The Lung Function Test
Before my specialist was able to send me forward to be considered for Endobronchial Valves, I had to satisfy certain criteria, and for them to find out if I was the right candidate, I had to perform a full lung function test at the Hospital. This showed my specialist where the biggest problems were in my lungs and also how much air I was shifting through them etc. I hated doing this test, anyone who has had a spirometry will tell you its hard work and this was twice as hard as a regular spirometry and took much longer.
The First Hurdle – The Breathing Test
When I woke up on the morning of my test I couldn’t believe it (another Victor Meldrew moment), my breathing was off and I was feeling terrible. I had been having a really good spell, so it was s… law, that this would be the case today. However, I was not going to miss this appointment, if it killed me I was going to have this done. I knew to move ahead I needed to keep all of these appointments which would come in order to have these valves or anything else done. So determination had to be my second name! As you may imagine by the time I arrived at the hospital and navigated to the right department I was absolutely out of breath and the nurse in charge was in two minds whether it was a good time to have it done.
I sat down had a cup of water and had soon calmed the breathing down and was ready for this horrible machine! You sit in a chair and they put a huge snorkel type thing in your mouth, (my mouth is very small so I struggled) and if that wasn’t bad enough, they then put a clip on your nose, stopping any air from moving in and out except of course when you breath through the snorkel. When you are not feeling well it is not an easy thing to do. But, I was determined and I managed to give it a good go. At least I thought I will know what my readings are on a bad day. Surprisingly you get quite used to breathing in and out of the machine but I think it would have been easier if my mouth had been bigger. The mouthpiece was very large and I wondered if that contributed my rubbish result of 21% FV1 which was awful, I was a bit fed up but consoled myself by the fact it had been done on one of my bad days.
I didn’t bother to walk back to the car a porter came and pushed me in a wheel chair, I was bushed. But I felt a bit like celebrating at least that was one hurdle over!
The Next Hurdle – The Scan
Had my high density scan soon after, the appointment came through very quickly and I also received a letter from the Chest Physio team to attend an assessment with them, they have got me on their waiting list.
The scanner looked very much like the one in my photo and I went in feet first. They were very kind and asked me to breath in then out then in again several times. It was a fairly easy process what was hard was getting there. I woke up on the morning of my scan feeling absolutely terrible again, I am beginning to wonder now if its to do with anxiety this. My breathing was so laboured it took me ages to get ready and I even contemplated not going for a second. Then I thought, well if you want to get an improved life with this disease you had better man up and get on with it. I did my hair, sat on a chair to put on my clothes and then slapped some make up on. It always makes you feel better if you look nice and my trousers actually fastened for the first time since I bought them. I have found with this illness that being in control of SOMETHING makes things feel a bit better and loosing weight is one of those things.
Well back to my journey to the hospital I made sure I had enough time to get there and had everything on me that I needed appointment letter, phone and purse, then made my way to the car. Well. as I sank down in the car seat I was gasping for breath and that same voice was saying. ring them and make it for another week but the same voice was telling me to get on with it so I did, I arrived in good time at the hospital and hallelujah there was a parking space conveniently placed opposite the main doors. i pulled in and took my inhaler several times and set off for the reception, after having to stop 3 times to catch my breath I nearly collapsed on the reception counter and gave in and asked for a porter to take me the rest of the way. Well you have to put your hands up sometimes and say sorry that’s it can’t do any more so that’s just what I did!!
The scan was a real breeze and it was finished so quickly. I laid there with my arms above my head and I could have fallen asleep. Then, I had the trip back to the car. The nurse wheeled me down to the front door and it was great to get back into my car and home.Where I took out my rescue pack and started a course of doxycycline. And sure enough was feeling better in a couple of days.
Now its waiting for the results which I am not too fond of getting I just hope that things aren’t so much worse than the one I had in 2011. I hate getting these results because they are always awful and It sends me in a downward spiral of feeling sorry for myself. After a few days I get back my positive head but I just prefer not to know the results. As long as I can have the operation done they can keep their results to themselves!
A few weeks later Dr Graham called me in for a chat about the results, I don’t know if they were any worse than the previous scan in 2011, I didn’t ask. But it showed the damage to the top of my lungs and as the scan moved down things got a bit better. Soooo she put me forward for Leeds! see Dr Sending Request to St James.