Some time after midnight we decided to go to the ER

“Tell me if you feel any pain,” said the surgeon.

“Yeah I can feel you putting the tube into my side and it hurts,” I replied.

They had given me some medicine before the surgery to help with the pain but that did not keep me from feeling it. But how did I end up here and what is spontaneous pneumothorax anyway?

Michael Paine 015

The day had started like any other. I woke up. Went to school. Everything was normal. Then something weird happened before school. I had a sharp pain in my chest. Like most men I tried my best to ignore it. Took some ibuprofen from a friend and went on about my day.

Finished the school day. Went to work at my part time job. Came home. Had trouble sleeping. Which is not unusual. But this time I something was just not quite right. I told my mom about what happened earlier that day. Being that it was some time after midnight we decided to go to the ER.

Upon entering they asked me what my symptoms were. I mentioned not being able to sleep and the chest pain earlier in the day. They processed me in due time. And then took me for an X-ray.

Once they found out what had happened they felt bad they were not quicker.

My right lung had collapsed.


Surprisingly my oxygen levels were normal with only one functioning lung. But it was determined that I needed surgery immediately. Once the on-call surgeon showed he got to work right away.

Once in seventh grade I sent a letter to a girl after I had went to the middle school dance with her.

I sat alone in my room staring at the phone. I finally got the courage to dial. She picked up and I’m sure I mumbled. I have no idea how I got the nerve to ask her. And she said yes. Shayla agreed to go to the seventh grade social with me. We danced together to about two songs. I had no idea where she was the rest of the time. I was too dumb to know that she didn’t like me.

The letter I sent her after that dance never got a reply. I always wondered if she even received it. It wasn’t until later in high school I found out from the girl I was dating that she did get. Like I said I was too dumb to know that she didn’t like me.

I am remembering what I did when I was 17.

My lung collapsed. I finally started dating. I was promoted at my part time job to be a customer service manager. I taught myself how to drive and got my drivers license. I had a lot of money to spend which got wasted on a lot of fast food and anime and star wars toys.

Michael Paine 014

Why does it matter what I was doing when I was 17? Because today is Day 47 of Claudia’s book Become An Idea Machine. The goal is to come up with 10 ideas of what I would do if I were seventeen again and had 20,000 dollars to spend for an entire year. How would I explore? What could I do?

I am not sure what I really would have seeing what a mess my life was. I was stressed out. Worried. Arrogant. And more.

But here are 10 things I would have liked to have done.

1 Traveled outside of the U.S. (I’ve only done this once.)
2 Live away from home for a year. (I probably could have done this because when I was 18 I moved out and couldn’t have been making more than $20K anyways).
3 Buy a motorcycle. (I did this later in life, more on that another day.)
4 Gone skiing.
5 Buy an affordable used vehicle and go on a week long road trip. Or just until the money ran out.
6 Start a company. (I was always making up ones anyways.)
7 Buy and learn how to shoot guns.
8 Buy a nice suit.
9 Buy and learn to play a guitar or other musical instrument.
10 Blow it!

My imaginary 17 year old self would be incredibly irresponsible. Probably because I really was an incredibly responsible seventeen year old.

Here is what I probably really would have done:

1 Saved the money for college. (I paid for some of it on my own anyways.)
2 Payed off my dad for the car. (He bought it and I paid him back.)
3 Gave my parents money to help them pay off things.
4 —
5 —
6 —
7 —
8 —
9 —
10 —

What a waste of $20,000!

Instead of wasting money, why don’t you get some here and now:

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