Contact with lung patients
Around 10 years ago, something serious happened. I suddenly found myself with a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) and was treated with a thorax drain, a small tube that passes between your ribs into the lung cavity. The lung re-expanded and sealed the hole in the lung, until six weeks later, when I opened a folder whilst on holiday in Austria and my lung collapsed again straight away. I spent a week in an Austrian hospital, where I recovered.
After being back home in the Netherlands for just two weeks, having been discharged from hospital in Austria, fate struck once again. I was diagnosed with a collapsed lung once again. The treatment was a pleurodesis, i.e. “sticking” the lung back together again. I was admitted to the lung department of a Rotterdam hospital. During the three weeks I spent there, I regularly spoke to other lung patients, who were generally older people whose entire working lives were already behind them. These people were being treated for a wide range of disorders such as COPD, asthma, fibrosis, lung cancer etc. I heard many of their personal stories, which served to inspire me.