IamA 35yo male who just suffered my first spontaneous pneumothorax. AMA!
My short bio: I am 35 years old, 5'9", 135 lbs. I was a smoker for 16 years at half a pack a day but quit 7 years ago. Last week I experienced sudden chest pain on the left side which extended through my neck, back, and arm all along the left. Not that I've had a heart-attack before but that was my first thought based on what I've seen on TV :)
The pain went away a hour later so I attributed it to gas pain or muscle strain as I had golfed 36 holes that day. The next day I developed a severe cough and the pain returned for a little bit then went away again. I progressively got better throughout the week.
5 days after the initial pain I was walking to work when I became extremely tired, out of breath, and experienced severe chest pain which would get worse with each step. If I stopped walking the pain would subside.
Lying down on my back was out of the question. The only comfort was to stand straight up.
My father-in-law is a cardiologist so I went to his office which was closer than a hospital. There I had a ECHO(sp) and ECG which both came back normal. He sent me down for a chest x-ray.
My left lung had collapsed 90%. He took me to the hospital, with a copy of my chest xray on CD to give to the docs, and I sat in the emergency room for 4.5 hours before anyone did anything.
Eventually I was given an oxygen mask and then had to wait again for the surgeon to arrive and put in a pigtail chesttube through the front of my chest.
The pressure from the suction on the tube was incredible. I thought my chest was going to explode.
It's now been 4 days since the tube has been removed. I am still short of breath a bit when walking up the stairs, and every now and then I can hear+feel some weird bubbling noise/sensation from inside my chest which Im told is normal while my lung heals but it freaks me out.
I also smoked quite a bit of pot for 20 years. I have decided to quit smoking pot and vaporizers.
I know that reading the internet for medical related stuff is a no no and will only scare the shit out of me but can't help it. All I am reading about is people who've had one, get more.
My Proof: Not sure what proof I can put other than a picture of me with a chest tube http://i.imgur.com/gk7xqC6.jpg?1
Here is another pic from today showing my face and my logged in reddit session. http://i.imgur.com/6J8YtKM.jpg
UPDATE: I removed the pressure bandage a few mins ago. really sore and tender around the incision. Amazing how small it is.
TLDR; My lung spontaneously collapsed at 35yo.