May 22, 2017
advice articles
Collapsed Lung

Collapsed Lung

I was going through some of my earlier videos (and I mean like earlier videos) when I came across the one I made right after I had my collapsed lung surgery and thought it’d be fun to write a quick post about it. (Video down below.)

For those of you who don’t know, I have a connective tissue disorder. I’ve been tested for a few specific disorders and they came back negative, but I still have a connective tissue disorder (how that works, I’m not sure). It’s not really a big deal, but there are some serious problems that can arise from having a CTD: aneurysms and collapsed lungs being two. You guys probably know about my brain aneurysm – if not, that’ll be another post someday (I really want a copy of a CT scan of my head for that post; it’s so cool… I’m such a nerd).

Back in 2008, before I even got involved with YouTube or discovered my aneurysm, I was walking around the bookstore on FSU’s campus when I started to get short of breath and started sweating. I figured maybe I was having a panic attack or something so I just ignored it and, like any white person in distress, went to the Starbucks next door. The walk over nearly killed me. I would take ten steps and need to sit down and catch my breath. It felt like there was a sumo wrestler sitting on me and a huge metal rod running through my chest. My boyfriend was there with me and we both didn’t know what to do, so I decided to call my mom and ask her. Her lungs had collapsed multiple times and she asked me a series of questions and we concluded that’s probably what was happening and that I needed to go to Urgent Care immediately.

Sure enough, my right lung was 30% collapsed.

I was sent home with severe bed rest and arranged an appointment to speak to a specialist. He said that in tall, slender males like myself spontaneous pneumothoraxes weren’t that uncommon and that we could have a corrective procedure performed now or wait for a year and see if it happened again. We decided to wait.

That was early February 2008. Almost a year to the date, the same lung collapsed as I was walking around the FSU campus bookstore. So creepy. I had class right after and the professor was an absolute bitch so I tried to force myself to attend class. Luckily, my boyfriend was there with me again and noticed my lips turning blue during class, so I made the brazen move to leave her class early. My mom took me to the ER and I had emergency surgery performed to reinflate my lung.

Screen shot 2013-12-10 at 2.45.04 PM

I wake up the next morning with more tubes coming out of me than a waterpark. One down my nose and throat, one in my penis, and one HUGE one into my chest.

This is where the true horror really starts. Brace yourself.

I was there for about a week recovering and had the nicest nurse during the first 6 days. The last day there was a shift change and a new nurse was in charge. My mom had been there the entire time and she looked disgusting so I told her to go home and shower so she would be fresh and clean when she took me home the next day. That night, right after she left, the new nurse decides to remove the catheter in my penis. If you don’t know how catheters work, they are a tube that’s fed up the urethra into the bladder and the end is slightly inflated to hold it in place. The nurse removes mine… without deflating the end. I won’t go into detail, but there was blood. Also, she doubles the drop rate of my IV and the vein in my left arm blew out and I had horrible bruising around my elbow. That night I had to spend in the bathroom from needing to piss every 15 minutes. Probably the worst night of my life.

Unfortunately, while I was in the hospital, so family drama went down and I was caught in the middle. I was supposed to have 2 weeks of solid bed rest to recover – 3 days later I was packing my shit to move in with my grandma. I couldn’t take the drama anymore; it was almost worse than the fluids continually leaking out of the three opens wounds I had on my back.

My collapsed lung experience wasn’t that pleasant haha. Have any of you had any similar horrific hospital experiences? (Not that any hospital visit is a barrel of laughs.) Leave your horrific stories in the comment section below!

See how emaciated I was back then? #notcute

About Will

Will is a recent graduate from Florida State University and transplant to Los Angeles who makes the occasional video on YouTube documenting his life with his fiancé and German Shepherd.

