Draining the swamp is a metaphor used by American politicians, referencing actions to clean up government corruption. In my case, however, I’m referring to a treatment that involves draining the fluid from my chest cavity, either with a needle or a small tube inserted into the chest. This will treat my pleural effusion, also called “water on the lung,” which is an excessive buildup of fluid in the space between my lungs and chest cavity (see diagram).
The pleural effusion is likely the source of my coughing, shortness of breath, and other recent symptoms. I haven’t been feeling well at all lately, but once it is drained – I should feel much better.
Thin membranes, called pleura, cover the outside of the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. There’s always a small amount of liquid within this lining to help lubricate the lungs as they expand within the chest during breathing. Certain medical conditions, such as malignancy, can cause a pleural effusion, which is likely my situation. The excess fluid prevents the lung from expanding normally.
Sometime this morning I will have the procedure and hope to provide updates when I am awake later on.
I may need this treatment more than once if fluid re-collects, but we’ll cross that bridge another time.