2009-09-30

Testing... again

I think I mentioned over the summer that I was taking part in a study for "breathlessness" through the University here. Well, today I had my second test, called a "Methacholine Challenge Test". I did very well.... the tech told me I broke all records - lol.

In order to do the test, you have to stop taking your asthma medications up to 24 hours before the test... depending on what you are on, you can take some 6 hours before the test. So, I get up at the crack of dawn - good thing it is later these days - and scurry on over to the hospital. University is in session, the first train this morning was packed, good thing the next was only a few minutes later. As it was, by the time I found where I was supposed to be and checked in, I was a few minutes late. I hate being late, almost as much as I hate waiting for people. Of course, not having taken my drugs, I couldn't rush, so had to content myself with walking at a pace that I could keep my breath at.

The test involves plugging your nose with a clip and making you breath into a tube through your mouth. I have an aversion to breathing through my mouth and to having my nose plugged. They get a baseline of how well you breath and then they make you breath in a saline solution for two minutes. Run the test, see if there is any change. I start coughing right after the first base test, it gets worse as this goes on. My tech is a very nice fellow, with a sense of humour and we get along. I fill him in on the singing and the fact that I played wind instruments. He told me that it wouldn't have a bearing really as lungs are lungs, so unless I was hyper-inflated the test would not be affected.

After the saline solution, they make you breath the methacholine for two minutes and then run the tests again. They start at .25 of methacholine and each test double it. This is where I broke the first record. The test is usually over in an hour, I didn't leave there until two hours after my scheduled start time and I wasn't that late! He had me up to I think 10 units (he didn't say if this was mcg's or mg's so, units) After 2 I was looking at the inhaler he had set up, wondering if I could grab it without him noticing, but I still wasn't making noticeable changes in the tests. He asked me at one point if I had back trouble..... well, yes, but I am just trying to open up my lungs and to remember to breath with my diaphragm. One of the things asthmatics tend to forget to do when they can't breath and probably why my test results are so good. I didn't say "Yes, you learn that through singing and playing wind instruments"

Finally he hands me the inhaler! Yay, I'll be able to breath in a minute...or five...maybe ten...give it another five. I feel another record being broken, he had to give me another inhaler...this one was attrovent (I think). Yes, I can breath... wait... yes, I can. One more test to see that I am back to baseline. All is good. Mood restored - people get cranky when they can't breath.

The headache didn't hit until a 1/2 hour or so later and it is still pounding away. On that note, I think I will go back to bed.

I do have photos for the WWC, and will put them up tomorrow.

Have a good evening all.

9 comments:

Barbara Martin said...

Sometimes medical technicians and medical practitioners are total dwebs. Of course you broke the records because you played wind instruments.

Try never to use Flovent as it's known to cause glaucoma. An eye surgeon told me that last year. I was getting tiny black dots, like floaters, in my peripheral vision. Once I stopped using it they went away.

Breathing tests are good to find out how your asthma is in relation to regular breathing.

the Bag Lady said...

I must read this again as soon as my brain comes back from whatever freakin' vacation it is on today....
I'm afraid I didn't quite follow. Did the methacholine stuff impede your breathing?

Leah J. Utas said...

Reb, what is the point of the test?
And good for you for being a guinea pig.

kcinnova said...

Singing (definitely!) and wind instruments (if you still play them or have recently) will obviously make a difference in your testing results. Was this guy born yesterday?

I'm glad you can still breathe, but I think you are very brave to be a guinea pig.
I figured that the CPAP testing was enough guinea pigging for me!!

I'll be back to see your WWC. :)

Jay said...

Sheesh, that doesn't sound like all that much fun at all.

Reb said...

Barbara, yes, I am sure the years of making my lungs do more than they want to has a lot to do with it. I did the flovent years ago and am on to newer and better drugs. I think the chemo may have helped clear up some stuff too.

Sis, yes, the methacholine impedes the breathing, I typed this with a headache remember, so it may not just have been your brain on vacay.

Leah, the test is to determine how well controlled my asthma is, or if I have asthma or maybe something else, like COPD.

Kcinnova, I don't mind being a guinea pig...as long as I know there is medical help a few steps away :)

Jay, it isn't much fun at all. It never is when you can't catch your breath - well...certain times are lots of fun ;)

messymimi said...

Kudos to you for bravely allowing yourself to be used as a test subject!

I hope they learn something from it, and you get some good out of it, too.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Wow, that sounds like a very intense test! It's too bad that having such powerful lungs from the musical training doesn't help with the asthma. Just doesn't seem fair!

Reb said...

Messymimi, thanks. I am hoping to learn a few things from all this.

Crabby, you are right, too bad there is no way to train the bronchial tubes :)