27 comments

  1. Christopher Campbell

    Wow… you looked the part, really thin and you sound hoarse :S I couldn’t imagine going through that

  2. I have a friend who had some weird thing that causes collapsed lungs a lot so they did this crazy surgery to like fuse the lungs to the rib cage so they can’t collapse… craziness……

    • exact same thing that happened to me – they put this weird paste on my lung that basically glued it to the chest wall. now it hurts anytime i breathe deeply or laugh too hard. 🙁

  3. I had to have emergency surgery two years ago after I fell down the stairs with a glass cup in my hand. I needed over 100 sitches and drains, it was pretty scary and gross!! So glad you are doing better, can’t imagine how scary that was! xo

  4. Why were you so thin back then Will? I always knew you were super skinny but seeing that I was like ‘whoa’.

  5. I’ve had too many bouts of pneumonia and I live in high altitude so now I am on oxygen 24/7. I pray you never have to do that. I’m sorry you had to go through that and that you didn’t seem to have the support you needed. That’s one thing I’ve always had through my hospital horrors. The thing about the catheter, well that’s a story for a personal letter.
    Knowing this stuff about you and that you’re still going strong makes me admire you greatly. You inspire people to suck it up and shut up, well at least me 🙂 I was born with Spina Bifida. I’ll talk to you more about that later…this post is about you 😉 Big hugs!

  6. I’ve worked over 96hours straight in the E.R…. if that’s not horror my friend well i have no fucking idea of what horror could be hahaahahahaha

  7. I was in the hospital for a suicide attempt when my parents were out of town on vacation and I decided to drink myself into total oblivion and take some E and passed the fuck out in the toilets of the club and when I woke up i was in a bed on a surgical ward and full of tubes and wires and a catheter that was removed the same as yours when I was discharged and ended up in another hospital bed in another hospital with a UTI hate hospitals now !!

  8. I cut my finger off when I was 10 (Fillet Knifed it) and my brother didn’t believe me (he was babysitting and was in his locked room talking to his Girlfriend and ignored my screams), he found me bleeding out on the back carpet (it would spurt with each heart beat! SOO GROSS) and called some family friends to take me to the hospital, btw the car ran out of gas on the way which was nice, when I got there the doctor’s realized how severe it was, and realized they would have to inject the pain meds directly into the stump in order to get the meds flowing (due to loss of blood my veins were non existent) so they had three nurses hold me down as they stuck a menagerie of needles into the stump, which hurt so fucking bad that I kicked one nurse in the face when she tried to hold down my legs. Luckily, I had one of the best hand surgeons in the world, and he was able to reattach my finger with limited loss of movement. So yeah, I fucking hate hospitals.

  9. I actually had the EXACT same thing happen to me. And I mean EXACTLY the same thing (Like medically lol) 2 years ago I had pneumothorax but it was small, and they told me to go home and rest and it should heal on its own. They told me the cause was due to me being tall and skinny. It did go away, and i never thought much of it until about a month and a half ago when I got short of breath, and exactly like you put it, it felt like a rod was going through my right lung. I STILL WALKED TO CLASS! And i was there for a bit until i could hardly breathe. My professor sent me to the medical clinic, which was another 10 minute walk, and I don’t know how I made it, but I did. The stupid secretaries there said i had to wait an hour before i could be seen, and they could clearly see me not able to breathe properly. The doctor came out suddenly and told me to come in immediately, and soon after told me I had to go to the hospital. As if this wasn’t bad enough, this doctor was telling me the directions to the hospital from where I was and was telling to walk there. At this point I honestly can’t even move to the waiting room, much less walk to a hospital, so i told him call an ambulance. Fast forward a few hours of me getting on an ambulance, getting to the hospital, my mom rushing there, them doing a crap load of tests, and boom, they tell me that my lung (and I shit you not lol this is weird i know) was 30% collapsed. They took me to put the chest tube in my lung, and put IV and everything, and I stayed at the hospital for a week before they even performed surgery. But they ended up gluing (not sure if thats the proper term lol) my lung to the lung wall so it wouldn’t collapse again. And now here I am, still recovering (no heavy lifting) after the surgery. I literally read your story and I was like, crap, this is almost exactly like what happened to me less than 2 months ago.
    But yeah – I can say i know exactly how you feel lol

  10. Ok this is really gross but here goes, about a year ago I started to feel really unwell, and also had a lot of difficulty pooping (I told you it was gross). I went to the doctor and he told me I had an abscess on my anus. The doc proscribed some really harsh meds which only made sicker, then about a week later the abscess burst, which meant I had blood and pus pouring out of my bottom! They rushed me in to ER then into an operating room to stop the bleeding, but then told me they couldn’t do a general anaesthetic but would have to give me a lumber anaesthetic instead which had a ‘significant’ risk of paralysis, and would be very painful (they were not kidding).
    Thankfully everything went ok, but to this day every time I go past the hospital I get the cold sweats

