Wednesday, September 10, 2008

That Spirometry Guy

So, I've been having some upper respiratory issues – off and on – for the past six months. For the life of me, I can't seem to shake this dry, raspy cough. In addition, I've found that my breathing has gotten increasingly audible, sounding a lot like an asthmatic smoker blowing a whistle. There's been sporadic tightness in my chest, shortness of breath and fatigue to complete my own little medical mystery.

On Monday, I saw the doctor. In his expert, uhh...guess, he narrowed it down to asthma or acid reflux. Keep in mind that I'm 6'0" and have shaved my weight down to 168 lbs. At the start of 7th grade, I was almost a foot shorter and nearly 180 lbs. If my fat ass didn't have asthma then, there's no way I'd contracted it now. Reflux was a possibility, as everything seems to give me heartburn these days. But, my whole "insides afire" is a recent phenomenon, not six months worth of misery.

I had chest x-rays taken, which supplied the comic relief for the morning. The elderly technician couldn't get a "clean" picture until the sixth radioactive snapshot my upper body. "Sometimes it's hard to get a good image of guys who are so skinny. You're lucky", she explained. Tell that to the eventual side effects of all these x-rays, Mabel.

Anyways, on Tuesday, I went down for a spirometry test. This convenient link will help you understand what I went through:

"Since the test involves some forced breathing and rapid breathing, you may have some temporary shortness of breath or light-headedness."

The test couldn't have taken more than five minutes, but it kicked my ass for the rest of the day. All of the rapid breathing confused my usually lazy lungs, which then simultaneously collapsed within my scrawny chest cavity. And, the light-headedness led to full-on disorientation as the attending nurse has just one role throughout this ordeal: cheerleader.

"C'mon, Aaron! Blow! Blow! Blow! You're almost there! Through the chest! Tighten your stomach! 3! 2! 1! Good job! Good job! Let's do it again."

On the plus side, I was told I didn't have asthma.


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