when i turned 12 i started to surf with my uncle and sometimes with my mothers partner and his son. As soon as i started surfing i noticed that my chest got sore after a while and even started to bruise. I quickly came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with my chest and looked to my mother who is a nurse for help. She had no idea what was wrong so she took me to the General Practitioner in our area who got some X-Rays of my chest. My GP told me that this was a normal thing for some children and that i would grow out of it. Bullshit.
After another 2 years the thing only got bigger. This time i went to the GP registered to my father, he told me exactly what it is. I have Pectus Carinatum or it's common term Pigeon Chest (In before Seagull Chest). It is a deformity that involves one side of your chest growing faster and longer then the other and pushing it out on one side.
Pectus Carinatum is a common deformity that appears in children who had grand parents or great grand parents with Scoliosis. My Great Grandparents on my mothers side had Scoliosis. Now Pectus Carinatum is the not so common type of this deformity. Pectus Excavatum is the more common type and that is where the chest goes in. Pectus Excavatum is the more dangerous type because if it goes in to far it can stop the heart or lungs from working. Pectus Carinatum only effects things out side of you body and the lungs, it is not serious enough to cause lung problems only breathing difficulty when exercising.
My fathers GP organized for me to visit a specialist but then this happened: http://www.facepunch.com/threads/817806
That put me behind in things for about a half a year but i finally when to the specialist who turned out to be the Surgeon who did my testicular torsion (Mr Kirby... Such an awesome name). He told me about a method that has been introduced into Australia only a year ago. It involves a brace that pushes my sternum back into place. I had it made and i wore it for a week... i never wore it again. It was really bulky and could be seen under any shirt or jumper i wore. It also bruised me up really badly. I had a bruise on the front and back of me that was a good 10cm across (3 inch).
I went back to my surgeon and he told me that most kids gave up on it because of the same reason.
He told me that i could have the surgical option instead and that he would like to perform it because he had only ever done Pectus Excavatum operations. I said i would like the surgery and we agreed on a date.
The date came around (26th of June) and it was postponed. A kid had gone in to get a tumor removed, he needs it more then me. Another date (7th of july)... nope another operation for another kid.
Then i get a call, "Third of August."
The day came around and the night before i got very little sleep. I got up at 5am and my mother had left a note on the kitchen table. "Surgery postponed until 11am" Okay! I went back to bed and fell asleep until 10am.
We drove through Adelaide to get to the Women's and Children's Hospital. We had some good luck with parking and parked right across from the main entrance. We walked in and went to the third level when the Post Surgery waiting room was. I walked in and was met by an orderly who marked me off and then a Physio Therapist had a chat with me. She talked to me about the breathing difficulty i will go through after the operation for the first week or so and showed me a small device with 3 balls in it. I was to suck on a tube and depending on how many balls i could get up determined how much my lungs could expand.
I sat for a bit in the waiting room surrounded by small children and watched some Codename Kids Next door because it was the only thing on and i couldn't change it. A nurse came out after about 10 minutes and took my weight as well as waking me some questions about my health, drugs i was on, allergy's and other stuff. She sent me back to the waiting room and i watched some Scooby doo.
then out came my Anesthetist. She took me to a room and told me about some of the ways i was going to be put under and how i was to be kept out of pain after wards. I had two options. Either they would dope me up on painkillers or i could get a Epidermic Anesthetic.
And Epidermic Anesthetic involved putting a needle into the fluid around my spine and then injecting an anesthetic to block off the signals from a certain part of my body. There is a 1:100,000 chance i could get nerve damage but my mother told me that it is really good (she had one when i was born) so i agreed to that.
Then Mr Kirby burst through the door with 4 others guys and had a world to me about the options i had. He wanted to stick with the tried and true method of using a metal bar (nuss bar) to hold my ribs into place and then they will gradually over a 18 month period form that way. He then told me that if it fail he can just break my sternum, wire it up and let it heal. Not a pretty with the scar but it works just as well.
He put me on a table and pushed on my sternum a bit then decided he would do the Nuss bar option. I agreed because hes the Surgeon and has the better idea.
A nurse was waiting outside and took me down to a surgery waiting room. there was a small girl there too and she kept trying to climb on me. Her mother didn't seem to mind even if i did. Lucky i was called away first other wise i might have pushed her off me. I was given a net hat, gown and shoe socks... they broke when i tried to put them over my size 11 shoes so i had to take my shoes off and just have the socks over my feet.
I was taken to the operating theater and saw all the familiar face from when i was waiting. (just to point out right now while writing this i think the bar slipped a bit, might cause some complications later but i don't know because it is 11pm and the nurse is the only one here) They sat me on the table and wrapped my in blankets. A IV needle was put into my hand and they injected me with the anesthetic. Last thing i said was "Do i have to count... cool dreads" The male anesthetist had dreadlocks.
