I’m a Non-Believer

I’d checked Weatherbug yesterday. When I talked to my cousin yesterday afternoon, we were talking about how today was supposed to be a nice day. All indications were that it would be mostly sunny and very warm (make that HOT).

Today was The Day I was to go to the Mother Ship, again, and have my pulmonary function test, arterial blood gases and a six minute walking test. PFT, ABG and 6MWT were on my little card that said I was to be at the specialist’s office at 1 p.m. EDT. Okay.

I had my quiet time, listened to most of today’s allotment of the Sabbath School lesson discussion and had breakfast. I was headed for the shower when I stopped to check Facebook. I had a private message from Genese. She was devastated. Her left hearing aid was lost. She noticed she couldn’t hear the TV so she reached up to see if her aid would “whistle”. If it didn’t, that meant the battery was dead. It wasn’t there. The nursing staff checked the bed, all around it, and one of the aides even went through the dirty linen. It was gone.

My hearing aids come with a warranty that says if I lose or damage one, I can have it repaired or replaced for a $250 deductible. I sent a message to the audiologist and she said Genese’s come with a one time replacement guarantee at no cost. Even better than mine. I let her know and I agreed to stop by and pick up the form.

The housekeeping supervisor would tell the linen company to keep a lookout for the aid. If she can get it back, that will be wonderful. If she can’t, at least she can have it replaced.

Planning to go the way my cousin did and having a couple of stops on the way, I decided it would be the better part of wisdom to leave by 10 TT. I considered taking my umbrella but it’s a hassle to have to carry it around all the time so I left it hanging on the inside of the front door.

I picked up the form at the aud’s office then went on to the gas station where I filled it up (33 mpg) and used the bathroom. Someone had smoked in there and the smell just about stifled me. I tried not to breathe. There was no soap so, as my mother would say, I gave the bacteria a bath.

A few miles south of town, it started sprinkling. The farther I went, the faster it fell. Traffic was pretty light so I slowed down. The skies opened up and it dumped. I was glad I’d be parking in a parking garage where I wouldn’t have to get out in it.

Going through one of the small settlements, I noticed a street sign I’d never seen before. “Detour”. When my first granddaughter was born, I would take “Shortcut” (the actual name of the street) to the apartment. Detour and Shortcut should be somewhere close together.

I had my eyes peeled for the turnoff my cousin took and missed it, anyway. I continued on and went the way I knew. My conclusion is that it’s a shorter way, after all.

Instead of being late or even close to on time, I was more than a half hour early for my appointment. I used the bathroom and went up to the office. It was still 25 minutes shy. Signing in, I told the girl I was ‘way early. “No, your appointment is at 12:30.” I objected and said that the card I’d been given said 1 o’clock. Nay, nay. Not so.

I sat down to wait. Not many minutes passed when I was called back. “How are you today?” “Surprised.” “Oh? Why?” “I could have sworn my appointment was at 1.” Turns out they were double-booking the tech so she had moved my appointment to 12:30 AND 1. She said either time would have been fine.

We got started. I don’t know what my O2 sat was when we began. She questioned me about my cough and shortness of breath. Then the testing started. I could see why it had to be done there. I was familiar with the PFT done at the hospital where I used to work and there’s no comparison. This is all computerized. I was given a mouthpiece that had an opening at least 1″ in diameter. I was supposed to breathe through it while it was attached to the machine as if it were “a straw”. I’ve never had a straw like that. It was quite awkward. The test went on forever. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Take as deep a breath as possible and hold it. Blast it out hard and keep blowing, keep blowing, keep blowing.

Next, she had me breathe albuterol, two puffs twice. She left the room and said she’d let me absorb that and see if it would help. The deep breathing had already triggered coughing and I coughed and coughed and coughed. I must have used half a box of their tissue.

When my coughing had died down, she came back in and we had another go at the breathing. I’d done better before the albuterol.

Finally, I was allowed to escape. She gave me an order for the ABG and 6MWT and said to take it to Registration.

I went to the bathroom and then to the elevator. When the doors shut, I thought, “Shoot! I meant to take a picture!” and then “Shoot! I left my order in the bathroom!” When I got to the 1st floor, I pushed 12 and went back up. The order was where I left it and I went on to the office and took this picture from the waiting room window.

