Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Friday, July 1, 2016

Supplemental Oxygen Test Results

The big medical test was yesterday: Did I need supplemental oxygen 24/7? After an early lunch and just hanging around waiting for it to settle, I was ready for the test. It began with blood pressure, temperature, saturation, height and weight information written on a form. We then moved to the room with the dreaded bike. I sat and was interviewed by a physician to make sure I was strong enough for the test. I had her laughing! I told her that Dr. K. and I had argued about whether I needed oxygen 24/7. But, since Dr. K. had won every argument for the last eleven years, I was due for a win. I was ready. I even had my yoga top on! The doctor really laughed when I started humming the "Rocky" song, "Gonna Fly Now!"

The wonderful tech put me on the bike, strapped a saturation meter on my forehead, put another on a finger as backup and kicked the bike on. Let the test begin! I had to keep it between 60-70 rpm while she registered my saturation rates. First 2 minutes - 10 watts of resistance. No problem. Next 2 minutes - 20 watts of resistance. Oh, hello there! Next 2 minutes - 40 watts of resistance. Okay, we're here to play. Not really horrible but harder and harder as the minutes ticked away. I was feeling done but.... 60 watts of resistance! I tried but could not finish it.

The results? My saturation rates never fell below 92 percent. I don't need supplemental oxygen 24/7!

The doctor couldn't believe it! She laughed and congratulated me! The tech walked me back down the hallway and was going into the pulmonary lab when the head of the lab spotted me. She asked how it went and I didn't need to say a word as my arms were raised in the Rocky poise and the theme song was lightly filling the room! I had beaten Dr. K. on a bet. For once. Finally.

Now, dear reader, you are not going to believe what happened next.

The campus of the university hospital is massive, with at least a dozen buildings including the hospital and clinic buildings. Lots of people are out on the wide sidewalks walking between all these buildings. After I made my way down the huge, slow elevator from the hospital, I crossed the street and headed to the valet parking area to pay then wait for my car. Within steps, there was Dr. K. walking beside me. I couldn't believe it. "Hi, there!" I said. She looked over at me and said, "Well, hello!" I notice when I bump into her outside the exam room, she never asks how I am feeling. Smart. "I just took the oxygen test," pausing for effect, "and I passed! 92%."

I swear that she smiled. Smiled! Dr. K.! "Great!"

Quickly changing the subject, I asked if she was taking off for her summer vacation. She said she just found out they were going to Cape Cod and was really looking forward to it.

At this point, I headed one way, she the other. I was still in shock that I had run into her. And still in shock that I had passed the test.

Maybe I should have bought a lottery ticket!

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