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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just wrap your lips around it.... and blow (Pt 2 of my Three-Part Pulmonology Adventure!)

Today was my second appointment in my quest to figure out why I can’t breathe as well as I think I should – I was off to get Pulmonary Function Tests done.

I drove up to UF Health (aka Shands Hospital) and parked in the garage, and walked the LONG walk to the Pulmonary/Cardiology office on the ground floor. I used to work at Shands, a long time ago, and man it looked different (I’ve not been here in a decade).

Oh, I was in the wrong place.  I was told to go to the 6th floor.

At the 6th floor, I found Pulmonology… as well as an old coworker!  She and I shot the breeze while the receptionist looked me up…. and told me that I needed to be over at the Medical Plaza (an entirely different building). 

So, back downstairs, out the way I came in, past the parking garage, over to the OTHER building, then up in the elevator to the 4th floor, following lots of signs, feeling a bit like a rat in a maze, until FINALLY, I was in the right place!

I check in and wait in the lobby – no one else is here – and I was called back after about 10 minutes.

I’d done my research and watched some YouTube videos of PFTs last week, so I kind of knew what to expect.

Here is the tube that I needed to blow through.

You know how to PFT, don't you? Just put your lips together and blow...
First, was to breathe all the way in then breathe all the way out, forcing all the breath out even when you think you have no breath left.

Second was to breathe all the way in then SHOVE all the breath out, using your abdominal muscles (not your throat or chest muscles). I kept screwing up that one, using my throat, and choking myself.

Then third, she gave me a bronchodiolator and, after 10 minutes, had me repeat the first test to see if there was a difference.

The entire time I was doing these, I was in a little plastic bubble room.

Bad photo of the Little Room
It made me think of those old game shows where they would put you in a booth with money and a fan to blow the money around (most notable example: Dorothy on Golden Girls episode “Grab that Dough!”).

My mother always gushed about how she loved Dorothy's wardrobe
All in all, it was a very easy experience. For all of the tests, the tech put a clamp on my nose so that I didn’t leak out any air. That was weird!

Once I was done, I got a parking voucher (so I wasn't charged for parking) from the receptionist and headed back to my car. On the way back to the office, I stopped at Winn-Dixie for some breakfast (it was too early to grab lunch to bring back to work). I got a cream cheese coffee cake muffin and a diet Dr. Chek (or whatever they call it). The muffin was gross.

Next week – the finale – I see the Pulmonologist and see if he has any answers for me!