Thursday, August 25, 2011

Doctor Visit & New Vest!

Had my doctor visit today and it went pretty well (took some pictures for you). I had my PFTs scheduled for 10 and then I would see the doctor at 11:30. So, to start the very long day, I woke up a little before 6:30 so I could get in a set of treatments and some breakfast before I left around 7:20. I got about 20 minutes into my drive when I heard on the radio that traffic looked terrible on pretty much every way into Chicago, so I was not looking forward to my drive! I got backed up in traffic a LOT sooner than I normally do and at one point I was going 30mph and it felt fast. Needless to say, it was a long ride, especially because I had to pee the whole way!! (Sorry for the TMI)
Lovely Chicago morning traffic
Luckily I left with enough time and I pulled into the parking garage at 9:30 and checked into 5E-Pulmonary Procedures around 9:45 for my PFTs at 10...just in time! My pulmonologist wasn't very friendly or encouraging today, so it wasn't very exciting doing my PFTs. Sometimes you get the people who really encourage you and tell you you're doing great, which really helps sometimes, but this lady was pretty crouchy - oh well. She left the room several times, so I took a couple pictures to show you what the full PFT machine looks like. (If she was nicer, I would have asked her to take a picture of me in it...)

The machine on the right is where I sit. On the left is where the pulomonologist sits
and gives me instructions on how to breathe. All of my breathing is recorded on the computer
and made into graphs. 
The blue piece is what I put in my mouth (and I have nose plugs)
and it records all of my breathing.

When some of the tests are performed, the door is closed. Right now the door is open.
I did pretty well, overall, on my PFTs. They didn't go up like I wanted them to, but the best thing is that they didn't go down. The percentage in my small airways went up significantly, thanks to Advair, so I'll be continuing that. I updated everything in my "Health Stats" tab, but here's a quick overview. 
FEV1: 2.70L - 86% which is up a little from last time :-)
FVC: 2.97L - 76% which is pretty much the same. 
I did about 8 different tests today in that machine. I did a few in the beginning, then they give me a nebulizer of Albuterol and she tested me about 4 or 5 more times after that. In the test I breathe normal for a couple breaths, then I take in a deep breath and blow it out as fast as I can, for as long as I can (meanwhile the pulm. is saying "BLOW, BLOW, BLOW!") and then I take a deep breath in at the end, and I relax. I did this about 8 times, plus several different other breathing techniques/tests in between. I was pretty wiped out after, but it felt good. I was able to cough up some lovely samples for them, which they always love. 

After my PFTs were finished around 10:30, I walked down to 4D-Pulmonology to see my doctor. I actually got in a little early to see her, which never happens, so I was pretty excited. (But I missed you, Penny!) 
My doctor's huge binder with all of my files! Lots of paper
work every time. 
My doctor was very please with me keeping my weight the same and keeping my lung function stable/slightly up. She pretty much told me to keep doing what I'm doing and to keep it up. I'm hoping that with continued exercise and compliance with my treatments (haven't missed one since July 30th!) that hopefully my numbers will start going up instead of staying where they are every time. We talked for a while about everything that's been going on and keeping healthy. We decided not to change anything that I'm doing because it seems to be working. As I mentioned before, since the Advair seemed to have a positive affect on my small airways, I'm going to be keeping that up. So I'll be back again in three-four months, depending on when I can get back in. Probably sometime in the beginning of winter. So after we were done chatting, which lasted a while (it's pretty amazing to have such a great relationship with my Dr!), I finally headed out.  

This is the view from the parking garage, right behind my car.
Of course, it's always packed so I had to park on the top level. 
Of course the traffic is still there when I leave at 1:45!
Ahhh! Now this is more like it. Back home! :-)

When I got home, I had a little package waiting for new PINK vest! Here it is!


  1. Congrats on your numbers being up a little! Every little bit counts! :) I like the pink vest! I want one. What did you have to do to order a new one, and did you have to pay anything for it? I have the same one I have had since the beginning of high school... it's getting kind of old! ha

  2. Thanks! At a second glance, I went up 4% - I was thinking it was only 1%-2%.
    I like the pink vest too! It was SUPER easy to order a new one. I just called Hill-Rom and told them that I wanted a new size and that one of my buckles was broken on my old vest. She asked for my chest size (bra size) and told me which size they recommend and asked if I wanted a washable liner (the colored part). I ordered it on Tuesday and she asked if I needed it over-nighted or if Thursday would be okay. The lady was extremely helpful and friendly. And no, I didn't have to pay for it. (Sorry, that was a really long answer to your question.)

  3. No that's perfect! Thanks! I think I will call them tomorrow.

  4. Hi Colleen. I found your blog via Inhaling Hope's blog and became a follower right away. I love the pink vest also, but my main reason for commenting is because I also go up to U of C and I miss Penny too! I just thought it was crazy that I just started this blogging thing, found your blog through someone else's, and that we actually go to the same clinic. I'm so glad your numbers were up and I'm glad teaching is going well (I'm in education also, but currently without a job).

  5. Hi! I'm so glad you found my blog and that's so cool that you go to U of C, too. Feel free to find me on Facebook and/or CysticLife(if you have one) and we can chat more about it. I'm going to start following you blog too because it looks like we're at a very similar point in our lives. Awesome!