Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Problem With Lung Plugs

Yes, I am talking about plugs again. Seems to be the theme of my life at the moment!

So I forgot to mention something the doctor told me that you may find useful to know (or not). I was telling him about my painful spot and that I hacked out a big, fat, juicy plug that I believed to be the sneaky culprit of my pain. He said that it very well may have been the plug that I was whining about. He wasn't as super excited stoked about my plug as I was, but maybe you have to have CF in order to get excited over those types of things. I was still sitting there super proud of myself feeling like I was his best and favorite CF patient for single handedly coughing up a monster plug when he told me some sad news.

He told me the problem with plugs is (I knew at this point I was not going to be grinning ear to ear for long) they cause problems even when they are no longer in the lung. Well, damn I am definitely not smiling anymore. He explained it like this (he is a very good explainer so I hope I can make as much sense as he did) a plug is the build up of mucus in your lungs and it can get hard and very, well, stuck! Unfortunately, this can cause the airway to get stretched out because it needs to accommodate this fat unwelcomed guest. So when a patient so miraculously (I added that little detail, but I could tell he wanted to say it) coughs out a very large and bothersome plug its damage to the airway is still present. It creates some nooks and crannies if you will. And anyone who has ever eaten an english muffin knows that things (like butter or mucus) will pool in those nooks and crannies. I have never liked English muffins and now I think I know why. So even when the plug is gone that airway is MUCH more susceptible to replugging.

So now I am feeling less thrilled about that plug and even slightly regretful for taking the picture of it (well, maybe not because it was pretty crazy to look at) and a little more stressed out about my little stretched out airway. He told me to think about that as a spot I have to give extra attention. I should also call him if it becomes extra painful again and maybe I will needs orals again. So needless to say the problem with plugs is they are the gift that keeps on giving...or something like that!

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