Sunday, September 16, 2012

As The Ribs Crack

Wednesday, I found out I had cracked a couple of ribs during a fall. Yesterday, I found out that they can, start hurting more and more as each day goes by, then suddenly go from hurting pretty friggin bad, to howl inducing, leg crumpling, fall to the floor excruciating pain in the wink of an eye.  

A trip to the emergency room and a new set of pictures revealed that not only were my ribs fractured but that my pleura (a double membrane surrounds the lungs and separates them from the chest wall) had overly filled with fluid by way of Pleural Effusion, or so they told me. Let me just say it was friggin painful. I actually did everything I mentioned above from howling to have my legs crumple, to hitting the floor in pain that went from fairly bad to excruciating in a wink. The excruciating pain and howling lasted a minute or two. Then it was just terrible pain and me being able to get up but remain sort of bent in pain. Then a quick replay of it all. 
All that as my wife watched rather unconcerned by it all. She eventually drove me to the ER and dropped me off. I was home, a few hours later, after having gotten a big shot of something in my rump that apparently helped ease the pain and made it bearable. The symptoms as described by the literature from the hospital are: shortness of breath, rapid breathing, cough or hiccups, sharp chest pain that hurts more with coughing or deep breathing. Well I only had one of the three symptoms and all I can say is thank goodness I did not start coughing or breathing deeply.
Today I heard some gurgling as I breathed. The gurgling subsided after a few minutes and while I heard it the pain did not increase - which was a good thing. I was a bit concerned but since the pain was manageable and steady, I figured I could wait until tomorrow to see my doctor for a follow-up. No more trips to the ER today. ,So far, today, the pain has remained tolerable thanks to the Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) and plain Oxycodone HCL that I have been taking, but that did little to nothing yesterday when my pleura apparently effused. Today though, was another story and I actually had an almost normal day. I was feeling good enough to get out a bit today and to do some things clean-up wise in my basement, to smoke a tenderloin and grill some steaks. What a difference a day (and a big shot full of magic juice in the ER) can make. 
Then there is the coughing. I cough every now and then, like anyone else I suppose, during the course of a day. I have tried to avoid coughing, and phlegm clearing, but it has proven impossible. What a difference a small cough can make, even the smallest cough fills my chest with hammer pounding pain even if only for a moment. Nothing seems to have helped with that, not the Percocet, not the shot at the hospital, not the over the counter muscle relaxant I have also been taking, not the cough medicine I have imbibed, and not all the time that I would think I should have been healing since I cracked my ribs on early Wednesday. I am hopeful the doc can give me more potent drugs tomorrow and that coughing will no longer be a painful by sometime fairly early tomorrow.
All the best,
Glenn B


Dan said...

Screw the pain -- I'm more concerned about the gurgling when you breathed. You yourself admitted that you've tried to avoid coughing and phlegm-clearing. If you don't cough that shit up, where do you think it goes? Glad you're going to the doc maƱana (today?) -- I'm sure he'll give your lungs a good listen.

Glenn B said...

Thakkfully the gurgling seems to have been an anomaly. Only happened once.

As I said, avoiding coughing was impossible, I brought up the phlegm almost as usual just with a lot of pain. Have had to cough some up a few times each day ever since the radiation therapy last year. It is not from the lungs, it is from the throat but usually takes a cough or three to get it out.

As for the trip to the doc, she heard air flowing okay. I was doing some deep breathing exercises despite the pain, and drinking a lot of water, both of those things probably helped keep things clear in my lungs.

Thanks for the concern. I am feelng much better but still find it quite painful to cough or bend the wrong way.

All the best,