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Seventeen Year Old Female: Spontaneous Pneumothorax Experience

I'm seventeen, tall and skinny... So I'm predesposed anyhow... I play in the High School Band... Where I play the trombone.

I believe my penumo actually occured two weeks before I was admitted to the hospital. I was going to sleep and I had sharp shooting pain on the right side. It subsided and I feel asleep two hours after it occured. Three days later, I went to my family doctor and mention soarness and pain in my chest. I was also congested and running a fever. She convienently diagonosed it as broncitus and no X-ray was performed.

Ten days later, on a very good day at school... I was sitting in third period, band... We were preparing for UIL, a really big competition. We had just finished play and I placed my instrument into resting position, shortly afterward, I began feeling the same pain, except sixty, maybe seventy times worse. I had to wait, because there was no way I was going to go to the nurse ten minutes before class ended, and get stuck on the North Campus. I return to Main campus on the shuttle, barely managing to carry my instrument into the Band Hall. I thought at that time, after putting my instrument up and collapsing on the floor that I was going to faint and be there where no one found me. My face was breaking out in sweat, I was having trouble breathing, and I was going pale. I barely managed to struggle to my feet, picking up my backpack. I left the bandhall, running into a friend, whom I asked to help me to the nurse. She started freaking out, because it was obvious I was in incredible pain.

On the way to the nurse, people continued to ask me if I needed help to the nurse. Which was where I was already going. I knew, from my experiences during my brother's recent numo, and the memory of the doctor saying the difference between a heart attack and a penumothorax is a heart attack feels like an elephant decided to sit on your chest, in short a crushing pain. Where a penumo is a stabing pain that doesn't decrease or cease. I knew what I had, I was hoping I as full of it, but I knew I had it. Rounding the corner to the nurse's office, I ran into my best friend, he looked and me and asked if I we alright, I said no, and told him I was having sharp chest pain. He started to freak. Stubbling into the nurse's office, because the friend I asked to help me, I really didn't accept any help from her out of self pride. I just wanted someone with me to ensure I reached the nurses office, who knew me, etc. The nurse looked at me, knew something was wrong, and instantly told me to lay down as she motioned me in and started to freak. She started taking my vitals as she got information like my name and grade. I provided her with my mother's work phone and she soon reached her. Meanwhile my friends were still freaking. It was scarry, however not as scarry as the shuttle bus ride from north campus. I don't know, as my mind started to sway and my vision and hearing blured and slurred together on the bus, there must have been... A fight on the bus... Freshmen are very immature, and the booing filled my mind as my mind swayed arround. The experience reminded me of a movie scene, and the closest I can come to describing it briefly is a living hell.

My mother arrive two hours later due to traffic, she's a medical practitioner so she listened to my chest and checked my pulse. Neither her or the nurse heared anything unusual. Later, I would find out that you can't always hear pnemos with a stethescope. I was promptly taken to the ER at Baylor Medical Center at Grapvine, I was admitted shortly afterward with a 40+ percent collapse of my right lung. I probably only expereinced a full hour of agony however, as my body became accustom to the pain and I lay still. On the scale of 1 to 10. I started at an good eight, by the time I got into the ER four hours later. I was at a four.

My hospital experience and the two procedures, a chest tap and the chest tube are a completely another story, least of all fun. I can say, the hospital was nice! The beds rock! Nurse's rock! And IV pain medications are good things... Demoral is pretty messed up, however I didn't get Versede like my brother and that was the only one IV medication I had, so I can't compare. I do know I wasn't mentally coherent for a good four days, but I can remember it all. My brother's experience with Versede left a three day gap in his memory, but it's better he doesn't remember it after his thoracotomy and dual chest tubes.

I did notice ssomething during my experience, between my initial penumo and my chest being tapped in the ER.... I had extemely high elevated blood pressure. Durring the chest tap it fell to 63 over 27... I was paper white. My mother swears she's seen corpses look better. After the procedure, and my lung fully reinflated, my blood pressure returned to average and remain there durring my week stay in the hospital, while I waited for my lung to plug itself.