This time it wasn’t even in the same ballpark pain-wise or scare-wise than last time. I knew the procedure so well I was giving an admitting staffer pointers on how to speed me up. I developed a relatively minor and easily treatable complication called Atelectasis. Being vertical for several hours after being off for two days caused fluid to collect. The fluid affected the bottom of the lung impacting breathing and causing some weird sensations. Enough to make a little panicky and have to run to the ER. After checking it out they basically told me it was borderline, if I could increase my lung capacity no need to drain it and I could follow-up as needed as an outpatient. So I spent my Sunday afternoon on hard core painkillers working with a device called a spirometer, lo and behold after much effort and no small amount of discomfort I managed to exceed the mark.
The doc said one scary thing: ‘In a patient like you this is easily treated when caught early. For an elderly patient it can turn touch and go real quick; they can easily die from it.”
What sucks is after all that sacrifice and pain I endured to stay under the first threshold of my employer’s attendance policy, a few hours in the ER for a potentially serious condition will put me well over.