Note: At the end of this post are links to previous posts about my lung disease. I’ll keep these links at the end of each subsequent post, or figure out how to add a Table Of Contents.
As you can read back in previous posts, I am embarking on the next phase of my taming of my lung disease. While I’ve spent the last 15 months discovering, experimenting, and fretting about what so far remains a bit of a mystery, I spent the last couple trying to get back into a routine, a productive routine; first for my health, then for my mind, and who knows, maybe for your interest as well.
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been storm clouds every day. I’ve met a ton of new people both with shared interests and with interests that they’ve enticed me to share. I’ve had a blast talking sports, TV, Falling Skies, politics, music, the video business and lots of other great subjects. That I hope to continue.
However, if one question persists, it is the physicality of my life going forward. While I am not great at team sports, I did enjoy activities like bowling. I enjoyed being with others, walking around, visiting new places, and just being real life social.
Now, I need to know just how to make as much of this happen without great stress and strain in my part, but still not become a drag on the proceedings.
Enter Pulmonary Rehab and Education. That has entered my life as of today, a little delayed because of the co-pay cost for each visit, but arriving none the less. I started the sessions this morning at Lankenau Hospital, which BTW is where I was born in 1955. Nothing like repeat business.
First good news: FREE PARKING!!!!
Second good news: I survived the first day. Of course, that was easy because today was essentially orientation. This was the day to take a mound of paperwork, much of which repeats the multiple other mounds of paperwork that the medical profession has on me in the Philadelphia area. This was also a day to finally stop fearing what I could do and start confronting it head on.
The boring play by play. I had my vital signs taken. The fact that I had vital signs was a good start. The hope is to have vital signs when I leave 90 minutes later.
Having accomplished this, I was then hooked up to a pocket monitor, thankfully with only four of those adhesive contacts. This is good because I have a hairy chest, and hairy chests and adhesives hate each other. Big time Ouchies!!!!
The session itself is a regular modified workout session. Starting with 5 minutes of warmups, which were similar to the warmups I used to do, except with no small weights yet. Then a blood pressure and pulseox test. This would repeat after each activity.
Then off to the treadmill, which was my first “kinda” fail. Since it was been a while since real exercise, and since I’ve been afraid to try to walk too far, this was sloooooooow. I wanted to do 5 minutes, only did 3. At a pace alternating between 1.0 and 1.2 miles. Not fast.
I’ll stop here and mention that all of this is now done with an oxygen hose in my nostrils. That will take some getting used to. I thought of it the entire time I was on the treadmill. For those expecting laughs, I did NOT fly off the treadmill, nor did I attempt to recreate an OK GO video.
Done with that, BP and PulseOx and onto what I called the Arm Cycle. The nurse told me what it was, I forget. I did this very well, and my oxygen levels stayed pretty good. To get through the five minutes as I turned the handles, I pictured children somewhere excited by the magic ice cream that I was dispensing.
I got no ice cream. I got BP and PulseOx. Then I got on the stationary bike. I rule the stationary bike. I ruled it when I got my knee replacements, and I still am a god on it. For five minutes. For now.
BP and you get the idea.
Finally, hand weights. Started with 3 pound weights. Baby stuff. Why not give me a rattle and a binky?
Do the weight exercises well, though I have to remember to keep my arms straight, and not reaching back like I am trying to reverse direction. Still, aced it!
BP, PulseOx and a mojito.
Wait, no mojito. Damn.
Finally, the cool down. Not any cooler, only breeze is coming from my mouth as I try to learn proper breathing techniques for these exercises. When you have been breathing one way since birth, changing this is like switching eyeballs to opposite sockets. Call this one an “incomplete”.
So, that was my day, a day of just getting used to the process. On Wednesdays, I’ll have a pulmonary class. I will have to sit up straight, no talking. I hope there are no flash quizzes.
Join me Wednesday. I’ll try to fall off the treadmill in a very funny way for you.
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