  11. I just recently had an emergency appendectomy and am recovering well. Luckily for me it, as all my medical experiences, was not nearly as bad as your collapsed lung. Since having surgery I question every little thing I do and if I’m going to mess up my sutures or strain my abdominal muscles, etc., so I can’t even imagine how I would be in your situation with both your lung and aneurysm. I have even more respect for you than I did before. I hope you don’t have any major problems in the future and wish you the best!

  12. The two worst things I’ve ever had happen to me was when i was 7 and a dog bit my arm, and when I rolled my ankle and ripped some of the ligaments. That was really gross because when it happened it made a horrible popping sound, and I’ll never be able to stand on my tip toes for more then 10 seconds ever again. And it was disgusting when the dog bit me because it was right down to the bone and kept oozing ‘fluids’ for days. And doctors always deem it necessary to give me an IV when ever I got there for an ear infection, despite my needle phobia. Half of the time they don’t even use it, they just stick me to stick me.

    I’m still at the doctor a lot though because I have constant ear and nose problems.

  13. I run an information and enquiry telephone and outreach service for local health and social care services. It’s a complex job because most health services are run by, or paid for by the National Health Service but some social care services (care homes/independent living) are run by commercial companies or charities, and some are run by local councils. Trying to get them all to connect up is really difficult.
    In the midst of this you hear a lot of lurid horror stories, all of which I will not repeat for the sake of patient confidentiality. However, it’s no secret that most of these incidents happen because of a lack of communication and co-ordination. It’s not an exaggeration to say that many hundreds of lives a year in every country in the world could be saved if people actually stopped and talked to each other more.

  14. Amelia Clapper Flynn

    My worst hospital experience was when I was 4 and a half. It was summer and I was running around my house waiting to get into the inflatable pool in my backyard. then, WHAM! I had slipped and split my forehead open on my sister’s baby monitor that was plugged a wall socket. we ran to the ER and I had to get several stitches. Being only 4 and drugged for part of the time I only remember a few things. First, that while I’ll waited they gave me ice, I held it to my forehead, when I brought it down and looked at it, it was covered in blood. Also, that when I got the stitches out the lady thought I would think it is coll to see them, so as she pulled out all the little pieces and put them on my chest, which I found rather freaky. The best part of that experience is that I now have a scar on my forehead, like Harry Potter.

  15. I was after car accident and had to go to the second hospital because the one I was in had no working MRI so hospital to save money decided to wait and send few patient at once to the other place, it was 5-6 people so we were to take 2 ambulances and we separated into 2 groups each with a nurse. Long story short elevator in the hospital broke and it took the stave 2 hours to notice some patients were missing I was 16 at the time and only reason we were rescued “swiftly” which means additional 2 hours to find someone “qualified” to open the elevator was because my mother was at the other hospital and grew impatient. Spending 3 hours in hospital gown in the box 1,5m x 2m wasn’t the best experience but I was lucky, at least I wasn’t the unlucky bastard that was told we need to go now and it is quick ride so he should wait with going to restroom until we arrive at the second hospital. To make matters more interesting the decided to drive us to the MRI place anyway where we spent another 4h waiting for the scan that didn’t happen because we missed our place in queue, next available spot was 4 days later if i remember correctly unless you decided to pay and use private practice (same building, same MRI, same doctor). Apparently the NFZ (public healthcare we are all paying 10% of our income without option to opt out) agreed only for said number of scans per year and it was only enough to cover Monday, Tuesday and if you were lucky half Wednesday. I don’t want to lie or make up the amount but I think it was around 1/5th of what my Mother earned monthly then (and it was a good pay) and all staff acted all annoyed as if it was our fault elevator broke. We ended paying for it as there was no guaranties some other shit wouldn’t come up in the meantime. Needless to say as if magic was at work the dragon at the reception turned to kindest person I ever met, the power of money for you. Of course we missed both dinner and supper at hospital and tbh we didn’t expect anyone to care about that after that. We came back around 7 P.M. back to 2 revelations: my mother isn’t allowed in as visitations are over and I have no bed because staff after not seeing me for 8+ hours assumed I decided to stop being a such a bother and checked out. It was terrifying for 16 yo kid to have to deal with situation knowing my mother is next door but because of some stupid policy she can’t come in and deal with situation. In the end I ended up sleeping in extra bed in the corridor only because the doctor working there went to school with my mother + I think we “gifted” a box of vodka to the staff. That was only one time I was ever in the hospital and I’m happy I never had to go back.

