It was the night of April 3rd and somewhere around 3 AM I felt a slight tug and some pain in my left lung. Now, I have had similar feelings before so I wasn't too worried and I took some deep breaths thinking it would pass. The pain did not pass but it didn't really get worse so I figured I would just sleep it off and address it in the morning. About 3 hours later the pain had intensified to a pain I had not felt up until that point in my life (in my lungs).
When I rolled out of bed I had to walk with a hunch as it was the kind of pain that almost brought me to my knees. I made it to our couch in the living room and I just sat there rubbing the area trying to take deep breaths thinking again that hopefully it was something I could breathe through. The pain only got worse. I was unable to take very deep breaths and when I did the air seemed to get forced out of my lungs. I was unable to speak properly and I would make more jumbled moans than actual words. It was the first time this kind of pain with these kind of symptoms had ever occurred.
Mandi took one look at me sitting on the couch writhing in pain and said "we're going to the ER”. Usually I would fight her on something like this, thinking that I could fight it on my own or that it would pass shortly–I put up no such fight. She grabbed me some clothes got Mckenna together and out the door we went.
We made our way to the biggest hospital within striking distance and Mandi dropped me off in front of the ER entrance. There was no receptionist present as I clung on to a sign which was assisting me in keeping me up right. A security guard noticed this and rushed to get me a wheelchair to sit in. He then went back into a different room to grab some assistance. Just then Mandi and Mckenna came through the doors, which was good timing, because I was having trouble having enough air to answer the nurses questions (I was later told they figured I had a massive kidney stone). I of course told them about cystic fibrosis and that I've had similar pain before but not to this level. I shared with them that if I had to guess what a pneumothorax or a popped lung felt like, this would be it.
They brought me back to a bed and immediately administered an albuterol treatment and oxygen. They then took me back to x-ray and I also had a CAT scan performed. This was my first time at this hospital so they had no record of me or any x-ray images or CAT scan results from past. They reached out to one of my pulmonologists in Tucson to compare notes and results of the different tests. Fortunately, as time started to pass the pain started to subside.
They concluded that I must of torn a pleural adhesion. Which in layman's terms, which of course I asked for, in my case means that they felt I ripped some scar tissue in my lung. I had never even thought of this being a possibility. I mean it intuitively makes sense, and I understand that you can of course rip scar tissue, I just never thought of it actually happening. I know that I have scar tissue all over both lungs and I'm surprised I guess that it took this long to happen. Being as active as I am and using as my lungs as much as I do I feel blessed that I've avoided it up until this point. I'm also very thankful that it did last, that is the pain, “only” 5 hours or so. I mean I had some residual pain for the days that followed but nowhere near the initial pain that I felt.
It was suggested that I should do some exercises that would stretch the cavity wall and that I didn't do anything too aggressive for at least a week or so. They also suggested that I get these “lung stretches” into my daily or weekly routine to try and avoid another torn pleural adhesion in the future. I did have a cold the week before this happened and am wondering if that contributed to this event as well.
I also think this contributed to my downward trend over the course of the following month. A downward trend which ultimately led to me being where I am today, the Hole. It wasn't the whole story however--there were other factors that led to me being in here which I will get into in later blogs.
Has anybody else out there ever been told they tore a pleural adhesion? I'd like to hear your story!