Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Whew, what a week!
Last Wednesday my 19 year old son, Levi, called me complaining of a heaviness in his chest and difficulty breathing. I assumed it was a "stitch" and that it would soon pass, but I called my husband nonetheless and asked him to leave work to go check on him. He seemed to be alright - his color was good and pulse was normal, he was just not breathing well.  My daughter, who is an RN, had been away for 2 weeks and was just finishing her first day back at work, and she, also, went to see Levi. When she listened to his breathing, everything sounded normal on his left side, but on the right side she noticed that the lung sounds were absent.  While in nursing school she remembered two cases of lung problems with young, tall, slim men, and she made the decision to take her brother to the ER.
Initially, his condition wasn't taken very seriously at the hospital. He was assessed on a score of 1 to 5, 1 being dead, and 5 indicative of,  "There's nothing wrong with you - go home," Levi was gauged a 4. As he was waiting to bee seen by a doctor, the woman ahead of him was called in and she said to the nurse, " I'm only here for my foot - this boy can't breathe. Shouldn't he go in before me?" The attending flippantly replied, "He's been assessed and we're taking care of our patients in order of necessity. It's your turn to be seen now."
I'm sure the trauma nurses had no idea how serious my son's condition was. It became apparent that they began to take him seriously once the X-ray was read.  Immediately the demeanor of the staff changed entirely, and Levi was rushed into an available bed - STAT - and prepared for the insertion of a chest tube. His right lung had completely collapsed! Suddenly his assessment level rose from a 4 to a 2!

 We've since learned that my son's condition is called Collapsed Lung or Spontaneous Pneumothorax. Though this occurs more often due to car accidents, gunshot and stabbing wounds and lung diseases such as emphysema or severe asthma, what triggered the collapse of Levi's lung without any history of smoking or lung disease, were things called blebs - air filled sacs that look like blisters or bubbles, which develop on the lungs. It is typically found in tall, thin males between the ages of 20 and 40. When these blisters rupture it causes the lung to collapse.

A chest tube was inserted into his lung for reinflation.

I stayed with him Wed night until he was settled in his room and ready to sleep.

On Thursday I went riding and chose a route that was way too long!

 It was a hot day - not too humid with a nice breeze, but Lucy began stopping randomly along the road and seemed to be breathing hard so we gave her time to rest. She has never done that before so it was a little unnerving. Many years ago I watched a horse die of heat exhaustion and it's something I've never forgotten.  The ride ended up being 4 hours long and I still had work to do! I needed to clean and prepare for company. Long time friends were stopping by on their way to south Florida to spend a day with us. They arrived that evening.

Friday morning I was up at 4 to milk and get the chores done so we could have some fun. After breakfast we started the day picking blueberries and then loaded two canoes for a trip down river to the springs

                                                and rope swings.

After a few hours we went back to the farm to change and drive into town for a bite to eat and to watch the sunset on the beach,

unaware that Tropical Storm Debby was brewing in the gulf.

From the beach we went to the house in town to shower and change before stopping in to visit Levi in the hospital.  While at the house I happened to go into the garage and saw that the hot water heater was leaking all over the floor - something that would have to wait until tomorrow.  Levi was doing well and our guests were able to visit a little while before we drove back to the farm and called it a day!  We said our goodbyes to our friends before bed - we had to be in town early the next morning and they would be on their way to Tampa shortly thereafter. Such a nice visit, though way too short!

Saturday morning we were up and out of the house by 6:00. Joel was packed and ready for Ranger Camp. We met the rest of campers at the Scout hut. They'll be gone to Georgia camping, hiking, rock climbing and rappelling for a week.

After sending the scouts on their way I had Bob drop me at the hospital while he replaced the hot water tank. Sometimes minor inconveniences happen for a reason. Our original plan for the day, after dropping Joel off in town, was to make two hay runs: one for the goats and another for the horses.  Had the hot water tank not sprung a leak I would not have been at the hospital when the decision was made to take Levi in for surgery, do a Bronchoscopy (send a scope into his lungs), staple blebs and repair the hole in his lung that they had hoped would close on its own, which is what they did.

Bob did the home repairs, came and listened to the surgeon explain the procedure and then left to make a hay run so I could stay with our son. Tropical Storm Debby was building so Bob was dodging rain storms along the way (which is typical whenever we go for hay anyway). By the time he returned it was late, surgery was long over and Levi was just beginning to come out of the anesthesia. Poor kid - he really hates the drugged feeling! AND the oxygen tubes under his nose!

Tropical Storm Debby hit Sunday morning. Bob had to work and I raced the storm to get a roll of hay for the horses.  I love rain and enjoyed two days of dark, dreary weather. We got 4 inches on the farm which was much needed.

Tuesday (yesterday) I drove to town, Levi's chest tube was removed, an x ray was taken and he was discharged by noon. Oh happy day! He's home resting comfortably now and I'm back at the farm playing catch up.

This has been quite a week! Never a dull moment!
I'm just thankful that God is in control of ALL of them!

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