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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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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nice running trail--horrible breathing test with Scorpion Woman-=-==It made me laugh tho!--LOL-Lynda emoticon
    2329 days ago
    I've never really looked at the breathing machines before . thanks for the post.
    2329 days ago
    My doctor suggests using the inhaler prior to exercise. I found when I did my tri's that I would need it with the swimming piece first. so then I started inhaling my puffs before i jumped in the water.

    I am cracking up about your scorpion woman with the toothy grin.

    Praying that your tests give you some answers!
    2329 days ago
    I love the pic of your running place! I'm super jealous! I want to run there!
    I hope everything works out alright with the breathing stuff.

    2330 days ago
    Love your humorous description of the testing process but know that when you were going through it there wasn't really the humor in it. But you got it done. Hope the tests let you know something productive after having to go through that. I love the looks of that path you have to run on!
    2330 days ago
  • BILL60
    Way to survive "Scorpion Woman".
    2330 days ago
    Sounds like the "spirometer" lung function test...
    2330 days ago
    Never heard of that breathing test before. It sounds awful. Glad you survived ok.
    2330 days ago
  • NWFL59
    Your runnin. g path looks inviting! Glad to read that (hopefully) the worst of your tests are over with your treatment (whatever it turns out to be) is effective. emoticon
    2330 days ago
    That is a beautiful running course! I will have to check that out someday!

    I love how you told the tale about scorpion woman - that would freak me out too! What exactly were you inhaling? I would have told her she was nuts and gone home!
    2330 days ago
    Ugh... medical testing. I try to avoid medical testing if I can, just for the annoyance factor. Plus my insurance sucks. She's right about one thing though, you are a trooper!
    2330 days ago
    Ah yes, we do those every day where I work. We call it a Methacholine Challenge. Fun times. Thankfully, my asthma was diagnosed clinically and I have never had to do this test. Glad it's over for you! The trail looks beautiful!
    2330 days ago
    YIKES!! I hope that's all the testing you need.
    Fab workout!! Beautiful path.
    2330 days ago
    Hope your test comes out okay.
    Denver was my home for about a year and a half when I first moved to the U.S.
    Great pic.
    2331 days ago
  • MPLANE37
    I think you are doing great. Keep it up!
    2331 days ago
    Hey Bruce -- loved reading about your torture by the Scorpion Lady. Sounds like an awful procedure and it sounds like your sense of humor made it possible to tolerate at all. Great going.

    I guess the pulmonary guys are looking for a way to get you off the inhaler you use before exercise? Sure hope you get a good result. You are an animal on the trail now -- with even better lung function you'll be unstoppable! Good luck.

    2331 days ago
    And exactly why do you have to ingest WWI chlorine/phosgene army levelers when you can puff and inhaler and run a 5k in 30 minutes? If the scorpion lady says you are worse, what can you/they do about it?
    2331 days ago
    If that is a picture of the Cherry Creek path, I would visit Denver just to run on that thing. It looks awesome.
    2331 days ago
    those breathing tests are real monsters, right?
    2331 days ago
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