I’m happy to report that I survived the bronchoscopy & the lavage – and I don’t think I’ll actually need years of therapy to move on from the experience! The psyche-out proved to be worse than the reality. And while the experience was not pleasant, neither was it the traumatizing torture I had anticipated.
This is in no small part attributable to Dr. Lungs’ incredible capacity to communicate with patients in a manner that is calming, informative, human and respectful all at once. The guy has a gift, I’m telling you. Imagine explaining to a patient that you are going to make them gargle something that tastes like crazy glue, fasten a muzzle-like contraption around their mouth, stick tubes down their throat, poke around in the lungs a bit and then wash them out with “about half a pop can’s worth” of saline – and instead of having the woman run screaming from the room, she becomes more confident, calmer, less anxious. Seriously. Even throughout my cross-examination he remained personable, and cool as a cucumber:
“Am I going to feel like I’m drowning?”
“But aren’t my lungs sort of designed to reject water?”
“Yes; you might cough a little, but you probably won’t feel it.”
“Am I going to gag on the tube thingy?”
“No, the freezing and the sedative will take care of that.”
“Can I please be heavily sedated?”
“We’ll make sure you are comfortable.”
“Can you make sure I’m a vegetable?”
“Don’t worry, we we’ll make sure you don’t feel any discomfort or anxiety during the procedure.”
“Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.”
Between him, the lovely nurses and the fabulous drug cocktail with which I was sedated (“We’re going to give you your martini now,” said the nice nurse), it was completely bearable. Because I was completely stoned.
I already had a cold and a cough going into it, and was told that might make the recovery slightly worse, but apart from post-procedure coughing I feel fine. I mean, I was doped up to the nines and had to sign a waiver saying I wouldn’t make any legal or financial decisions today (wait… is signing a waiver a legal decision?) so of course I slept deeply and magnificently all afternoon, and now I feel fine. Cough-cough-coughy and tired but fine.
And now that it’s all just a slightly blurry memory, we have nothing to do but wait to see what the good doctor was able to discover with his lung-spelunking activities. He assured me that it isn’t emphysema, and I’m still hanging on to his previous “99.9%” assurance that it isn’t lung cancer, so I can at least stop obsessing about those two horrors and focus on hoping for good news.