I went for my first bronchoscopy this morning. Apparently these invasions will be a regular part of my health regime – bimonthly for the first year, tri-monthly during the second year, then as directed, such as when illness occurs. It’s the primary means of collecting information on the status of the donor lungs and is thusly a very necessary evil. The upshot is that the lungs are accessible through existing bodily channels, unlike say, a liver or a kidney; collecting tissue samples for biopsy is quicker and far cleaner.

I only had a cursory knowledge of what a bronchoscopy entails, so I was hesitant. Anything that goes down my windpipe had damned well better be or digestible, that’s my motto. The whole process, barring complication, takes little more than twenty minutes. I was administered a dose of a sedative known as Versed, which is known to induce fugues. Throughout the process, I’m told, I was never comatose, I just have no memory of what happened after they told me the Versed was going in. They could’ve stripped naked and danced to “Love Shack” for fifteen minutes, for all I know.

What did happen was that they went in there with their little endoscopic cameras and whatnot, found a few scenic photo opportunities, swung by the gift shop with a tiny pair of retractable claws and collected a souvenir tissue sample, then backed the Volkswagen up and out of the gorge. Easy peasy, and the kids sure are excited about returning sometime in January. It’s said that the lower bronchiole are pretty that time of year.

It wasn’t so bad – left me with a scratchy throat all morning and afternoon – but I kinda do wish they weren’t contractually obligated to explain to me every single, possible thing that could go wrong and send me to the ICU. “Everything will be just fine unless we inadvertantly pop your lung like a carnival balloon dart game.” isn’t the most reassuring message one can receive.

Pending the results of today’s bronchoscopy, I should be released from the hospital pretty soon. It takes a couple days for the biopsy results to come back, and those will largely determine the schedule ahead. All other factors are progressing well. All but two of the smallest drainage tubes have been removed; the incisions are healing well and no longer hurt in a couple places; my bodily functions are slowly reverting to normal. Disgestion and sleep are becoming easier, a sign that I’m finally getting accustomed to the medications.

Looking at the clock, I see that it is now six in the evening. I hadn’t realized the afternoon had progressed so quickly. Usually dinner arrives by 5:15 and breaks up a bit of the monotony. Unfortunately, this means that I’ve somehow been passed over, no meal delivered to me. This is a vexing signal. I was unable to eat breakfast, due to the bronchoscopy. When lunch arrived, it was a sort of “default” meal, the kind they have as extras on hand for unexpected new patients. It was served to my room with no silverware and no drink, and I had to wait fifty minutes for someone to bring me these so I could begin eating. I was mildly upset, knowing that I definitely filled out the little daily menu card that’s delivered each day. Upon realizing that, I realized that no menu card had been given to me today. Presumably the person came around while I was out of the room and didn’t feel it was their job to check back later. I could sorta overlook that because mistakes happen, but now, no dinner? What the hell is going on around here? I was just told that someone else got skipped over too. I don’t care if some intern has to get off their ass, drive several blocks over to Burger King and get me a freakin’ combo meal – I’m supposed to be eating!

And some members of my family wonder why I insist upon being so hardcore aggressive when it comes to monitoring my in-hospital care. If you don’t keep a tight rein on some things, they’ll take a mile of slack from you. These places charge an exorbitant amount of money for their services. I feel that I should at least get something worth paying for.