I just got back from the doctor’s office for the third time in two months.

Good news: Based on the sound of my chest, the antibiotics have taken care of the pneumonia (apparently one of the tell-tale signs of pneumonia is a “crackling” sound that’s very audible with a stethoscope) and now we’re in the recovery stage. We hope. (See bad news, below.)

Bad news: The doc is worried that my continued chest pain, low-grade exhaustion and shortness of breath could mean a pleural effusion, which I vaguely understand is when you get fluid collecting around the lungs (outside them, not inside, which is sort of what pneumonia is.) Pleural effusion, of course, isn’t a good thing. The treatment of such an effusion involves having a very large needle stuck between your ribs followed by draining off the offending fluid through a tube, which sounds both painful and horrifying.

Worse, though, is what happens when you fail to remove the fluid and it gets infected and becomes empyema, which then puts you in the hospital for weeks with all sorts of tubes running into and out of you, so we’re absolutely going to try and avoid that.

So it turns out the light at the end of the tunnel might possibly conceal another goddamn train.

And since I’ve just done a fifteen day course of two different antibiotics, the doctor really doesn’t want to take any more if we can possibly help it, for which my GI tract (at least) thanks him.

We’ve had chest x-rays done to try and rule out pleural effusion, and we’ll know the results tomorrow. In the meantime I am to try and breathe as deeply as possible, cough up as much crap as I can, and hope that I don’t have to spend all or part of my weekend with an enormous goddamn thoracic catheter sticking out of me.

Cross your fingers.