Go behind the scenes and witness what it felt like to have a lung collapse through this striking and intimate photo series called "Admitted." The last week in March is one that I will never forget.
It was the week of my spring break. I was headed to Cincinnati, Ohio, to visit family and do some photo shoots. It was going to be an epic trip. My flight was booked for that Sunday morning at 9 a.m. That was until I was packing up my bags and editing some photos I took the previous week, when all the sudden I felt what I thought was a massive "cramp" that went from my back to my chest.
It felt like I had an elephant on my chest, and it was stopping me from breathing even a single deep breath. Trying to relive the pain, I took asthma medicine because I thought it was that. I took pain meds and a hot shower, but the pain still did not go away; it only got worse. After eight hours of agonizing pain, that is when I decided to call 911.
A few minutes later at 2 a.m., the paramedics arrived and took over my living room. My heart was pounding at 150 beats per minute. They were scared I was going to have a heart attack. I have never felt so scared in my life.
Half an hour later my mom and I rush to the hospital where I was instantly admitted. Over the course of the next two days, I would be attached to IVs, have blood tests taken in the middle of the night, X-rays and CAT scans of my lungs, and really bad food. After eight hours of tests the doctors came in with the diagnosis. It was a collapsed lung.
The hole in my lungs was sized at ten percent, and therefore healed on its own. I told the doctors that I had a flight to catch at 9 a.m., but by the time they had detected the tear, it was 7 a.m. I wasn't going anywhere.
After four days of painful IVs and sleepless nights, I was finally released. When I got home, I realized the miracle that had just happened. If I were to have gotten on that plane, I would have died. The entire experience was one of the scariest I have ever felt, and I am incredibly thankful to even be alive.
After being discharged two long days later, the thought hit me that I should be thankful for the little things, like a deep breath after a long day, or even a short one. I never thought about how much I appreciated it until it was taken away from me. That is when I took it upon myself to start a new photo story that documented my recovery process, but also the excruciating pain I went through just hours before being called in.
This project is a series of self portraits that reflect the pain and recovery process of having a collapsed lung and the process it takes to cope with the fear and suffering that came with it.
What I Learned:
In spite of this scary and life-or-death situation, I walked away with a new perspective on my photography and outlook on life. Doing this project made me realize, as photographers, we have the ability to say things with our images that couldn't be possible with words. Photography since has become my strongest voice. If something is on your mind, shoot it!