“How are you feeling?” is a common question asked to me and much more so when I’m actively sick (if you know what I mean). Let me take a moment to answer that for you now.
Let me back up and start with Monday, considering part of how I’m feeling begins with how Monday started. I woke of up with a sharp stabbing pain in my front right side of my chest/lung. Waking up that way is never fun. It always seems to come out of nowhere when it happens. There are a few things the sharp stabbing pain can be.
- A pulled muscle from coughing so much. Unfortunately, I can’t stop coughing so it can heal so I have to push through and endure it while attempting to manage the pain enough to productively cough.
- A fractured (hairline/crack) in the rib, once again from coughing so much. Yes, that is possible and it has happened to me and it hurts.
- Pleurisy. Which is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining surrounding the lungs. The inflamed pleural layers rub against each other every time the lungs expand to breathe in air. This can cause sharp pain when breathing, also called pleuritic chest pain. It hurts so bad and there isn’t much that you can do for it except attempt to control the pain. It’s not like you can take a break from breathing.
- Pneumothorax/Collapsed Lung.
- Pneumonia or Infection.
The pain got really bad. It was bad enough that I ended up in tears a few times when pain meds weren’t touching it at all! It is hard to not cough and make the pain worse when you are crying/sobbing from the pain. Ugh.
Thursday I emailed my CF nurse about the pain and to let her know I was needing the pain medicine more often than it was prescribed for upon my release from the hospital so that she knew. I received a call from her on Friday morning that the doctor wanted me to get a chest X-ray to rule out a collapsed lung. Off I went to the hospital for the X-ray and to await the results. Verdict: No collapsed lung or blaring rib fractures. With those results I can narrow the cause of the pain to pretty much one thing…a pulled muscle. I can pint point and push on the spot where the pain is which usually means it is NOT just an infection. For me pleurisy usually can’t be pin pointed like that but that’s not to say it isn’t pleurisy. Unfortunately both a pulled muscle and pleurisy don’t show up on an X-ray. Only a pleural effusion will show up which is excess fluid that accumulates in the pleural cavity, the fluid-filled space that surrounds the lungs. Here is your medical terminology for “fluid” lesson…
- Hydrothorax (serous fluid)
- Hemothorax (blood)
- Urinothorax (urine)
- Chylothorax (chyle)
- Prothorax (pus)
- Pneumothorax (air)
With all of that said….I’m deeming this horrendously sharp and annoying pain as a pulled muscle. I am taking my pain meds in the hopes that I can function everyday and cough the way I need to in order to get the junk out.
The pain has become more tolerable the last 2 days and by tolerable I mean it has dulled slightly and I can endure more tasks without wincing in pain. I am taking pain meds and pushing myself along. My pain is defiantly better than it was on Monday but still has a ways to go before it is gone. *as I sit here having a coughing fit while holding my side* *Yeah, perfect timing on the coughing attack lungs, I get it, you suck and want to be heard*
Now that I have coughed up a lung and caught my breath, I can finish this blog post.
Right now we are hanging in there and take one day at a time. I’m not making any set plans because I don’t know how I will feel on any given day. I’m taking it very easy and trying to rest as much as possible. I NEED to get better and stay that way for awhile. Ok that was long enough, sorry.
Until next time…