Rachana had a rough night with her BP dropping and her being restless. They increased the ventilator setting, gave BP meds and increased the sedatives to help her in the night. All morning she kept getting better and was off the BP meds just after noon. She was scheduled got CT scan of the abdomen to make sure there no staph infection related bacteria stuck in the abdomen, similar to the one they found on the heart valve.
After she came back from the CT scan a few minutes around 6 pm a bunch of doctors came into the room and I knew something was up. They said the CT scan of the abdomen incidentally took pictures of the lungs where they see a portion of the right lung collapsed.
They called for a immediate xray and a few minutes later showed me the xray which showed (not clearly to me) the top right portion of the right lung collapsed. This condition is called Pneumothrax. This happened because the infection caused cysts on the surface of the lung and one or more of them burst and is causing air to leak from the lungs. That air is filling up the chest cavity and can put more pressure on the lungs, which in turn can put pressure on the heart leading to major problems. They said they have to do a immediate procedure to put a chest tube into the chest cavity to pull out this air and let the lungs expand back on its own. The procedure was pretty rough. After the incision they basically used their fingers and a small scissors to guide to the right stop. When they reached the cavity and breached it, air and blood just sputtered out. They inserted a tube and stitched her up.
I spoke with Rachana just before the procedure and explained what happened and what they will be doing. She was surprisingly calm, showed great strength and asked me some good questions. She continues to encourage me with her strength. She seemed to be relived when I told it’ll be done bedside and I’ll be with her. She is now on pain meds and sedatives and we’ll watch her tonight.
The best case scenario is that the lung expands back to its original size as it now has the space to do that. We’ll know in the morning xray what the progress is and also how much air and fluid gets drained. She has taken a lot in the last few days and looks like things got a little worse. Maybe this is the low point and she’ll recover from here on.