Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Joys of Walking

Okay, it's not the same as the Joys of Sex, but walking can be pretty good.

Yesterday I went to the pulmonary clinic for some tests. I have some of the results and I understand precisely nothing that any of the results report.

However, I had another echocardiogram, and while I do not have the results of that, they DID send me home, unlike the first one after which they sent me to the hospital.

The best news was that I did another six minute walk, and this one covered three hundred-plus meters, and my oxygen level never dropped below 93%, and my heart rate stayed under 120 bpm the whole time, which is a huge improvement from just a couple of weeks ago.

On the 13th, the doc doubled my Viagra from 3 to 6 a day, and I'm convinced that this is making the difference.

I never thought that walking up and down a hallway in the basement of a hospital could be so exciting.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Men, and other confusing things...

I shall now deviate from my obsessive writing about my new-found hobby to write about an old hobby... observation of the human condition.

I was hearing a couple of the talking-head sorts on the toob the other morning while I dressed talk about the Brangelina obsession. And how Jennifer was dealing with it all.

I was thinking about how life sometimes destroys great passion. I mean, I'm sure that when Brad left Jen for Angelina, Angie thought that he was just the bee's knees, or some such. Jen had been around him long enough to know better.

I mean, don't we all know that no matter how pretty Brad Pitt or George Clooney or (for those of another generation) Tom Selleck or Clint Eastwood appear to be, that they're just men and they do those men-things that just make them incredibly unattractive in the long run?

I mean, I adore my husband and think I could not do without him. That being said, his idea of cleaning up the house consists of hiding things. I have found long-lost items stuck in underwear drawers and linen closets, months and years after I had given them up for lost. He has improved; when we first married, he hid chawin' tebaccy spit cups under the bed, or under his desk, or under the couch. I did not find them until they had grown the attributes of a science experiment.

I think after Angelina finds a few spit cups under the Chippendale, Brad may not be as attractive. Maybe that's what happened with Billy Bob.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The weirdness of illness

I went to the grocery store last weekend with my oxygen concentrator. It's on a cute little cart, but I put it in the shopping cart so that I wouldn't be trying to drag around two things at the same time. The oxygen boost really made a difference in the way that I shopped... I didn't get exhausted, or winded, or any of those things that made shopping such a drag before.

However, the folks in the store were sort of a hoot. I guess when you present with a cannula on your face, they assume that you must be sorely crippled or some such. People kept trying to be helpful, and the girl at the checkout counter asked me three times if I needed help with my bags. I thanked her and assured her I was fine. But she kept insisting. Finally, I just walked away slowly...

One of the things about the oxygen is that it dries out the inside of your nose a bit, but it is unadviseable to use petroleum products near oxygen. So they suggest using KY jelly.

Let's take stock here; I'm taking six Viagra a day, and I'm shoving KY in my nose. Is this the kinkiest thing I've ever done, or what?

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Organ Recital

I went to the doctor again today.

It seems that this has become the focus of my social life. My new best friends are nurse-practitioners. My frames of reference are all doctors.

To measure pulmonary function, one of the things they do is make you walk six minutes and see how far you can go. They measure your oxygen saturation and your pulse while you walk, and make you stop if it appears you're stressing.

Last time I tried it, after two and a half minutes they made me stop because my oxygen saturation had dropped below 75% (you normal people would faint). I didn't notice, because I've been gasping and wheezing for so long, I think that's normal.

Today I walked the full six minutes, and my oxygen never dropped below 80%. I walked 640 feet. Doesn't sound like much, but before Christmas, I couldn't climb a flight of stairs. Mucho Bettero.

Also, since I'm doing so well, they've doubled my Viagra. Oh, am I so popular? I am now taking Viagra six times a day. I think if I could, I'd get a six hour erection or something. As it is, I just keep breathing.

I'm sorry this has become such an organ recital, but it's where my poor head is at right now.

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Oh, one more thing...

The Good Ship Tabasco launches back in the water next week with a fresh coat of bottom paint.

I will probably wait to sail on her until the Bay is more than, say 50 degrees. The wind coming off the bay, even when the air temp is in the 80's, is mighty chilly when the water's that cold.

I just can't wait....

The Wonders of Drugs

Okay, so since my last posting on this page, I've gone from taking Viagra three times a day to breathing in a prostacyclin analogue six times a day.

No, I don't know what one is either. I know that prostacyclins have something to do with prostaglandins, which are named that because they were first found in the prostate gland, and I don't have one of those, either.

But at Seventeen Thousand Dollars a Month, I think they could grow me one.

I'm not making that up.

My monthly drug bill runs now in the $20,000 per month area, between that, my Viagra at a thousand dollars a month, and oxygen with a nifty new portable oxygen concentrator called Inogen One that my insurance doesn't quite pay for.

I'm very glad we have insurance. But part B of that statement is, it doesn't cover everything. I could buy a car every year (okay, a used one) for what we're paying in co-payments and co-insurance. I have lived in houses that cost less than one month of my drug bill (it was a trailer, but it was home).

And I go to the doc next week, and I may get me another high-dollar drug. Whoopee!

I had a sleep study last night at the sleep disorder clinic. The good news is that I do not appear to have sleep apnea. The not so good news is that sleeping while the oxygen hose is glued to my face, my oxygen saturation was still only less than 90% for most of the night, which isn't as it should be.

Now, the other thing they don't tell you is that they fiberglass the electrodes to your head, and take off the fiberglass in the morning with nail polish remover. In your scalp. Behind your ears. On your chin. I'm still peeling the stuff off.

They offer you a shower, but you have to use the dispenser hand soap and they have no towels. Oh, and there's a camera in your room, taking pictures while you sleep. And a microphone listening for your farts and groans.

Anytime you want to have electrodes glued to your head and be spied on while you sleep, well then, I have a recommendation for you....