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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

The Blog about the Bleb

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        A week ago, I didn't know a "bleb" from a blob.       Now, I speak it, fluently.


        By now regular readers know about my son, Matt and his freshly collapsed lung which forced him to undergo surgery late Wednesday morning.      I'm happy to report that the four hour procedure was a success, and that my boy is recovering at an area hospital, hoping to be home in time to catch Sunday night's Academy Awards.


        Many thanks to the blog readers and Wisconsin's Morning News listeners who had a kind thought for us this past week--a special thank you to those who sent along e-mails to convey their best wishes or, in a few cases, their shared experiences with this unique lung abnormality.


        Matt's lung collapsed last week Friday during high school play practice--at the time we thought it was a muscle pull, since he was able to breathe okay with pain only when he made an occasional move.     We told him to suck some water to rehydrate, and to pop an Advil to take the edge off.        Matt went to work Saturday night and Sunday, but said the pain hadn't subsided.    My wife made an appointment Monday afternoon with the family doctor, and Matt was in the E-R that night, having a chest tube put in to re-inflate the lung.    A C-T scan revealed the presence of "blebs" atop both lungs--little blisters, if you will, that rupture without cause.    When they blow, the lung collapses.     Our surgeon says it looks as though Matt might've had a similar but less severe collapse years ago, judging by scar tissue she saw on the other lung.



      Surgery meant removal of the small, affected area atop each lung, plus associated procedures to make sure the lung, for want of another term, "stays up".    He's sore, as you might expect, with chest tubes and the associated situations that arise from having an operation.       Research shows there are some nine thousand cases of "spontaneous pneumothorax" in the U-S each year, most in tall, thin men between the ages of 20 and 40.     My son is tall (just under six feet) and thin, albeit a bit young (17).    Surgery means he shouldn't have to worry about this again the rest of his life, but rest assured we'll be a bit more proactive the next time he tells us he's hurting.


       I've heard from at least two people who've had similar experiences with their sons--both boys able to resume healthy, athletic lives after surgery.     I thank them once again for sharing, as misery truly enjoys company and ignorance appreciates enlightenment.  


       My apologies to regular readers, wondering where the hell the fresh stuff has been on this blog--I'd much rather be writing about what's been happening on the outside, rather than spending nights on a hospital couch aggravating my sciatica, but this what you do when you're a parent.        I head back tonight, in fact, and hope to finally have the guts to ask a nurse to show me how it folds into a bed (it CAN be done--the parents of Matt's roommate figured it out on their first night).        Such things give parents and children unique chances to bond, and give us all a new appreciation of each other.       At a time of the year when we speak of cabin fever and winter boredom, believe me folks, it's a lot more comfortable in that rut you're in.    I look forward to climbing back into mine soon, with a bleb-free, deep-breathing son.


       Thanks to you all.



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