  16. I had to have part of my urethra near my bladder reconstructed. For an entire month, I had to have a catheter in place while the repair healed. The hospital, however, never gave me the stuff to irrigate it (nor told me I had to) so that there would be no blockage. As a defense against a foreign object inside it, my bladder formed a stone over the end of the catheter. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom but couldn’t and had to wait for an hour. They finally took me back, tried to irrigate it and ultimately had to pull it out with a stone over the end of it. I never screamed like that in my life. My dad said he heard me down the hall. All I can say, Will, is that I know your pain with that.

  17. In general, I have had to get blood drawn multiple times for fasting cholesterol tests, and my veins are ornery when I’m fully hydrated, let alone fasting for 12 hours. So I tell the nurses that they need to take blood out of my left arm. They have to tie the tournequet tight, but they can find it and stick me pretty easily. If they try my right arm, they will be able to feel the vein, but inevitably, once the needle makes the first tiny poke, my vein will move right out of the way. So I have to deal with them digging around to hit the vein again. This results in a large bruise in my inner elbow.

    As for hospital visits, I had to have my thyroid removed in two separate surgeries (removed the left lobe for biopsy for lumps, discovered it was malignant cancer, and removed the other half) and both times I had issues with the IV sticks. The second surgery, they stuck me, taped the needle down, and had to get sponges and paper towels for the amount I bleed while they tried to get it in. When I woke up post surgery, I HAD ANOTHER ONE IN MY OTHER HAND. So naturally when they took them both out, what happened? Yeah, I bleed a lot.

    I just have bad luck with IVs and needles.

  18. I had a set of cervical ribs; it is
    not something that they tend to do anything with unless it becomes a problem.
    Well, when I hit a growth spurt at about 13, one of the ribs started
    pressing against arteries going to my left arm as well as rubbing bone against
    bone with my collarbone. I had to have
    the rib removed and for the first few days after surgery, everything seemed to
    be okay, painful, but okay. However; by
    the third day, I couldn’t walk, or even lift my head up and the nausea was
    unbelievable. I returned to the surgeon’s
    office where the Doctor acted as if I was a wimp telling me about other
    patients that had made a quick recovery and talking to me as if he was a drill sergeant. I had to be readmitted to the hospital with a
    collapsed lung. When he apologized after
    we complained, it was the lamest fake apology ever. After all of that, he left me with permanent nerve
    damage in my back, side, and upper arm.

  19. I’ve had surgery once, n I remember when they took out the catheter, omg it hurt so bad, but thankfully it wasn’t that bad, haha. My mom later told me that, that nurse was gay, I’m like oh lovely, glad u overcame it will

  20. omg I understand the IV thing.. back in 08 we discovered I have scoliosis it was 85 degrees it was bad so of course I needed surgery the recovery process was horrible! I was in the hospital for a week where I had to learn how to do everything all over again and I had tubes everywhere as well. It’s weird because I had the same experience with the nurse as you! the 1st 6 days I was there the nurse was nice and she understood and she just was awesome! the last day they brought it a different nurse she placed the IV wrong so my hand was swollen like a balloon and there was blood everywhere I remember waking up thinking I was hallucinating or something.. and I’m not going to start with catheter and what happened when she tried to take it off. overall I’m thankful that the surgery went well I still have some arching in my back it’s only 25 degrees now which is better than before but the downside of all of this is that my back always hurts because my muscles are weak now and my right lung has some issues as well but not complaining.. I’m strong. Thank you for sharing your story Will you are an inspiration to all.