I woke up in the recovery room and the dreadlocks guy was there. They gave me a something and i woke right up. First thing i noticed was my chest being flat, secondly that i couldn't feel a thing between my 2nd and 8th ribs. just to sum up i had the nuss bar in my chest, to drainage pipes from the holes they threaded the bar through, a catheter in my urethra (not being able to control your bladder is really iterating), two IV needles in my hands, a needle in my spine and an oxygen tube in my nose... i got rid of that very quickly.
They then pushed me out to the PICU or Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and my mother and father walked in, we had a long chat, i did some exercises with the balls and deep breathing before i tried to get to sleep at about 9pmish... i got woken up every hour because of my Blood Pressure band inflating and little kids around me would keep crying. (i was in the PICU because i have the needle in my spine) at about 11ish i had some toast and then the night nurse put the blood pressure band to a 2 hour cycle instead of every hour.
At about 1am i woke up with pain in my chest. The Blood pressure thing had gone off and not woken me up surprisingly but the chest pain was mild bad. the nurse gave me a Boost of Anesthetic and the numb block in my chest came back. That was good. I did some exercises and then went back to sleep until 5am. When i woke up i had breakfast and then sat around talking to the nurse... i can't remember what we talked about though.
At 8am Mr Kirby came in and looked me over. the needle in my back had leaked, one of my IV needles had leaked and the drainage pipes had both leaked... no problem he said.
At 10 my father came in, he gave me some Chocolate bullets and we talked about that bomb scare that happened in Sydney. He left at 10:30 because of work and my grandfather came around at 11am.
He brought me a block of chocolate and a tub of strawberries. We talked about the Surgery that he only found out about on the 3rd and then about some news... things quietened down and then he left to go and visit my great aunt who lives in a home nearby. some doctors and Mr Kirby came back to look me over and he boated about his work a bit.
Nothing much happened from then on. I had lunch of a sandwich, custard and chicken soup, i got my laptop set up but alas... there was no internet in this part of the hospital. I played some Red Orchestra in practice mode and then at 4ish my mum and brother arrived. She came bearing gifts of my phone charger (phone went dead just after surgery), my internet USB stick and StarBurst lollies. We talked about news, my grandfather, the operation and the various instruments stationed around me. My brother got bored pretty quickly and then he and my mum left. I got a change of sheets (i wasn't allowed to get up off the bed to it was tricky) and the nurses sponge bathed me.
I then sat on my arse for a bit, through out the day the Physio Therapist had me do exercises and the anesthetist came round to look me over. I also got regular boosters of Anesthetic. I browsed the internet for a bit, talked to school friends had dinner of soup, cake, rolls and a burger. (very good hospital food)
Then i decided to write this out took me quite a bit but i hope to keep it updated as my hospital time goes on.
I have been told i will be in for 5-6 days depending on how well my recovery is.
It just ticked past midnight and i have terrible chest pain. There is a baby next to me with 2 nurses and a doctor around him/her, seems to be having breathing problems.
I am going to try get some sleep but no idea if i can.
As soon as i put my computer away last night after writing that last part i noticed that the numb block that was supposed to be around my sternum and Nuss bar had fallen down to my Celiac plexus (just below the sternum) and in my mind i could not feel half of my breathing. This put my straight into shock and i pressed the button to call the nurses who were off having a drink break. They both came back and i told them that the block had fallen and i was in pain. They right away said "We will give another 5 mill bolus" i though this over quickly and said no because i though that it would give me even more trouble breathing.... they didn't listen and put in the 5 mills, they then walked off to continue with there break. I was at this point taking deep sharp breaths because my brain still though that i was not breathing. it takes 4 minuets for the bolus to supply the 5 mills of extra anesthetic and after 3 minuets i went into deep shock and start having an anxiety attack. I franticly pushed the button before my breathing locked up.
The nurses came back and saw what was happening and the ward doctor and the anesthetist who was on station. The attack lasted maybe 20 minuets. The whole time i had trouble breathing and a lot of pain where the bar was. It took a good hour to get my breathing under control and i was given some extra painkillers to stop the pain, this time through my IV drip not my spine. I don't remember much but i fell asleep at some point.
I woke up at 4am and sat in bed till now watching TV and just thinking about stuff. The new nurse came in at 7 and it was the Dreadlocks guy, his name is Matt. I told him my side of the story about my Anxiety attack and he said he would report it higher up.
