Mark Johnson
4 min readJun 3, 2022

Where things began to get interesting was when the procedures started. In most cases, I’ve experienced every day up in the hospital with a UTI, the most action I’d get was the constant IV drip and early morning blood draws to test my progress. My stay continued in this experience, yet the major test was in the procedure to deal with pneumonia.

My lungs were an overload of mucus and infection; I wasn’t going to cough it up or out. Dr. Verma decided to do a procedure where they would suction it out called a bronchoscopy. The mere thought seemed simple, but when you think about it, the question that came to mind was, how were they going to do that?

I was soon hip to the game as one of my respiratory therapists told me how the procedure worked. Seeing it on my schedule, the RT helped me get mentally prepared, further explaining that it would greatly help my efforts to get home sooner. As he explained, they would run a suction device on a cord through my nose down my throat and into my lungs and suction the areas of the most mucus buildup.

The severity of the procedure did seem a little daunting, but much like anything in life, you can find a way to do it if you have to. So when it came time to wheel me down for the procedure, I was nervous as they transferred me from my bed to the gurney. The trip down from the 5th floor to the procedure room on the 1st floor came with a drastic temperature drop that I didn’t expect.

The nurses and techs there began to take vitals, prepped the equipment needed for the bronchoscopy, and explained how this whole thing would go. They told me a Dr. Verma would be doing the procedure and that he was the best at what he did; this made me feel more confident and considerably less nervous. Furthermore, how they all talked about him made him sound superhuman or an extraordinary human being.

I would soon have my on-stage seat to witness him for my own eyes; I just needed to wait a little longer. The nurses wheeled me to the final room in the wait, where it would all go down. Everyone watched the clock or their watches with nervous energy as the alert came that Dr. Verma was 15 minutes out. Then it was five minutes as he had just pulled up onto the hospital lot.

Any minute now. I didn’t know I was witnessing the arrival of a rock star, but it sure felt that way as the first signs of Dr. Verma came in the form of the sound of clicking boots on the hospital floor. When he walked in, I noticed first that he came in maskless in the era of covid where everyone’s identity was just their eyes. He was a handsome man, skin the color of cinnamon, well-cropped hair, and a silver-tone touched mustache graced his infectious smile. He had that swag, and it filled the room as he greeted his staff and then me.

I was further encouraged by his presence, and confident this procedure would go well. Dr. Verma began to suit up, explaining the procedure to me. Then we began. They didn’t say I would be doing this with no anesthesia, which meant I’d be awake for the whole thing. I didn’t panic, but I recalculated my thoughts on the entire thing within that moment and held on for the ride.

The initial entrance of the suction wire had to go through my nostril, and at first, it seemed not to go. With a bit of maneuvering and a blitz of pain, it popped through as I breathed. There was a bit more discomfort as it was in my throat, but keeping calm and not freaking out, they pushed forward into my lungs and got to what they were looking for.

I was choking down air, my eyes watering as I could hear the suctioning sound and rushing air throughout my head. I continued to hold on, feeling the pressure in my chest. I felt like a rodeo cowboy on a bucking bronco holding on till the end.

Some 10 minutes later, they removed the suction device from me, leaving me coughing non-stop and with a scratchy throat and chest. I had conquered the procedure. Yet it wasn’t the end, just the first of what would be two more procedures like this in the coming days.

Thanks for reading this piece. Please keep a lookout for the continuation of this story in pt. 6. Also check out how we got here in pt. 1 IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO GO THIS WAY




Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.