30 minutes later, I was sitting in an exam room at my PCP's clinic. The walls were covered with children's drawings and coloring book pages. A far cry from the surgeon's office. She came in and expressed sincere concern, asking me to explain things from the beginning. After hearing my version of the story, she proceeded to listen to my breath sounds. She could hear and feel the click at my chest tube site! It wasn't in my head! She asked to look at my incisions. She was baffled that they hadn't healed yet and equally baffled that no one bothered to look at them during my surgical follow-up on Wednesday. Having never received a call from the surgeon's office regarding my last X-ray, she read me the radiology report: Small apical pneumothorax present. Wow. Call me crazy, but it seems like that would be pertinent information to have, especially considering how terrible I had been feeling. She said she would be calling my surgeon that afternoon and encouraged me to do the same (because doctors and patients often get different stories). Her biggest concern was making sure I was comfortable and not in an unnecessary amount of pain so that my body could properly heal itself. I was prescribed an additional month's worth of Oxy as well as Gabapentin, a prescription specifically meant to target nerve pain/damage, in case that really was the source of a lot of my pain. I left the office feeling validated and reassured. On the way home, my physician friend explained that that's what PCP's are for: to act as the middle man and make sure that all the specialists are doing their job so that the patient gets the best care. I received a phone call soon after I got home telling me that my PCP spoke to a nurse who said persistent, significant pain is normal for 6-8 weeks following VATS, and that it's not completely uncommon to have a pnuemo following surgery, but that maybe I should get a follow-up X-ray the following week. I was again encouraged to call for myself, which I did first thing Monday morning.
That evening, Tyler was taking the kids camping and my parents had offered to watch me in his absence. My mom picked me up on her way home from work and took me to the pharmacy to fill my new prescriptions. She grabbed takeout for dinner, we ate, and by 7:00 pm, she commented how exhausted I looked. I was sent to bed and had an unusually restful sleep, only waking up once for a pain pill. It's amazing how our physical health can be affected by our psychological health. I couldn't be more grateful for my good friend who took action and my doctor who so swiftly saw to my needs.