Wednesday, July 30, 2014


"Mister Chiles?  If I could talk with you and Rudi's Mom for a few minutes, there is something of more concern than your son's collapsed lung."

Katherine and I looked at one another. She appeared concerned, but really not worried at all, the nurses probably did not have a great idea of what was going on, other than Rudi's collapsed lung, a rare but not completely unheard of occurrence in tall, healthy teen boys. We stepped together into a small room adjoining the emergency department, and the doctor pulled up Rudi's chest x-ray on the computer. You didn't need a medical degree to see just how bad things looked. His left lung was simply not there, and his trachea and esophegous were pushed well to the left side of his chest, running toward his stomach in a distorted and twisted question mark. Running vertically down the center of his chest, taking up well over one third the total width of his chest cavity was a brilliant white mass, which completely obstructed the image of his spine.

"As you can see, Rudi has a pleural anuerism, a collapsed left lung, clearly evident here, however the large mass in his chest is his lymphatic system, which is normally not this size. I have sent this image to the radiologists at CHEO, and they have returned with an initial assesment. I can't provide a diagnosis here, but he has to be transported to either CHEO or Sick Kids in Toronto immediately."

I looked again at Katherine. She appeared calm, but I could see the worry now, and confusion. It's not everyday that you go from a pretty damn healthy kid with what you think is seasonal allergies, to being told they have to go immediately to the nearest children's hospital.

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