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Breathing Test and Running along Cherry Creek

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Part 1: Yet Another Breathing Torture Test

Last Tuesday I was subjected to a bronchial provocation test. This test is used to determine if a person has hyperresponsive airways, also called twitchy airways. Of course, they had to put me in the dreaded plastic box again.

The person that administered the test was a young woman. I noticed she had an enormous scorpion tattoo on her ankle.

This did not fill me with a lot of confidence. I suspected she was a member of an underground society dedicated to inflicting pain on unsuspecting pulmonary patients.

The bronchial provocation test is really simple. Scorpion Woman put me in the big plastic box and had me breath through a tube to test my lung volumes. The procedure is to get three tests that agree. Here is where the trouble begins. Since my lungs are big, there is a lot of variability in the test results. Ideally, a person should only go through each test phase 2 times.

I had to do each test phase 8 to 10 times!

The first part of the test I had to blow into the tube to get a baseline of my "normal" lung capacity. Then I was given the "challenge agent" which is a foul tasting poison called "Methacholine". I am sure the use of this stuff in war is outlawed by the Geneva Convention!

Scorpion Woman fills a hypodermic needle with this foul concoction. I am concerned that I am about to get a lethal injection!

No such luck!

She squirts the awful stuff into a nebulizer, which turns a liquid death into inhaled death. She hands me the nebulizer and, with a evil gleam in her eye, hits to "on" switch. I breath this horrible stuff into my abused lungs and immediately go into coughing spasms. I hack up veritable buckets of icky slime. (Sorry for TMI)

After I cough up both my lungs, I ask "Is this normal?" Scorpion Woman gives me a toothy grin, "It happens sometimes." I get back in the box and blow into the tube again. My lungs hurt really badly. I give a mental ring to god and ask him if I torqued him off somehow. He just tells me to quit whining and blow into the tube!

That was only round one. I go through this process of sucking in noxious fumes, having a coughing fit, and blowing into the tube 8 more times! Even the evil Scorpion Woman is concerned. She tells me the the test is only supposed to use three doses of poison and says, "You are a trouper."

After I am finally done with the test I have to sit in a chair for a while. Scorpion Woman gets me some water. I recover enough to make my escape.

I won't get to know the results until November 29th, when I meet with the pulmonologist.

Part 2: Cherry Creek Run

On Wednesday I decided to hit the new free gym in my office building. I did a spinning bike workout for 30 minutes and decided to go for a run down the Cherry Creek path.

This path goes right through the heart of downtown Denver. For flood control, Cherry Creek was lowered 12 feet below street level and is lined with walls. Since I work downtown now, I have come to realize that Denver is a squeaky clean city, as far as cities go.

I ran 5K in 32:31 at an average pace of 10:28 minutes per mile. I started off at my old training pace of 9:30 minutes per mile but could not maintain that pace and slowed down after the first mile.

I have some work to do. I think I would have done a bit better had I not hit the spinning bike first. However, I had a great time. I had sucked on my inhaler before working out, which I think helps.

This "new normal" kind of sucks, or blows, depending on the situation.

Thanks for reading my blog.

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