Friday 20 July 2018

An Ultra-Sound Guided Pleural Aspiration

A shapely turn of ankle? Looking more like
ankles and less like white pud'ns after 12.2 kg
of fluids drained out of me.
Medical Notes: (For those who weren't paying attention on that day in human biology class). On the big tough left hand side of the heart, at the top, a collecting chamber called the left auricle collects fully oxygenated blood coming back from the lungs. When it contracts, this blood is forced down into the bigger, meatier left ventricle, through the one-way mitral valve. The ventricle then contracts and whooshes this blood onward up the huge artery, the aorta (serious plumbing here, this one can be 2 cm+ diameter) through another non-return valve.

Another customer for the hospital?
In a healthy heart, this job of pushing all your blood up through the next one-way valve, leaves each chamber empty and with very little pressure, ready to fill again from up stream. My problem is that the prolapse on my mitral valve allows a small amount of blood to stay put in the chamber (or return to it) which means back pressure onto the lungs. It's this back-pressure, that forces the fluid out across the lung membranes into these pools and accumulations the doctors have been trying to clear. With good success, I should say - 12.2 kg so far.

The Help-X lasses cooked 'Madeleines'
Progress report: Today I am done with antibiotics, so no more infection. I am still being checked every day for electrolytes after the water-draining 'diuretics', and today I had to take a couple of big, 'Smartie' sized potassium pills. The physio comes every day and takes me a for a walk round the corridors, wired to a 'sats' (Oxygenation saturation) monitor, and has me doing exercises to keep me in condition - the stronger and fitter the better, apparently, if I am to go under the knife for this valve replacement surgery.

Potatoes 'dauphinoises' under construction,
Help-X style
Meanwhile, in the course of all these X-rays and the CT-scan, the main doc discovered some pools of fluid outside the lungs but inside the ribs, among the 'pleural' membranes, so he engaged a new doc, a 'Respiratory Specialist' onto the team  She needed a sample of this fluid for the labs, so I got new procedure, an Ultra-sound guided pleural aspiration. Basically a bigger needle stuck in between the ribs far enough to get its tip into the liquid that they could draw off 20 ml of the stuff. They watch their own progress on the ultra-sound.

Other than that, we just chug on enjoying the lovely hospitality, working hard to get well while patiently losing all this fluid and trying to get my breath back. It's working. I noticed today that I could blow my nose like a proper 'Care' - a good aul' ripping snort requiring plenty lung volume.

Elizabeth takes up the sourdough baton, and
'Reginald' gets a new home and well fed.
Back in Roscommon, I must say again how grateful and delighted I am at the current 'cover shift' on the farm, Mainly Elizabeth but also the 2 Help-X lasses, Emma and Flora. I am trying my hardest here not to be patronising, but I guess I had fallen into that trap a bit - they are MY livestock and I am the only person who'd look after them 'properly', so I'd better set Liz up with lists of detailed instructions and training etc. Of course they are just sheep, pigs and birds, and as long as you remember to give them all water and food and a safe home anyone can mind them. So the 'Woman of the House' took over back in June when I went crock, and everybody survived. I will quickly (and rather shamefully) confess, that I even wandered round after her and checked a couple of times, but each time there was fresh water in the pigs trough or feed in the feeders and I came away happy.

"The Bumbles", 4 Buff Orp chicks hatched
under these 2 hens, plus the dark chick snuck
in by Elizabeth.
By now, 4 weeks or so in and it has all settled down. When Elizabeth comes up on the visit she brings 'Farming News' and pictures - plenty of anecdotes just like I would do when it was my job. Who's hatched, who the fox has tried to snatch, when the Guinea fowl went to bed, which babies are thriving, which need help. We somehow had a dark chick hatch in the current, volcano-shaped goose nest (some brave chicken gone in there 21 days ago to drop one) which needed rescuing because the geese were never going to accept this one into their family. Luckily, we had a little group of new-hatch Buff-Orps under 2 hens in the Tígín. With a bit or effort and persistence, she managed to sneak this little dark baby into the family and now, 'The Bumbles' are out and about and away, possibly our last broody this season. She also, single handedly, moved all the sheep from East Field to the Orchard, where the herb layer was getting a bit tall to even be called grass (plantains, docks, silverweed, pine-apple mayweed, buttercup). This is good. They can graze that down for a week and we will be able to get the girls back on it with the mower and then we will be able to SEE these 4 tiny goslings trying to follow the Mums and Aunts through the long grass.

Finally, just another huge thank you to everyone who has sent me supportive messages and good will - friends, rels and family on Twitter, Facebook, by word of mouth through Elizabeth,from the village, by post from UK. You name it. I am feeling very supported and looked after. Thank you everyone.

1 comment:

Care Towers said...

Hi Matt - continued best wishes from Care Towers! Sound like good progress, but also that t he surgery is now a "given"... is that the case, or is there still a chance that a return to strength and well-being will get you to "live with it", like me? Fingers crossed, whatever - and I'm glad they're all looking after you so well!