I thought I was having a bad day Thursday when I got a parking ticket for $49 in Long Beach as I frivolously shopped for a new coat before meeting friends for dinner. I thought my luck was getting WORSE the next morning when I got another parking ticket for $49 on my block because I forgot to move my car. I never, ever get parking tickets. But I didn’t know that later in the day, I would go to acupuncture and end up in the hospital with a collapsed lung.

There was a rainbow of pain: The kind that feels like a piece of glass jutting in my side on the way to the hospital. The pain of so much waiting, being treated like a junkie in the ER until they understood I had something seriously wrong with me. The pain of having a tube jammed in my chest to let the air of the pulmonary protective sac out, and to let my lung fill back up (think B-movie with a woman screaming on a table, people in white coats all around, and that’s pretty close). The pain of having to be very, very still as this tube stayed in my lung overnight and the next day. The pain of fleeting sleep from so many beeps and pokes.

But of course, with all this comes the good. A good man who sat through all the gruesome parts of it and acted as my PR guy, calling my parents and my coworkers and friends and giving them updates. All the flowers. All the well wishes. That I’m OK now. And the blessing that I wore pretty underwear that day, because a lot of people saw it.

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Vanessa McGradyPerspective

Comments 3

  1. marthalena

    Oh, Vanessa! That’s just terrible. I’m so glad you’re on the road to recovery now!

    (I got a parking ticket and a random-I’m-so-totally-contesting- it-stop sign ticket last week, too. I think they’re trying to make revenue or something…)

    On another note, have you told the acupuncturist? Was it obvious right afterwards or did it take a doctor to figure out? Please, we want more details!!!

  2. Don Cummings

    Alternative Medicine!

    We have to get to a point when we embrace ALL of it–and then, we can standardize it, be scientific about it, so these things do not happen.

    I am so sorry for your horrendous pain. Pain is awful. I also understand what it’s like to feel great pain and then to have it subside. There is a big lesson in it. And—this is life. The mortality ride. No one gets out alive.

    You are a solider and a goddess.

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