Friday, November 30, 2012

Things are a bit less fuzzy...

I've had 3 sets of tests now, but since the Dr. just got the last results yesterday I won't see him until Tuesday.

The first test was a stress ECG, but since walking from the parking lot into the hospital, riding the elevator up and then down the hall to the office knocked my O2 to the low 80's (though I was wearing my walkaround bottle), they wouldn't do the stress part and called my doctor, who told them just to do the ECG/sonogram part. Strange to watch the valves opening and closing and the whole thing beat while you're lying on the table!

The next day a respiratory therapist came to the house to do a respiratory stress test. Starting with it set at the 2 liters a minute my Dr. had prescribed, up and down my driveway once (250') had dropped me from 98% to 81% and she made me sit down on the patio. She turned it up to 3 and after my levels came back up and my heart slowed to normal, we tried again. That time it was 83%, and we stopped again, and kept going up until at 6 liters a minute, with her telling me to slow down (I was already moving much slower than I ever would have at work) I was at 89% when they want me to stay at 90%. (Below that does brain damage, apparently.)

So now I leave my concentrator in the house set on 2 unless I'm getting up to do something, then turn it up to 4 or 5 (max on it). If I'm walking I'm supposed to turn my little bottles up to 6 and walk slow; that means they last about 20 minutes. Riding in the car, 2 works; driving or talking 3 works, slowly sauntering through a store I can get away with 4 and drop to around 96%...

There is no way I can go back to work without the oxygen; there is no way I can do my job with it, so it seems I'm about to retire again..

The sleep test last Saturday night was interesting. Within an hour I ended up on a CPAP machine and for the first time in many years, I actually slept 4 hours straight! Supposedly I "qualified" for a machine, but haven't heard anything more.

So that's where things stand for now. The last of my vacation days run out on Tuesday and we'll see where it goes from there!

Meanwhile, I sleep 10-12 hours a day, nap in the afternoon sometimes and read and watch far too much news and play a few video games as I wait to be told what is really going on.

May life be kind to each of you!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Adding up the numbers...

after a week and half playing with an oximeter led to a doctors appointment this morning.

   I knew I'd experienced a decline in my lung function over the last year and it had been much more dramatic these last few months after a couple of rounds of broncitis/pneumonia this summer and one a few weeks ago. Buying the oximeter gave me numbers to put with it: sitting at rest, doing nothing, anywhere from 92-96%; doing most anything at all drops it into the mid-80's; continued activity into the low 80's and I've seen the numbers as low as 78-79 in a few instances. 2 weeks ago they sent me home from work as my lips were turning blue and I was coughing up blood as that last round of chest misery broke up. (Made me think of Mark and all the stories I've read of surfers getting slammed and how at least they were having fun before they got to that part!) The blood is supposed to be a side effect from the COPD and coughing too much, but the blue is what led me to research oximeters and find one for $34 that was quick and accurate.

   So going in with those numbers and the other symptoms have led to my being scheduled for a sleep test, along with a stress EKG to see if my enlarged heart is part of the problem. Also I'm being set up not only with oxygen to sleep under, but a portable unit that I'm supposed to wear to work, etc.. I'm not quite sure what my employer will make of that one!

   I just know I'm tired of being exhausted all the time and that my quality of life isn't what I wanted for my 90's, let alone my 50's!

   So that's where things are at here. I hope all of you are well and looking forward to the holidays with your loved ones gathered around you if you can! I know I am!

    May life be kind to each of you!