View from the Penthouse

The helicopter was probably off on a mission—maybe to the little hospital where I used to work. It was often there. The sky was deceptively mostly clear.

Going back to the 1st floor, I made my way to Registration where I was given the familiar Conditions of Admission to fill out and sign and a little “notifier” like some restaurants use. The long wait would have never been tolerated where I used to work. I’d picked up the little beepy thing and was looking at it when it went off. I jumped. The registrar got a kick out of that and directed me to her cubicle.

She checked all of my demographics carefully. I told her I was retired and she asked, “How old are you?” “Sixty-nine.” “Well, you sure don’t look it!” I thanked her. She took a closer look and said, “I remember your name on emails. Weren’t you the supervisor or manager or something?” Yes. Then she started giving me all the news. Someone I knew was planning to retire which was a surprise. I figured she’d work forever. Another person did retire and was asked back to work part-time but refused. When she left, she left. I told the girl I knew how that was. Yet a third had left for seven months. She had been a trainer but she came back as financial counselor. That’s one job I definitely would NOT want.

I was shown to the pulmonary lab and left to wait.

It was a few minutes before my name was called. Going into a little room, I was put into a chair, a table was moved in front of me and the fellow asked me to rest my arm on a folded something or other. I had said I’d heard bad things about the ABG. He was poking my arm and feeling for a pulse. “Are you going to deaden it?” “No.” “Isn’t it painful??” “It may be a little sore later but it should be okay.” He expertly put the needle into my arm and hit the artery on the first try. The blood pumped into the little tube and that was that. He had me hold gauze on it while he got a bandaid and then I was ready for the 6MWT.

The woman took care of that. Going out into the corridor, she gave me the route I was to walk. She remarked I had on good shoes for it (Nike Pegasus). I told her I’d done my research.

I was to walk for three minutes, then she would stop me and I’d walk for three more. On room air, my O2 sat was 98. At three minutes it had dropped a bit but I was still doing okay. At six, it was down to 93 but went up to 95 in less than a minute.

She told me I was free to go. I asked her if I will live. She said, “Uh, YES!” I said I’d been quite paranoid because the diagnosis of post-inflammatory pulmonary fibrosis was scary. That I’d read patients usually live two to five years following the diagnosis. She said, “You read too much.”

The roads were dry when I left. I went back the way I came and, as long as I was in the area, I decided I’d stop at Aldi. There were some really good buys, as usual. Kent mangoes—nice big ones—were 69 cents each. I guess Aldi hasn’t heard about the avocado harvest because theirs were a good size and 99 cents.

Coming out of the store, I couldn’t tell if it was really raining or not. It looked very misty. I chanced it and went to the car. While I unloaded the things into the trunk, the raindrops started falling. I was soaked when I returned the buggy and got my quarter back. Standing under the shelter, another woman was stranded, too. We started talking and I found out she’s been alone since August 22, 2000. Her husband was on a fishing expedition in Alaska and his body was never found. He’d retired in 1998 and always wanted to go on one of the three month trips and finally did it. I didn’t say anything but she and I are both kind of in the same boat.

We stood there for, probably, 20 minutes before it started tapering off. I bit the bullet and ran for the car.

Walmart and Bi-Lo were on the schedule. At Bi-Lo, I was supposed to get a 30 dose vial of B-12. The girl got my prescription and it was all these little one dose vials. Thirty of ’em. The pharmacy tech explained they couldn’t get the other. Well, with my tremor, I can’t draw it up from such a little vial. They’re going to try to get the 30 ml but I may have to settle.

My cousin was already home when I got here. I took two of the avos to my CIL and told them about my trip. I probably overstayed my welcome but I was pretty psyched it had gone so well. My cousin said it hadn’t rained at all in these parts.

I came home, ate, dosed Twinkle, fed her and now I need to decant the water kefir and go to bed. This post is ‘way too long but my day has been, too.

2 Responses to I’m a Non-Believer

  1. Mary Jane August 23, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    What a day you had! Glad it’s over and that you survived it.
    BTW, we had sunshine all day yesterday–a big and welcome change from the daily rain.

    • Tommie August 23, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      Lucky you! I believe the rain followed me around.

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