  21. I been in hospital 2 times 1 was for my 5 birthday sick as a dog with catheter in my penis when they took it out I bit the doc and the 2nd was when my brother stabbed me with knife (he has ADHD) I got ten stitches in my upper arm that was not fun

  22. you poor thing, i cant imagine what eejit of a nurse was thinking removing the urinary cathether without deflating the cuff, im a nurse but as it happens i also have a lot of experience on both sides of the hospital bed, having been diagnosed with a rare breathing central nervous system disorder at age of 13, to cut a huge story short, basically my brain doesnt tell my body to breath when im asleep, fun !!! so for the last oh 15 yrs or so ive had to wear a bipap ventilator every night so i dont basically die in my sleep . I think with all things a sense of humor and knowing that though things seem shitty at times, there’s always some one else that has it worse – helps, and its a bloody great feeling to be alive. One thing though before i got the bipap i spent most of my childhood in hospital with countless doeses of pneumonia, who knew knew you could get it more then a dozen times and live to tell the tale …….. you cant keep a bad thing down . x

  23. I have a pretty horrifying hospital experience. Didn’t seem that bad back when I was 13 years old, but now looking back at it, I’m surprised I didn’t freak out more.

    So it was October 2007, Saturday morning. I woke up, ate breakfast and then I got the most awful and unbearable stomach ache I’ve ever had, plus I couldn’t keep anything down. I was just lying in bed, crying from pain, so my grandma called an ambulance. They eventually came and did some simple tests, gave me pain meds and told that I probably have just stomach flu and on Monday morning I should go to see my doctor. My grandma suggested that maybe I had appendicitis, but paramedics said that that’s probably not the case.

    Monday came, I went to the doctor and she told the same thing about stomach flu, wrote a prescription and asked me to come back on Wednesday. I should mention that my stomach hurt on Sunday too, but on Monday it became a bit better, but I was still in pain. It was like that for the rest of the week. On Wednesday, the doctor said to come back on Friday and then if I’m still in pain, they will think of something. So on Friday, the doctor sent me to gynecologist for an appointment, and then the gynecologist said to come back in the afternoon for a sonogram. When I left the exam room and started going down the stairs, I became dizzy and all I could see was darkness, as I was about to faint. Only THEN my doctor decided that I should go to hospital to see a surgeon.

    I spent the night in a hospital in a different city all alone. The next day a surgeon examined me and it took him 2 minutes to tell that I’ve had appendicitis the whole time. That afternoon I had an operation, but the doctors there were stupid enough(what a surprise) to NOT leave some kind of drain in my stomach, as obviously my appendix had burst and all the pus and infection spread though my stomach. I was in ICU for about a week, in hospital room for about 2 weeks and then was free to go home. I was at home for about a week or so, before I had a fever and pains, so I was taken back to the hospital where they told I had an infection, then they just took me to an exam room and stabbed me open with scissors(horrible, I know), put a drain in and took me to Children’s Clinical Hospital, where I spent about a month just recovering. All kinds of stuff went down there, like fainting from high fever(41 or 42 degrees Celsius), dramatic weight loss(I weighed only 34 kilos back in hospital and I was already extremely skinny) and lots of other stuff. Sorry for TMI, but I just wanted to share my horrifying hospital experience. It’s definitely enough hospitals and doctors for me for a lifetime. Haven’t properly been to the doctors since then, even though I’ve been experiencing pain in my scar. Like real can’t-move-can’t-sleep-just-lay-in-fetal-position-and-cry pain. Not pleasant. But yeah. Only recently I’ve been told by my mum that, because of all the shit that went down, I lost my left ovary due to the infection after my appendix burst, and that I had only about 2 days to live, if I hadn’t been taken to a surgeon. And I really feel for my mum, because she lost her godmother because of this – appendicitis that was discovered too late.

    But anyways.. oh my, this has been too long and I kinda hope you won’t read this, ’cause I don’t want you to think that I’m like trying to make my situation be as bad or worse than yours was. I’m really not. I just wanted to tell someone this, ’cause there’s really no one I can talk to, or at least no one who would listen. I might as well just post this, because it took so much time to write. okay bye and thank you for listening

  24. I had the exact same series of collapses and hospital visits

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