April 10, 2008

Recovering from flexible bronchoscopy

It's 7 days now since the day the surgery was done. Left flexible bronchoscopy was performed before VATS to remove the cyst between food pipe and heart. In case of any complication left thoracotomy was to be done to remove the cyst. This in case the cyst would have attached it self to any of the other vital organs in the thorax [upper chest] region of the body and removing it safely using pin hole surgery was not feasible.
Before the surgery I was informed by the surgeon and his team of different complication and some very bad possibilities that can happen to any human undergoing this kind of specialised procedure. This was a bit scary but I think the law dictates that this be informed to the patient. There are very minor possibilities for the following complications and mishap :-
Cardiac Arrest
Post surgery bleeding - At times another surgery is required to fix the cause of bleeding.
...few more that I don't remember...
Anyway I will suggest not to pay much to attention to these as it may increase your anxiety level just before the surgery. I was advised by the doctors that very likely following would happen during the course of recovery after the surgery if no complications happen.
1 day in the ICU
3 days to remove the tubes from the chest
4-5 days of recovery time in the hospital ward
4-5 weeks of rest at home before resuming active duty as an employed adult

Till now I have been lucky that I have been recovering really well. Recovery rate in the hospital was much better than speed at which I am recovering at home. I was not taken to the ICU at all. After about 3 hours of supervision post General Anaesthesia from OT[Operating Room] I was directly brought into the ward. Here when I was back in my sense I was not having pain in the chest area but I was having some irritation in the groin area. I was felling as if I wanted to pass urine. I was also feeling as if my groin is already wet. When I tried to feel the area I found that a pipe is connected to my penis. I asked the attendants I was informed that Urinary catheterization has been done as part of standard process for this surgery. This will keep sucking all the urine and I don't need to pass urine. It would be removed tomorrow. I persisted why is it wet then. They checked and refitted it again as seems there was some leakage happening. They seems adjusted it again and it was so painful. They told me it's fine now and there would be no more urine leakage. They changed the bed linen and they had put me on nappy. Such huge nappies, I had never seen before. I think I was still stable and not really irritated by this pain and uncomfort. I tried to sleep with the pain and constant drive to urinate. I could not sleep at all. I asked the attendants to remove the catheter so that I can pass urine normally and more importantly I can sleep. They told me I have to pass urine and motion on the bed till the tubes from my chests are removed[this was about 3 day away]. But the pain in the penis and constant false signal by body to urinate was really bothering me and I was becoming irritating[my wife tells me] and aggressive in my conversation. I told them I am willing to urinate in urine bottle but this catheter has to be removed for me to sleep. Surgery has been done in chest and why am I being tortured for urinating. They heeded and consulted the doctors. With Doctors consent my catheters were removed. I think it was one of the most painful medical experience of my 32 years of life. Even removing the catheters was so excruciatingly painful. After about 15 mintues of catheter removal urge to urinate had subsided. I was as sleep amidst constant hourly blood pressure and temperature check. Next day morning first chest X-ray was done. Next one again in the evening. Next day morning doctors informed me that X-ray are looking good and there is no more fluid coming out of the tube as well as of now. They will observe for 4-5 hrs and if all goes well tubes would be removed in the after noon. They took the third and last X-Ray in the morning before removing both the tubes from my chest. I was feeling great thinking that I am recovering really fast. Doctors wanted me to be discharged next day[Friday] but then thinking about my naughty kids[twins] at home I thought it's better to stay back for 2 more days and recover here. I was passing motions and urine normally. I feel lucky that I didn't had to pass motion from the hospital bed. While passing urine I use to have burning sensation because of the post effect of catheters. I think only mild problems I was having was :-
Blood in the sputum
Very shallow breathing
Burning sensation while urinating
All of these are not surprising but expected condition after bronchoscopy and VATS and Urinary catheterization. I was discharged on Monday noon time with medicines to take care of pain of varying degrees.
On Tuesday bandage was to be removed from the wound and I would take my shower after about 5 days of sponge bath. When one of the bandages were removed wound still seem not to have healed and so my wife did not dare to remove the bandage from 2nd wound. As was advised in the hospital while being discharged to go to a GP and get the wound cleaned and bandaged again. I could take my shower a day later as I was feeling more comfortable on Wednesday. GP had put water resistant bandage on both the wounds. Other than that two other problem I am having as of now while writing this post are :-
Recurring fever - I am taking Panadol for this about twice daily as when I feel feverish.
Burning sensation while passing urine.
Mild Gastric - This was expected in hospital as side effect of the pain killers. How ever I am having the symptom now. Expecting it to away soon.
This is the reason I feel that recovery in hospital was better compared to home. I guess one of the reason for speedy recovery in hospital was optimum rest before going for the surgery.

Following link provide useful additional information on VAT :-
Patients Guide to Thoracoscopy
Patients Guide for Cardio Thorasic diseases

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