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Thread: Chronic Atelectasis of lung

  1. #1

    Chronic Atelectasis of lung

    Dave had bronchitis in May and a follow up X-Ray last week.
    They were puzzled by the one in May because it was unchanged from an X-Ray 6 months ago.
    Today the nurse called to say it is "chronic atelectasis" and no follow up is needed. ("nothing to worry about, nothing to do")
    I am not an expert, but even I could see when they took the X-Ray one lower lobe did not appear while the upper and entire other lung did.
    He uses a vent at night along with cough assist, Vest percussion and nebulizer. Some days I suction often and others only a few times. He keeps his 02 up and seldom needs oxygen. I have a pulsox (sp) to check.
    Is this the same as a collapsed?
    The things I find online do not pertain to SCI. I think this is the same side that his diaphragm is weak.
    We don't have a pulmonary doc in our area that will see him.

    I left a message for a RT that has been especially helpful in the past.
    What are some questions I should ask?

  2. #2
    If this is the side that his diaphragm is weaker, it makes sense. The diaphragm is not helping that lung to fully expand. It may be something that he has to live with in that he may have more problems on that side of his chest.

    It seems as though you are doing all of the right things. How often are you doing them? You might want to ask the RT if y ou should be increasing the amount you are doing until you get this cleared up.

    A few questions- how much is he drinking? At least 2 liters or more a day. How often are you turning him at night? Is he getting out of bed? Moving around? What are his vent settings? How long eachndaynis he on it? You might need to increase his volume or the amount of time he is on it.


  3. #3
    Thanks CFK, He is on a full liter volume on the vent usually at least 10 hours, more if he feels he needs a rest.
    He is up at least 12 hours a day doing weight shifts in his chair. We do the Vest chest percussions 15 mn twice a day, but did them several times a day between the X-Ray in May and last week to see if it made a difference. Nebs 4 times and the others as needed.
    Does drinking more fluid affect the lungs this way? I try to keep him drinking.
    I only turn him once because he outweighs me by 100 pounds-on the nights we have an aide twice.
    He sleeps on a geo matt and has been fortunate to have no skin issues.
    I feel like it is a constant battle and I'm flying by the seat of my pants.

  4. #4
    Oh Linda, I don't have any words of wisdom but wanted to offer my support. It sounds like a frustrating situation on top of regular frustrations. Hang in there, lady!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RyansWife View Post
    Oh Linda, I don't have any words of wisdom but wanted to offer my support. It sounds like a frustrating situation on top of regular frustrations. Hang in there, lady!
    Thanks sweetie.

  6. #6
    Fluids will help a little in that they help to mobilize the secretions. I would also encourage you to use the chest vest more often. It can take quite awhile to get that lung cleared out. If you can possibly turn him more frequently, that should also help, but don't kill yourself on that. It will not make or break him.

    See what the RT can add - you are doing a good job, but you are only one person. You must be getting exhausted.


  7. #7
    Yes, I am getting exhausted to be honest. It is like a constant battle.
    The head RT that has seen Dave from day 1-Oct 8th 08 is wonderful. They and a couple of great nurses we got to know well really got behind us to convince the docs we could do it at home after 2 month hospital stay for pneumonia summer of 09 resulting in need for trachea, vent etc.. The RTs are our heroes.
    He called me this morning and also suggested using the Vest more often.
    He looked at the X-Rays and explained things more clearly.
    Life would be so much simpler with put all of the respiratory trouble.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    last house on the left
    Aww Linda, so sorry that you are having to deal with still another respiratory issue with Dave. I know you always do your best by him, but make sure you take care of yourself too!

  9. #9
    While the situations with Dave's lung or your battle-fatigue aren't funny, Linda, there's no more perfect commentary to describe the situation than the sage observation of SNL character Roseanne Roseannadanna's grandmother, Nana Roseannadanna:

    "It's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another. One day, you're doing battle with your butt and the next your lung won't expand!"

    I'm really sorry some more garbage in the form of another respiratory issue has rolled down hill and landed squarely on you and Dave. No one except those of us who live it can come close to understanding that we're constantly at war, fighting battles on multiple fronts, and suffering from a severe case of burnout.

    You guys are always in my thoughts. If only I could send you some respite time that you could use to recharge your batteries and renew your spirits!
    It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

    ~Julius Caesar

  10. #10
    Thanks hipcrip. I had one of those talking Rosanne Rosannadanna (sp?) cards and would just make me laugh listening to it.
    I finally sent it to someone that needed the laugh worse than me, but I'm ready to get it back.
    Yes, it is always something!

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