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Air Travel and Hemoptysis

Photo credit: Mike Monteiro

My good friend (and also quite a bit older, so YAY for survivability) @UnknownCystic just wrote about his difficulties and fears of flying because of his history of hemoptysis. I wrote some about my hemoptysis a while back here and here, but there is more, and his post brought the memories rushing back. Please share your memories in the comments or on your own site, linking us all together¬† – I’ll add your post at the end of this if you let me know there is another story in our circle.

The wedding

My oldest traveling horror story goes back to when I was 22. My best friend through high school and college was getting married in Michigan (I know, a bad place to be in the first place, but I digress). I had other issues at the time, so I got a room separate from the block of rooms for the party, so I was already feeling like the outcast of the wedding party, but I dealt with it just the same as I always did back then: denial.

After a full weekend of dinners, festivities, and a wonderful wedding and reception, I went back to the hotel with everyone else so I could change out of my tux to have them return it to the rental place for me, as I was heading out very early in the morning. I was in the groomsmen’s bathroom with everyone, literally everyone else in the wedding party, in the room regaling and having a generally fantastic time, unlike me. I got into my hemoptysis coughing fit while I was still trying to take off my tux’s white shirt. Horror of horrors! I’ve successfully repressed any memories of getting any on the shirt, but I would not be surprised if I did. I was in there for at least 10 minutes, probably longer, while the others were waiting to change.

We all know how sound doesn’t stop at a hotel bathroom door, don’t we? They thought I was dying in there, but as long as I kept coughing, no one knocked to check on me. I eventually came out – beet red. I’d soiled 2 hotel wash clothes and tossed them and tried to wash the sink as well as I could while I was shaking from both fear and embarrassment.

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Hemoptysis: Bleeding Lungs

BloodIf any friends or family members don’t want to think about me bleeding from my lungs or what my cough is like from my perspective, come back for my next post… this one might be disturbing to you, but if you can stand it, it will give you a lot of insight into my past and present.

Still here? Good!

Hemoptysis is one of the words CFers hate. I’d rather be called a cuss word than a “hemoptysizer.” /shudder! It’s when your lung springs a vascular leak either due to an infection or when gunk that was previously in one spot eating away at your lining gets removed either from exercise or medication. It’s an indication of one of three things that I’m aware of as a non-pulmonologist with 12 years of medical training:

  • that something got dislodged over an infected site and you’re on the mend
  • that you have an infection that needs to be hit with meds
  • that you have an underlying pulmonary/vascular weak spot that needs to be plugged

My history of hemoptysis

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