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My dad did this!

So I'm reading my blogs, and I see this piece in the NPR health blog about a doctor pulling a Wendy's utensil out of someone's lung. And I think, "Wow! Papa did that decades ago!" Well, not a utensil, but a large mass accidently inhaled.

As ya'll probably figured out, he's a doctor. To be more exact, he's a lung doctor. And he had a patient come in from Mexico who had been having trouble breathing.

My dad talks a lot to all of his patients, and he tries to get as much of their life stories out of them as possible. If my dad has something in common with the patient, they end up talking as if they were old friend. Apparently this particular patient was from Mexico City. About a month or so before he came to Houston with the breathing problems, he'd had business in the Rio Grande Valley, and while there, he went someplace to get cabrito. Cabrito is wonderful, wonderful roasted goat dish that is especially good down in the Valley. My dad, having grown up partially down there, understood fully and the two spent a few minutes waxing eloquent about cabrito they'd eaten in the past. Apparently on the most recent trip the patient was so excited about the cabrito that he wolfed it down. Shortly thereafter, he had trouble breathing. Specialists were seen, x-rays were taken, and eventually the man came up to Houston to have my dad take a look at him. Everyone was particularly worried about this white spot on the x-ray.

My dad decided a biopsy needed to be taken of the white mass. I really wish he were here to tell the story, because his description is pretty funny.

He and the patient go to the endoscopy suite to gear up for a bronchoscopy so they can get the biopsy. Basically, the patient had a camera shoved down his throat and into his lung, so my dad could grab a piece of the lung and haul it back up for further inspection. Camera down, and my dad starts looking for the mass. Weirdly, it's hard. He manipulates the camera to get a better look, and still can't figure out what it is. Thinking a little, he starts to have an idea. He uses the little teeny tiny little foreceps that sort of look like those retractable olive tongs, and manages to get a hold on the white thing. It moves.

He tells the patient, in Spanish of course, "Ok, when say, cough, cough like you've never coughed before."

He moved the piece of whatever closer to the airway, and he used the patient's shoulders for leverage.


The patient coughed, and my dad pulled using his feet against the patient's bed. The tube with the camera and foreceps went flying out of the patient's mouth, and attached to the end of the foreceps was a calcified piece of cabrito. Apparently, that first bite was doozy.