On my eighty-fourth birthday (May 19, 2013), I suffered a spontaneous collapse of my left lung (a "pneumothorax") and, thanks to a near inability to breathe, underwent hurried, emergency surgery (no operating room, no scrubs, rubber gloves only, this-is going-to-hurt-but-it needs-to-be-done NOW, no waiting!) performed by an amazingly talented pulmonary specialist who just happened to be pulling ER room duty at Scottsdale Health Care (Shea) hospital when I arrived.
Big-time pain, BUT, ten seconds after punching a hole between my third and fourth ribs and inserting a tube that allowed air trapped between my lung wall and my rib cage to escape, my left lung re-inflated and I could breathe normally.
I was 'kept prisoner' three more days "for observation" while the tube was kept in place "just in case" and now feel ALMOST as well as I did prior to the incident (old, but alive).
No one could give me an even remotely good reason for the occurrence—though my wife, Clare's snarky remark ("too damn many birthdays!") could be the culprit.
So, notwithstanding the trauma, the adventure seemed to result in a happy ending.
During a follow-through with a pulmonary specialist a week after my discharge, the doctor dropped a bombshell on me: "Yes, Mr. Guthrie, you may continue visiting the gym and you may spend time at your five acres of tall pines in Eastern Arizona, elevation, 7,800 ft." (which we just did over the last four days), "but you may not fly in a commercial airliner for another five or six months as pressurization of the cabin will definitely put you at risk for a repeat pneumothorax."
Damn, damn, damn! There goes skatey-eight thousand frequent flyer miles spent on pre-planned, pre-paid flying trips. I haven't been in the mood to argue with the yo-yos at AA just yet, but must do so soon.
Does anybody have experience with ever-so-difficult-to-deal-with, chinchy-assed American Airlines regarding their willingness to re-deposit ff airline miles back into their account based upon doctor's orders following a pneumothorax?
Any response to this question via e-mail (email@example.com) would be sincerely appreciated.
Grounded in Scottsdale