Monday, April 1, 2013

88 and Frosty

Technically, Thursday's visit to Hopkins is a clear success.

Along with my weight, my lung capacity is the biggest indicator of my general wellbeing. Someone out there with the right credentials (or Google) could give you a detailed explanation of how they reach a numeric value for my lung capacity. All I know is that I'm given a percentage value to indicate how well - or badly - my lungs are doing.

At the beginning of the drug trial my lung capacity was 74%. A value of 50% represents the threshold at which a typical patient decides if they would like to use medical hardware to support their breathing... or not.

I believe that I've commented on the professionalism and beside manner of the staff at Johns Hopkins before. If I haven't then it's long overdue. They are amazing.

I am usually in a jovial mood when I visit the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center (JHOC) . I can't explain why. Maybe I goof off because I'm nervous. Maybe it's because I feel the need to break the tension of what would otherwise be a potentially morbid exchange. Maybe it's just part of my nature.

I think the folks at Hopkins have become accustomed to my sense of humor. I halfheartedly guess at my blood pressure and heart rate before they are measured; usually 120 over 80, and about 80bpm.
I usually throw in one or two self deprecating jokes... add in a few jokes making fun of a simple clerical error - - or something similar - - and that just about sums up a typical visit. Even a new member of staff will oblige me with a giggle or two.

Combine the fact that Jake has become my shadow on my trips to JHOC, and together... well, Jake, always attract one or two visitors. Lora came visiting this time , and as the appointment went on it became clearer and clearer she was having a bad day. I think she used that days faculty meeting as an excuse for having an off day.

This particular visit had me performing a grip strength test before checking my lung capacity. Since my arms are easily the most affected part of my body, I have an acute sense of hatred for this particular test.

It's not that I don't try, but I certainly tune out. I tuned out so much that I almost didn't hear the score of my breathing test: 88%. I'm delighted with the score. Maybe it's because of the trial drug, or the fact that I'm trying to be better about taking my asthma medication (advair).

Either way, I am happy. But not ecstatic.
 That subtle difference has given me able food for thought, since the visit. Test scores, blood work, getting used to a new pair of shoes, the lack of strength in my arms, the sensation of my strength decreasing in my legs, my stride turning in to a shuffle... really just a long period of sensory and emotional excess. Then I suddenly had a thought about Lora; I was the reason she was having a bad day. It's certainly possible that I'm totally misreading the situation... surely the sight of me shuffling around can't be that distressing. Then again, recent changes have been particularly difficult for me to deal with.,, and


  1. Good news about the increase in lung capacity and not just a percent or two!
    Love, Steph

  2. Good lad Tony, and to top it all, Celtic have won the league! Quelle surprise. :-) Somebody had better do something quick, before it starts to get predictable. :-)