If you have been listening to one of the last episodes of No Agenda, you have probably heard Adam talk about the health issues I’ve been dealing with. Now that I’m back home and able to sit up straight for longer periods without too much pain, I’d like to share my story.

English isn’t my first language, so if my wording seems strange, now you know why. I’ve done my best to exclude icky details and graphical descriptions, but a word to the cautious: if you don’t like to read about medical stuff, perhaps it’s better to skip this one.

The situation I’m facing started approximately two months ago, when out of nowhere my lung collapsed. It was the second occurrence; the first time was about two years ago. Hence, contrary to the first time, as soon as it occurred I recognised this awful burning sensation and shortness of breath instantly.

Also similar to the first time was how suddenly it happened. This time it was a relaxed Saturday morning, I woke up in a good mood, had a few laughs with the missus, and went out of bed to sit behind my desk.

Then, all of a sudden.. BLAM! I was hit by a horrific burning sensation in my chest. I can still remember my first thought: “Oh no, not again…”

So there we went again, called the doctor and drove to the hospital where I had a chest X-ray, which confirmed what I already knew. A larger part of my lung collapsed this time and it sure hurt a lot more, too. While we were driving every bump in the road felt like a match was being lit in my chest.

When we arrived at the hospital’s ER, the procedure was similar like last time: they inserted a chest drain through my ribs which sucked air and exudate (if that’s the right word) from my chest. After a day or two the mucus membrane from my lung had re-glued itself back to the chest where it is supposed to be.

But because this was the second collapse, I was advised to undergo a surgical procedure called a pleurectomy: put simply, they anaesthetise, remove out the lung’s mucus membrane (‘pleura’ in medical terms) and scrape the chest on the inside which causing scabbing, which should glue the lung back to the chest more firmly.

Due to the unpredictability of the collapses — I’d hate to think of it happening while I’m driving — the choice was easy. Four weeks later the pleurectomy was performed, and a very small portion of my lung was sent to the lab for further examination. Luckily they did not find anything seriously bad in the lab. What a relief.

The most likely cause according to my surgeon had to do with small vesicles on my lung. Apparently vesicles are not too uncommon, and when even just one of those things pops, it could cause an air pocket to get stuck in the chest or a hole to in the lung. You can roughly compare it to when you take two ordinary balloons, put one inside of the other, inflate the inner one and prick a hole in it: the air will move into the outer balloon (i.e. the chest) and the inner balloon – the lung – deflates.

After the procedure, when they woke me up, I had an epidural, two chest drains and no strength at all. But almost two really hard weeks later I had recovered well enough to be discharged. That’s where I’m at now.

I didn’t expect it all to be this intensive, but at least I’m back home again. I’m still dealing with pain of the nagging kind and sometimes I get these sudden surges that are really intense. Standing and walking still hurt me the most.

Those surges of pain are probably the result of nerve damage. I’m hoping it’s a temporary thing; right now it causes me to not feel anything on a small part of my chest. It hurts bad around the edges, and the sutured wounds through which I had the two chest drains really hurt as well.

But hey, it’s not all bad. The good things I took from this is that I’ve quit smoking for three weeks now, and I’m really intent to get back into shape. I’m motivated as always to continue building cool things for the Best Podcast [in the universe]. So I’m certainly not bummed out or anything. It’s not going as fast as I had hoped, but as soon as I’m ready I’ll pick up where I left off, I have so many items waiting on my todo-list…