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…



131 thoughts on “In for a penny in for a pound… or a visit to a hospital.

  1. You have been going through a lot! What’s odd is I just went in for a CT Scan yesterday for nodules in the lung that they discovered a year ago when they thought there was something on my kidney (but there wasn’t) and wanted me to come back in a year for a another CT Scan. I should have the results today. I know what you mean about the sleep apnea mask…my husband wears one…but it doesn’t make me find him any less sexy! (smile) It took him a while to get used to a mask…he tried all three types and wears the full mask now.

    I’m so happy the spots were benign!


    • Thanks Sherry… I have to return in 3 months for another CT scan… they want to monitor the growth rate of the nodule they could not get to from the back… the biggest one was a three quarter inch size and the one left behind is approx the same… so we will see… not worried about cancer as it is normally a soft tissue growth, but their worry is if it starts to impede breathing…
      The mask might just spice up something in the bedroom, who knows, after 40 years of marriage anything could happen….. lol …

    • All turned out OK… well sort of, no cancerous growths, just growths, Sleep Apnea a major problem, emphysema a minor problem and re-flux a problem, but all of these we can get over… except the emphysema, but we can learn to control it…

  2. I’m finally getting caught up and I’m kind of glad I can keep reading and get to the end of what you’re facing! I am so sorry to hear that you had to spend so much time in the hospital. Tests aren’t fun, but the waiting to find out “what’s wrong” is even more difficult.

    • I was fairly confident of a benign result as the growths were described as calcified and hard and Linda’s cancer has always been soft tissue growths… but it still comes as a relief when you get the results…

  3. Here I got some answers on my question – so glad that you’re looked after properly – and that they really try to find out some as they can .. about your body’s status. I read that it was good test results – great news … so happy. Great photo of you and the T-shirt is world class.
    One thing is for sure .. we have to be healthy to be able to be sick.

    • Yes thanks Viveka… with operations now over and done with, test results returned all that needs to happen now is the healing and return to good health, just not to get sick again… I hate hospitals and in the last four months have been in them twice for operations and testing. I’m hoping that is my quota over now… never been in them for major ops all my life and now all this in a short time has been a shock to my system…

      • I know exactly what you mean. I have been so spoiled during my whole life – never been seriously ill as such more than appendix – that nearly killed me.
        So my tolerance is so low when it’s about being sick .. pain and not feeling great. plus medicine. Have hardly taken headache pills.
        Suddenly everything just collapses – and the package it comes in is so hard to accept.
        I hope also that your have used up your quotes of bad luck and sickness now.
        But take it easy and let the recovery take the time it needs. Thinking of you.

  4. I couldn’t help but laugh at the comment you made when you saw the sleep apnea mask…no sex is right. When I had my testing done they had wires attached to me in so many places I looked like a machine from some alien movie. I don’t know how you did wearing the mask, I couldn’t do it…felt like someone had a pillow over my head trying to smother me all night long. I decided the apnea was less painful.

    As far as all the other stuff goes…a little bit of this a little bit of that. I do hope that you get it narrowed down a bit and that you can get some relief from the elephant sitting on your chest.

  5. Take it from someone who has and is having her fair share of health problems, it’s better to know and get things taken care of then to let this stuff worsen and wonder what the heck is going inside this amazing body of yours. Good thoughts from me to you…

  6. You know I am praying……Much love sent your way, Dearest Friend, to you and your sweet, Linda. I pray all will be ok….my kids are praying, too.

  7. Rob, when did you start writing scary horror posts?

    This one was informative, but I must admit I like the photography of beautiful creatures much more. So please get a good bill of health and start blogging in your old style soon…hospitals don’t offer much chance to photograph wild animals in the bush!

  8. It’s a good thing you have a strong constitution to start with, Rob. Best of luck with the test results and I’ve got all fingers and toes crossed that you’ll be out there taking your famous photographs again in no time at all! 😀 xxxxx

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