last blog post I was heading down the road to a hospital. For what you ask??? To get to the bottom of a pain in the chest and a lack of oxygen when breathing.

The original visit was to be with a Dr. Swanepoel who was to do the investigation at the Wilers Hospital. Luckily before we booked in we discovered that my insurance only covers 60 % of the bill there and I’d be required to pay the balance. No way. A quick call to Dr Brandt (our house Doctor) and she went searching for another Dr.

Dr Voster it was to be at Unitas Hospital. “But he wants to see you now!!” she said.

Down the road and into his rooms. R 2 800 later I’d had an ECG, stress ECG and a sonar of my heart.

“Don’t think there’s anything wrong with your heart” he said “but I want to do a CT scan or CAT-scan as it is known.” (X-ray computed tomography (x-ray CT) is a technology that uses computer-processed x-rays to produce tomographic images (virtual ‘slices’) of specific areas of the scanned object, allowing the user to see what is inside it without cutting it open.)

Ok so into hospital I went for a day of scanning by Dr Spannenberg and off home. Well that was the plan. The CT scan showed growths on my lungs, a fairly healthy looking heart and emphysema. “No going home”said Dr Voster and Spannenberg “Tomorrow a lung function and a Angiogram.”

Ok…have to stay another day for a Lung function test by Dr Van Rensberg and Angiogram by Dr Voster,

Dr Voster after the angiogram showed a good strong heart, “I want a Gastroscopy” (its a test to look inside the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.)  Enter Doctor Reichenberger, and another day in the hospital.

The lung function showed no problem for a man that had smoked for 50 years.  “But… (I grew to hate that word) … I want to do a sleep apnea test on you tonight” said Dr Van Rensburg. Enter Fourie Associates for the test that night.

This took the form of a piece in my nose and a thing clipped to my finger, and a recorder attached to my chest …. Okay…. lets see what this shows…

Next day I got the result of the Apnea before going for my gastroscopy or endoscopy: – a good score for apnea is 5 or below, I have a score of 39. A good blood oxygen level is 90 % and above, mine dropped as low as 53 %. and I stopped breathing 243 times in the one night. So I’d been diagnosed as suffering from chronic OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). This would require I stay another night for more tests.

The gastroscopy or endoscopy found I had a Hiatus hernia and was suffering from reflux with bad burning of the oesophagus, which would require tablets to correct it.

The second test for the Apnea had me sleeping with a mask covering my nose and mouth… I loved the book explanation of this test and I quote …. “Bed should be considered for sleep and sex and if nothing is forthcoming within 15 minutes get up and do something else before returning to bed.” Looking at the mask, getting into bed with that on will guarantee no sex….

Then the visit from Dr Scholtz, the growths on the lungs need a biopsy.,. either a needle in and a sample taken for testing, or the removal of the growths. “Get them out of there,” my answer “what doesn’t pay rent must be removed.”

So the next day would see me in the operating theatre, put to sleep and via my back the growths removed. From there it was off to ICU as they had to collapse my lung to remove the growths and ICU would ensure it remained inflated while I recovered. There was one growth they could not reach from their entry point, so it will be removed later if the growths prove malignant (which the scan doctor said could not be ruled out) and if not malignant can remain till it gets too big.

The day in ICU and night and the next day, back to a semi private ward for recovery.

Then today after a last Xray I’m home.

I had so much blood removed for testing I think I need a transfusion…. my veins just collapse every time they saw a needle making the anaesthesiologists job very difficult…. so many Xrays and scans I will likely begin glowing in the dark… and so little food I’ve probably lost weight….

So what did we actually find for the original complaint?

Chest pains could be the result of Emphysema, Sleep Apnea, Hiatus hernia and reflux or growths on the lungs, or all of them combined.

Lack of breathe and weakness could be caused from the sleep apnea, emphysema or growth on the lungs or all of them.

Cause for concern now? waiting for the results of the biopsy… Malignant or Benign?

HELL OF A WAY TO SPEND A DAY (WEEK ACTUALLY).. But now I’m home and need to recover, the left lung is still a great source of pain and difficulty of breathing… but with time I will get back to full health…