Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun with Lungs

Note:  I am absolutely fine now, 2 yrs. later and after 6 mos. of treatment.

I have a disease. It is a serious lung infection called Blastomycosis, which is caused by inhaling microscopic fungus spores found outdoors, which are occasionally linked with bat guano.


O.k.—it’s not that funny. But I am getting better and in time should be fine. Some of the circumstances surrounding my diagnosis were funny—in a dark, humorous way.

The first funny fact is that I, Hermit-Heidi, caught ANYTHING by being outside. Fred is trying formulate a way I could have gotten it INSIDE--so as not to spoil his appreciation of the outdoors--but evidence to prove his theory is non-existent. Sorry, honey.

Once it was discovered something was wrong with me, I needed a Broncoscopy to diagnose it. The idea of someone sticking a tube down your throat into your lungs and yanking a sample is not pleasant, but BELIEVE me, it was no big deal. At the point it was prescribed--unbridled curiosity and a “GET IT THE HELL OUT OF ME!” mentality over-rode most of my irrational tube-fears.

The first step to the Broncoscopy is in the “Procedure Waiting Room for the Aged.” Recently, I had been lamenting about feeling old. If you ever want to feel like a KID again, go schedule a “procedure” for yourself. While Fred and I sat, readying ourselves for my name to be called, people were being wheeled in one at a time. The first woman appeared 99 years old. She had an entourage and was covered with a blanket. She didn’t look sick—just OLD. She might have been having a toenail clipped for all I know. Then a 120-year-old guy came, who looked just like Grandpa Walton. The last guy they wheeled in was the Emperor from the final “Star Wars” movie (the guy who tried to electrocute Luke and was tossed into the abyss by Darth Vader?). He was not a day younger than 200.

I was called and moved to my own pre-procedure room and offered a nice shot of Demerol. Unfortunately, the last time I took Demerol—while in labor with Krista, I got this weird tic which made me involuntarily jut my tongue out and retract it like a serpent. Apparently, this is definitely an unwanted ALLERGIC reaction. Poor Fred! The stress of having his wife in the procedure room could only be topped by the "Return of Lizard Woman." 

In the Broncoscopy room (still sounds like something to do with a horse), the surgical aide handed me what can only be described as a long, blue, psychedelic Bong. I have never DONE a “Bong”, but have been in “head shops” in the 80s and seen them on store shelves.

"Inhale this until the liquid is gone” I was instructed.

As I breathed, smoke from what seemed like dry ice came out the end. It was a strange kind of peace-pipe, I thought. The psychedelic Bong numbed my throat. Next the aide brought out something resembling the Oil Can from “Wizard of Oz” and sprayed my vocal chords to numb them too. Soon they gave me an “I-don’t-care-WHAT-you-do-to-me” shot and I vaguely remember the rest.

Moral of the Story: Never go outside. But if you do and happen to breathe in rare mold fungus spores, get thee to a Broncoscopy and enjoy the buzz!

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