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Does anyone have a flat diaphragm?

I recently had a chest x-ray because I've been really SOB during our vacation. The humidity has been extra bad since we're near a lake. The Urgent Care physician gave me a shot of prednisone, and did take a chest x-ray. He showed me where that there was just a flat line at the bottom of my lung, and said that was "really bad" without explaining. I'll take a copy of the x-ray to my Pulmonary Doctor in a couple months, but I'm very afraid of what this means for now. Thanks for any input. I am not on oxygen yet, and have maintained the same lung function for six years since I quit smoking.

  1. Thanks Lyn. What a week! I did see the NP a few days ago. They read the x-ray, and said really no change for awhile. They were very concerned because my 02 saturation was very low on the walk test. This was never a problem in the past, so far.

    What we determined was that the urgent care physician had given me a prednisone (?) shot on two occasions, two weeks apart, because I was sob. It ends up that what I had needed was a shot and prednisone tables together. I was not getting a therapeutic dose of prednisone even though he'd called it an acute exacerbation.

    I've been put on oxygen now, and doing a long dose of prednisone tablets. It's day 3 on the prednisone, and I can walk across a room without my oxygen taking a huge. I hope I can get back to where I was.

    I just wanted to follow-up. This doctor had made several comments about "I bet you wished you had never smoked" several times during my visits to urgent care. Going over my x-ray in such detail I think was also mean-spirited. I guess you have to be your own advocate sometimes.

    1. Very interesting, twovillages! Thank you for keeping us updated! I'm glad to hear you're on an appropriate treatment regimen now, and I hope you continue to improve! Also, I'm so sorry to hear that your doctor seemed to be unsupportive and mean-spirited! That is not okay. You're so right, you do need to be your own advocate sometimes. If this happens again, it is totally okay to stand up for yourself. If it continues frequently, it may be time to find a new physician. You should feel supported and not talked down to when visiting your doctor. Please stay strong and fighting! And as always, let us know if there's anything we can do to assist! -Casey, Team

  2. Hi twovillages,

    I'm sorry about your recent problem while on vacation - I hope it didn't totally ruin your vacation!

    It sounds like you're doing all the right things. Maintaining lung function for as long as you have is a great sign. Obviously something went wrong while you were on vacation, which might have been a virus or as you pointed out, the weather.

    Until you speak to your pulmonologist, try not to worry excessively. As you know, the diaphragm is a muscle that aids the lungs getting air in and out. At times, if you're having an exacerbation of COPD, the lungs can become over-extended and can push the diaphragm down, giving it a "flat" appearance. That may explain some of your shortness of breath. However, that in itself does not mean anything and shouldn't be a cause for distress.

    You're x-ray will be important to your lung doctor, but they may also want another one to compare. They'll also take note of how you're feeling now - are you still short of breath? Are you coughing excessively? All of that will be taken into consideration.

    I wish you the best!

    Lyn (moderator)

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