Back in 1999 when I was 18 years old I woke up one morning with the most awful pressure in my chest. I was short of breath but not drastically, what really struck me was that every time I took a step the impact of my foot on the ground sent a sharp stabbing pain up my right side. It didn't take long to decide that at a trip to A&E (accident & emergency) was a probably a good idea.
As soon as I arrived, I was rushed through triage for the usual array of tests, chest x-rays, ECGs etc and in what seemed like no time at all, my right side was being aspirated. A few x-rays later determined this was not working so in went a chest drain (entry at the top of the right breast). I spent the night as you would expect and the next day my left side went as well, so in went another chest drain (in my left side). You can imagine by now how clumsy this is getting. Anyway both resolved inside 3 or 4 days I forget and I was home, end of story right. Wrong, three years later, to the same day, I woke up and there is that pressure again. Straight to A&E again and with my prior history I was through triage even faster. In went another chest drain (in my right side). This is where the problems started, this one didn't resolve. After 8 days it was decided that something was wrong and x-rays where inconclusive so I had a CT scan which showed a pneumothorax about the size of a 10 pence piece (say an inch in diameter). I was kept well informed and was told about the likely recurrence ofthis problem considering the gap between the two events. After much thought and support from family, I was moved to the Cardio Thoracic Unit at Broad Green Hospital (luckily its one of the best cardio units on the planet) in Liverpool (only a stones through from where I live in Prescot, also lucky). I arrived on the Sunday afternoon and I had the surgery on the Monday afternoon.
Given my history on both sides of the chest, it was decided to do both lungs at the same time. It was also decided that the pleurectomy option was not wise for both lungs simultaneously as it results in too much bleeding so I had a bilateral pleurodesis via a sternotomy.
Monday night I was so uncomfortable that I just wanted to die, but 7 days later I was up and about albeit very slowly and carefully. When I got home I had no real problems other than serious Morphine withdrawal, I had been on one of those push button drips that lets you click when you want more for 7 days (I tell you the days just flew by for the most part). After another few weeks of recovery not only for the lungs but for the sternum too I was back to normal.
And here I am today, I have been told that the probability of recurrence now is extraordinarily remote and I fully understand the medical reasons why that is so. I tend to research these things thoroughly. I am not going to temp fate by saying it but you will know what I mean.
Hope this helps and a great site, very informative.