Well i have spent the whole day sleeping so far. They got me out of bed at around 0830 and i was able to stand up but because of fatigue it nearly collapsed, so i just went back to bed. My father came and gave me a Farmer Union Ice Coffee (Aussie drink for men) but i don't remember it.
The pain in my chest is clearing up around the muscle but i do not have any muscle near my sternum so it is quite painful there. They gave me panadol but not much has happened.
They plan to get the Surgical team down in the next hour to pull out my Drainage tubes. They have only drained 50mills in the last day so they are pretty much finished.
Today i had quite an experience once again. At about 2pm one of my friends walked into my room, didn't tell me he was coming by or anything so it was nice to see him. We talked for a bit about my operation, local news, shooting and a lazer skirmish thing i was going to go to on the weekend, well not anymore.
My mother dropped in when my friend was by and it was good to see her... her news was not so pleasant. I have been suspended from school for an unknown number of day (TBD) for slapping a girl. I told my mother my side of the story.
This girl was being stupid as usual and me and my friend were sitting on the ground. She started jumping around listening to music and then she dropped her phone/ipod. Me and my friend laughed because we told her to stop and she didn't thus her screen cracked. She then walks up to me and kicks my friend and me in the nuts... well she tried unsuccessfully. I told her "Do that again and i will hit you" so she decided to do it again. stood up and slapped her across the face.
At about 5 o'clock my mother and friend left, i hopped on my laptop and started browsing the internet. I was waiting for the surgical team to come and take out my drain tubes when the pain in my chest started to increase. I told Matt and he got the anesthetist. She took the Epidural tube from the machine and deduced it was blocked. After a saline flush it was fixed and i went back to computer games.
I didn't feel like my roast chicken for dinner so i didn't have anything.
At around 9pm shit hit the fan once more for me. The Epidermal Cath that was putting anesthetic into my spine stopped. It just stopped putting them in. Because it happened during a Booster and those leak sometimes we thought nothing of it, and after about 10 minuets i felt the numb block start to fail. Matt decided that the Epidermal had run it's course and ordered for a PCA unit. It arrived a good 10 minuets later and we got it installed very quickly. I gave the button a good push... maybe a good 10 pushes and after aothe painful 15 minuets the drugs and taken effect and i was good.
Now that i had a good supply of drugs i fell asleep.
At midnight i was woken up by the pain and now i am waiting for the drugs to do there magic before i go back to sleep.
I shall be off to sleep now.
Every time i drop off to sleep, even if it is only for 2 minuets i dream that i am lying in the hospital bed.
Because the sounds around my bed; talking, machine beeps and other stuff is the same my mind creates a dream that is almost the same as well.
The nurse just took my blood pressure and then 2 minuets later he did it again, i asked him why and he said he hadn't done it in 5 hours... freaky shit.
I also keep turning to find my computer has gone to be replaced by a blank table or food. Both are a dream.
I have also had Gemma Hill, Nick Gebert, Lar DeSouza and Jordan Girvan visit me... Gemma was the only person to have been recorded as visiting at the hospital.
My Facebook status.
Picture of Matt
Picture of my chest
UPDATE MARCH 26 2012
So it has been 8 months since I went into surgery. In that time I went on a Cadet camp, to Vietnam and Laos and have done plenty of exercise and other physical activity... two weeks ago the bar slipped when I was getting into bed and I went in to see the Surgeon today. He came to the conclusion that if the bar is not moved within this week it could cause more damage than good.
This means that I am going into surgery on Wednesday and depending on when my chest looks like on the inside I maybe have the bar removed completely or they may put in another bar that won't slip.
UPDATE: 29TH MARCH 2012
Sadly my operation did not go as planned. As I said before, I went back into surgery yesterday, and after they went in they decided that they would need to use a new bar with a new way of securing the bar to the ribs (using a rivet instead of wire wrapped around the rib), but after taking the bar out they noticed how much tissue had been damaged by the broken wire in the two weeks leading up to the operation, and after a good hour and a half of attempting to put a new bar in they had to abort so that they did not damage me any further. The old one was only inside of my chest for eight of the eighteen months it was supposed to be in for.
My chest is nearly as flat as it should be, but my surgeon doesn't know if it will stay that way because the bar was supposed to be in my chest as my bones set in place (something that happens at the end of puberty) and then removed making my rib cage ridged.
In the end, I am disappointing that the bar had to be removed, and that it can't be put in at a later stage because the scar tissue will take 6 months to heal and by then my ribs will have become rigid, but there are other surgical procedure that I can undertake to fix it later in life, such as the Ravitch procedure which has a 99% rate of achievement, but will take me out of school for four months so I can't do that until after my final year.
Anyway, that's what happened and there is nothing I can do about it, but hope that my chest stays as flat as it is now and doesn't revert back to its former state.