Good afternoon, everyone!
I have not been around for about a year, I think, after been smacked on the wrist for two posts. I still disagree with the moderator but I've recently had five valves implanted in my right lung, lower part, to see if it improves my breathing - or improves the use that my lungs make of the air I breath in - so thought some may be interested. The theory is that those parts of the lungs where the lungs' alviolae (think buds on a bush about to flower - they extract/absorb the oxygen in the air you breath) are not working for some reason. Unused air can get trapped in those lung parts, so you can get that hyperventilated feeling, without getting sufficient oxygen into your bloodstream. Panic. The valves seal off those non-working parts, but if any air does leak in, it can escape via the one-way valves.
I caught the end of a TV program a couple of years ago which showed a guy had had coils implanted in his upper lung(s) doing the same thing, and had been able to increase his walking distance from 5 to a 100 metres. This was exactly what I wanted to do, so my search started from there. After many hiccups, I was finally accepted on a medical trial to test the efficacy of valve implants (coils are only inserted in the upper lung lobes). Completely fairly, after final acceptance as a subject on the trial, the envelope chosen by computer for me showed I was to be on the control group - to be monitored against those who had implants - for a period of 6 months, so the experts could gather relevant statistics to measure against those who'd had the op. This consisted of the same respiratory checks that we regularly get under the NHS plus a few more relevant ones. No hospital stay. After six months, the control group subjects also receive implants.
Finally, feeling fitter than I'd felt for a number of years (I'd taken up home exercising) I had the final checks and then the bronchoscopy, during which the implants were inserted. So, no war-story scars, and out of hospital one week later! The hospital week was for all to check that there were no adverse effects, and to be in the right place if there were. I drove to Devon for a weekend BBQ with my old rugby team and back to the Isle of Wight on the Monday.
About 2 weeks later, I had the worse case of man flu imaginable. As I don't readily catch colds, coughs, flu or anything else the Boss catches, it was quite remarkable. I didn't have any previous experience of this kind of thing against which I could compare, so I put up with it for three days, then emailed one of the doctors on the implant team. He advised me to see my GP for antibiotics to clear up any infection I might have caught. Two days later, an emergency appointment had me sitting in front of my GP, who agreed that I wasn't looking too good - oxygen was down to 65% just walking from the waiting room thru to her office - so she gave me a scrip for antibiotics but, more importantly, another to get x-rayed. I went to the main hospital on the island the next morning, feeling no better after the first few antibiotics, and saw two of the respiratory nurses. They checked my oxygen again and were not well-pleased. A quick x-ray showed that I had severe pneumonia, and the head nurse phoned around and got me checked into a stand-by bed, before shifting to the hospital pulmonary ward the next morning! A week later, I was cured, out and home, with a continuation of anti-Bs for 4 days.
I was still a bit weak, so could only do very light exercises. After a couple of weeks, I felt just OK, not good, but mobile for short distances. I let it go, because my GP is busy enough, plus I was due at the lung trial hospital on the following week, and thought I could get the doctors' expert opinions, and maybe they could check if it was a possible outcome of the operation. They, too, checked my oxygen levels and x-ray, then checked me in with pneumonia, again!
A week later, after penicillin three times a day, coupled with anti-stomach bug meds and nebuliser, etc., I was cured and home with a week's course of anti-Bs. They are now finished and exercising is in full swing. I'm not at the level that I was in July, pre-op, but feel a bit better with the passing days. In about three weeks, I go back to the London hospital for some different voluntary tests (measuring one's small airways to see if they enlarge or change, adapting to the lung volume being smaller) but will also be checked with x-ray and bronchoscopy to see that there is no adverse effect from the five implants. Hopefully, by then, I will be as fit as I was back in July, (fitter, even!) and able to show some good effects from the op. It's been quite a roller-coaster
I was going to apologise for being so long-winded, but didn't really didn't choose my words carefully enough. So, sorry for banging on at such great length !!