Last November I went into the hospital for my first bronchoscopy ever. We had found that part of one lung had collapsed, and my doctor hoped that they could flush out the mucus plug with water. They also tried putting a stint in (like the ones used for arteries) to keep the airway open. My experience was pretty awful, although I wouldn't tell anyone else not to do it. All kinds of things can affect the success of a bronchoscopy. The thing I wanted to warn you all about is the fevers that come after a bronchoscopy. Because they are putting a scope down your windpipe into your lungs, your body will react by initiating a fever to kill off any bacteria that might have gotten into your lungs during the procedure. And let me tell you, that is one wicked fever. Since the first bronchoscopy was unsuccessful (I started involuntarily coughing during the procedure and they had to bail out), I had to have a second one ten days later. So having had two similar experiences, here's what I'll tell you. In both cases, the fever hit about 45 minutes after I got back from surgery to my room. One minute I was fine, and the next I was shivering uncontrollably and afraid I was going to die. Unfortunately, the staff at my hospital were not prepared for my fever, despite the fact that it is very common side effect after that procedure. Literally, a cup of hot water to drink (to warm my core) would have done wonders. A couple of Tylenol (or any other fever reducer) would have done wonders. But they didn't do either. They piled blankets on me and let me suffer terribly for about an hour and a half. Finally, when it was subsiding a little, I had the presence of mind to ASK FOR the Tylenol, which helped a lot. Why didn't the nurses and doctors on the floor where CF patients are regular visitors know that I would need hot water and Tylenol after a bronchoscopy?????!!! All the regular pulmonary doctors came in my room and stood around while I lay suffering under a pile of blankets, but did NOTHING for me. Seriously, don't doctors know to give a patient a fever reducer when a patient has a fever??!!! When my regular CF doctor encouraged me to confront the Pulmonary doctors for doing nothing to help me, they just shrugged it off and said it was the nurses' job.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you're going to have a bronchoscopy, tell your nurse to get approval AHEAD OF TIME to give you Tylenol when you get back from the procedure. Also, have the nurse be ready to give you warm/hot water to drink. And most hospital floors have a blanket warmer. So have them get a few blankets in the warmer when you get back so that when the fever hits, you will be ready. You don't have to be miserable.