What can you tell me about pneumothorax?

So I’m currently enjoying the hospitality of, uh, an hospital since my right lung decided to quit the game and fold saturday night. (Spontaneous primary pneumothorax) I fit the profile lile a glove, apparently - tall, thin, male and [del]dashingly handsome[/del] a smoker.

I didn’t know this was something lungs apparently do, occasionally, just to remind us that Mother Nature may well have given us flowers and sunsets, but also the Australian trap-door spider. Since the literature and material I can access is either curt, vague and repetetive I’d like to hear if some of my fellow Dopers have stories to share!

To clarify, I’m not asking for medical advice, just what happened to folks or folks they know. :slight_smile:

Warning: this story probably won’t encourage you.

My cousin had this happen about a decade ago. They put in a chest tube to reinflate it and sent him home a couple days later.

A few days after that, his other lung collapsed. Back to the hospital, another chest tube. Then a few days later, the first lung collapsed again. And then the other one, again. At that point, the doctors decided they needed to operate, and did some kind of awful procedure where they fused the inner and outer linings of his lungs together so air couldn’t get into the pleural space. He said the recovery hurt like hell. He was in the hospital for several weeks and with all the checkups and activity restrictions, he was basically lying around unable to do much for a long time, 4-5 months.

The good news is, that was ten years ago and he hasn’t had any problems since the surgery. He runs marathons and stuff and is healthy as a horse. But I remember him being bored, miserable, and in a lot of pain for awhile. To this day, nobody has any idea why it happened like that.

Of course, I also had a classmate this happened to and he went into the hospital, got fixed up in a few days, and it never happened again. So there’s probably a very wide range of experiences out there. Feel better soon!

Time to give up scuba diving… or too late to start.

Spontaneous pneumothorax is an absolute contraindication.

Moved MPSIMS --> IMHO, home for all threads on medical topics (anecdotes as well as advice).

Spider Robinson, the author, suffers from this condition, and has described it in his novel “Very Bad Deaths” (which features a character much like Spider, also suffering from this condition).

Yep, was gonna teach the neff scuba this summer - until he got one. Boy is 6’2" and weighs about 128. My left LEG used to weigh that much.:smiley:

Because he was so thin, he had troubles with it collapsing twice after two surgeries.

The third time was the charm. They litereally superglued the lung to the chest wall. He’s having a rough time getting himself going since it all happened in April. He is supposed to exercise but hasn’t been real cooperative about it. His mother and sister are all over him about it, so we’ll see. He’s about due to go back to high school in the fall.

The best plan is plenty of rest, exercise, and moderation in painkillers - and just hope he gets back on his feet.

A guy I’ve known all my life had a spontaneous tension pneumo while getting off of an airplane (apparently that happens). He was returning home from an overseas military deployment. In Germany. In 1945. He’s currently 92 years old and still going strong.

I experienced the condition with my left lung while in the military. Chest tube inserted, lung re-inflated and I was released from the hospital after 4 days. I have experienced no symptoms or ill affects since and that was about 40 years ago.

I got my pneumothorax from a car wreck in 1991. Laying on the table in the ER, I got to have the tube JAMMED into my chest by a resident(?) doc. Anyway, a kid who looked about my age at the time (21). This was his first time and he was very hesitant. The big doc was reminding him of stuff like, “Remember, hold it tightly x distance down the length of the tube and really stab it in hard.” The guy gave a few tentative pokes and said, “I think I’m hitting a rib.” Did I mention I’m screaming my remaining lung out? So the doc grabbed the tube, gave a few pokes and said, "No that’s the [intercardial-whatever] between the ribs and you’ve got to punch through it. So the guy took the tube, measured off the correct distance, and STABBED. He did it right because when I breathed in to scream again, I got a huge load of air. Enough to show me just how little I’d been getting. So instead of a huge scream, I gasped, “It worked!” After that, I spent the next week draining through the tube and practicing breathing in with a little floating ping-pong-ball device.

When I was 23, I went to the medical center complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath over the previous 2-3 days that I idiotically thought was heart burn. The doctor, listening for my heart with his stethoscope, asked me if I realized I had Situs inversus. (No, I had never heard of such a thing.) This prompted a chest X-ray, which revealed that my left lung had collapsed, pushing my heart to the right side of my chest. Spontaneous pneumothorax. I stayed in the hospital for a couple of days with a chest tube, and then underwent a surgical procedure where they blasted the lung with something like talcum powder to encourage tissue growth. The recovery from that procedure was the most painful experience in my life, but I was out of the hospital after just a week, and felt fully recovered not too long after that. And despite all the pain, I have fond memories of Vicodin-induced euphoria, after the worst of it was over. Afterwards they told me I was at risk for this happening to my other lung, but so far, five years later, I’ve been okay.

Happened to my college roommate. He was sitting up in bed, gasping, and said, “call an ambulance; I think I’m having a heart attack.”

I don’t remember how long he was in the hospital, but he came back with the bitchinest scar that went half way around his torso. Looked like he’d been half-way sawed in two. He didn’t recover fast enough to catch up on his classes, and lost the entire semester.

That was back in the late seventies. He’s now in his fifties and doing fine. As far as I know, it never bothered him again.

Hi. I was a respiratory therapist for about 20 years, so I’ve seen and treated plenty of them. Most people recover quite nicely after the chest tube is inserted and the lung reinflates and the holes heal over, which barring complications or pre-existing conditions, should be just a few days. If there is any way you can quit smoking, now’s the time. Don’t worry about trying and failing. Try and fail as many times as you want – there’s no shame in it. Persist, man, persist. I’ll check this thread often to see how you’re doing.