There was this one time that I had a collapsed lung. It’s a pretty funny story, albeit one best left for another time. For today’s purposes, you just need to know how it ended.
When I arrived (on foot, of course) at the ER clutching the note Pittsburgh’s finest had helpfully affixed to my dorm room door, a pair of doctors was waiting for me. A quick wheelchair ride and an x-ray later, I was on a bed having a huge needle shoved into the side of my chest:
“We’re gonna stick this big-ass needle in your chest.”
“Oh. Okay. Cool?”
The nurse explained that sucking the air out of the sack containing my lungs and heart would keep the atmosphere from crushing my lung any further. She neglected to explain the reason I’d soon find a tube running from my chest to a giant white box, which I would be carrying around the hospital for days like some sort of nerdy, crippled, white bread version of Radio Raheem.
After a night in the hospital, I had a another conversation with the medical team:
“We were wondering, do you want your lung to collapse at some future, as-of-yet unpredicted time?”
“Um. Well. No?”
“Cool, gotcha. We’ll let the surgeon know.”
Based on that conversation, some folks cut another couple of holes in my chest, one for the camera, and the other for the high-tech medical equipment that was all the rage in the nineties: a knife, a pair of forceps, a stapler. To this day, I’m still not sure how it’s possible to staple a lung back together. On the plus side, I’ve gone fourteen years without having a lung collapse. Read more…