I headed down to Georgetown University Hospital today to add another doctor to the growing Rolodex. I met with Dr. Ajeet Vinayak who is a pulmonary physician. He’s also friends with Dr. Pishvaian. They’ve known each other since high school having attended Churchill together. A school in the same county as my own. Given Dr. P.’s comment last week about how hard it is to get in to see a pulmonologist it’s sure nice he has one as a friend, who’s also at the same hospital. Praise God, another win for me!
I went in thinking we were just meeting for a consult but oh nooo. He came into the exam room wheeling in a sonogram to take a look at my lung and determine if he could drain it right then and there. He went through the procedure in great detail (I’d already read all about it) trying to make me as comfortable as possible while also pointing out a few of the risks. The biggest concern he had was what he called “trapped lung“, which would be the lung not expanding back out because the lining around the lung itself has become inflamed. Examining me with the sonogram he pointed out the amount of fluid he was seeing and estimated there was at least a liter to drain out.
He had me sit on the exam table with my back to him and then layed out a pre-packaged thoracentesis tray. I could hear him pull back the sealed paper cover and then said, “You may not want to look over your left shoulder to see what I’m going to be using on you.”
Well yeah right doc. As soon as you say that you know I’m looking right at it.
I’m sure it was the foot long needle he didn’t want me to see – but duh – I’d already watched a YouTube video showing the procedure. And honestly with Dr. Vinayak doing it, it wasn’t a big deal. He took a good 10-15 minutes slowly working lidocaine into the insertion point. Except for a momentary pinch when the needle first went in the rest of it felt like he was just pushing on my back with his finger. Never really even felt the big needle go in. Draining it all was a bit of an odd sensation but I can’t really describe it. I can just say I felt something going on.
Attaching a 60cc syringe to the catheter line he sucked the whole thing full and then showed it to me. He said normally it should have a very light wheat color but mine was much darker. He commented it didn’t look great but he’s seen much worse. I asked him if that was it – as in – are we done? With a little chuckle he said no that was just for him to fill up 3 test tube vials. Then he proceeded to hook up a 3 way valve and a 1.5 liter collection bag. The valve allowed him to pull fluid into the syringe and then push it into the bag. Well it didn’t take anything for him to get to the 1 liter mark and as I told him I wasn’t feeling any discomfort he went back to slowly draining more out. Every 60cc he’d ask how I was doing. When we got the bag filled I asked if he had to get another and he said no it can expand like a balloon. At just a little over 2 liters he decided he didn’t want to pop the balloon.
As he was getting ready to pull the tube out I asked him to take the picture of me. He then said, “Want to take a picture of the needle too?” Heck yeah. What a cool doctor!
I have to follow up with him to see if the lung fills up again. There’s a good chance it might and we’ll figure out how to best manage things if it does. He wants to see me in 4-6 weeks which I told him works well with the CT Scan I should be having June 9. All in all a great doctor and an incredibly down to earth guy. For those of you who may be inclined to pray for me, I’d ask an additional prayer for Dr. Vinayak. He and his wife are in the process of adopting a little girl from within D.C. Love the conversations I have with the folk at Georgetown.
I’m doing well and hopefully tomorrow dog walk will be far less taxing.
OH big PS: I broke out in a rash today all over my torso. Guess what happens to be a possible side effect of pembro (Keytruda)? (Sigh) Taking a dose of Benadryl and calling it a day.