When I got to hospital the paramedic who was with me took me into reception and spoke to the person at the desk for me. I can’t remember what was said between them, I just remember sitting down in the waiting area and saying I was in a lot of pain. The paramedic said she was going to sit with me until they took me through but after what seemed like a lifetime but was probably only a minute or two she said something that probably went like “I think you should probably be seen to quicker than this so I’m just going to have a word with the lady on the desk” but what I actually heard was “they aren’t taking this serious enough, you’ll die if not seen in the next 3 seconds so I’m going to give the receptionist a bollocking”. She came back and about 10 seconds later a doctor came out to get me.
They took me through to the room and by this point my mum was arriving and came in with me. She wasn’t looking as panicked as I expected. I don’t think she understood how much pain I was in. The thing I found strange was that my brother wasn’t there. I can’t remember if he said why but I can understand why he wouldn’t want to. He maybe didn’t think it was serious or he maybe just didn’t want to dredge up bad memories.
My mum came into the room with me while the doctor checked me over. He took one listen to me and said he was pretty sure it was a punctured lung. I can’t remember if I got the painkillers now or later but as soon as I got them things went fuzzy. The order of events might be a bit off but this is what I remember. I was panicking, they gave me painkillers to stop the pain but also to calm me down, I think I got diazepam but I’m not sure. He asked if I would allow students to come in and have a listen to my chest and I obliged.
I went for some x-rays. When I came back he confirmed for sure that I had suffered about as severe a collapsed lung as you can get. He explained he would have to put a chest drain in. I panicked some more, thinking it would be like the one Mark Wahlberg’s character gets in Three Kings. Looking back I would have been lucky to get that. Instead he gave me a local anaesthetic (I think) and then under my armpit a couple of ribs down he cut open a hole and slid a tube through my flesh and into my chest cavity. The tube going into my chest was connected to a drain type bottle at the other end. The tube went into the bottle and under the water so the air from my lung was sucked out and into this drain, or at least that was the idea. I freaked out a fair bit at having a chest drain in because it looked horrible having this thing stuffed in me connected by tubes to a bucket that was slowly starting to look like a bucket of blood with all the funky stuff coming out of my chest.
I was so out of it that I asked for my mum to go get me a burger because I was hungry. She told me the doctor said I couldn’t ear, so I said “OK then a chilli hot dog”. Somehow I thought that wasn’t food. When I sobered up a bit more I was placed in what I think was the respiratory ward. I was told I’d be here for at least a couple of days until my lung started to hopefully inflate itself and stick to the lining in my chest cavity.