Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pulled intercostal

I've been sick for about a week with a runny nose, sore throat, and cough. If it wasn't another disease, I'd say I had a whooping cough. My cough was so bad, that my professor told me not to come back to the hospital until it was gone (this was after I thought I was getting better). Then, two nights ago, I awoke in a coughing fit and in the midst of it, I felt something pop in my chest wall and then had THE WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE. My first thoughts were that I either had a pneumothorax or a pulmonary embolus. I woke Tyler up (this is probably about 3:30 am) and told him that I was dying and that we needed to go to the emergency room. Always the sensible one, he pointed out that if we were to go to the ER, we'd have to wake up the baby. He said to take some ibuprofen and see if I was still dying in the morning. I laid there with the WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE and talked myself out of the above maladies and decided I had pulled a muscle of inspiration (the left side of the above diagram).

Turns out, Claire did this a while back so she can sympathize. I just wish she hadn't told me it still hurt her after 8 weeks. The pain has downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm, but it still hurts a lot, especially if I yawn or hiccup, or walk up the stairs to our apartment.

I also have thought of all those COPD, CABG, and pneumonia patients that I've been torturing in the hospital. As people sit in hospital beds and do a lot of nothing, their lungs can fill up with fluid. To guard against this, we make them cough. Sure, we medicate them for pain, but they still complain a lot... and I'm totally Nurse Ratchet and say, "I know it hurts but you have to do it." And if they are little sissy coughs, I make them do it again. So, to all of my patients, I'm really sorry. (But you still have to cough).


Henderson Happenings said...

i feel pretty good about your self dx. it doesn't sound like a pe to me (you really don't fit vichow's triad, check your homan's sign) glad you made it through the night.

Anonymous said...


Myriah said...

The thing is... if you are feeling crappy, you should GO to the hospital. Not stay away.

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