WorkOut Wednesday 9/25/13

Workout Wednesday helps Lung HealthMy car decided not to start yesterday. It turns out it was the battery but by the time I got it fixed, I was too late to go to Therapy. I missed it.  I did not work out either and even though it is Wednesday I am not going to work out. I am a bit under the weather. This does give me the opportunity to talk about therapy. What it is and what I do there.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Therapy is a 6 week course, if you will.  I go on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It lasts three hours. It is not the Pulmonary Rehabilitation one thinks of when they go into the hospital with a disease or have surgery. The kind that Therapists comes to your beside (and possibly you go for a few days or so after you are released) and have you do a couple of exercises. Maybe you have to move the balls in that plastic thing and hold them at a certain level. Or if you have had TB or pneumonia they come and thump on your chest and back to release the phlegm. That is not the kind of pulmonary therapy I am doing.

The kind I have is a full 3 hour comprehensive therapy that is designed to improve the lifestyle of people with Obstructive (copd emphysema asthma Cystic fibrosis) and Restrictive (Lung cancers Interstitial Lung Disease, Sarcoidosis, asbestos lung). I say comprehensive as we exercise and have two hours of lecture.

The difference is most of the classmates are on oxygen and those of who are not have to do breathing exercises as we warm up and cool down. During the actual cardio portion, it is a bit different as well. We do indeed have the machines, the bicycles the treadmill but we also have machine that only use your hands and a few other specialty machines. We are also very much monitored. There are three therapists there who watch our breathing (Pursed lip Breathing Ms. Whitaker) take our blood pressure and monitor our Blood Oxygen Levels. If the pressure is too high or the 02 is too low we have to stop. When you are only doing 10 minutes on a treadmill it is possible for it to take 30 minutes. In my case, I am usually good for the 10 minutes, 12 minutes though my 02 drops and so does my pressure; I get dizzy and have to stop for a while until I can recover.  Working on going a full 15 minutes without dizzy and dropping levels.

The reason for the exercise is the actual physiology of breathing. When you breathe normal like you use your diaphragm and the muscles over your ribs. When you are not breathing correctly like me you use your shoulders.  This is because you diaphragm is not working properly. If you are not breathing properly you are not oxygenating your blood well so your heart works twice as much. When you exercise a muscle it gets bigger. When the heart (which as you now is a muscle) gets bigger it tends to not work as well. SO, exercising helps you to improve your breathing by working out the proper muscles, knowing how to breathe to while doing so and of course getting rid of some fat. Fat in the tummy does not allow the diaphragm drop into the tummy area. That makes breathing harder. If you don’t have lung disease it may not be that big of a deal, with lung disease it is huge deal. No pun intended

The rest of the time is lecture time. Personally I think some people I know would get a kick out of listening in but most folks would be bored. We have, so far, gone over how your lungs actually work and how the respiratory system is made up. This lecture was at a little more than anatomy 101. We also went over what happens with each disease.  And since I have Blebs, (which is unusual and rare for one who is short like me. It typically is a problem with tall blond skinny men who play an instrument or sing) they went over how a Bleb is formed and how it cause lung collapse.  In short instead of collapsing Alveoli, mine like to blow up like balloons and become very thin skinned. Then they pop. If close to the lining of the lung I get air between the lung and the lining and there you go lung collapse.

Anther lecture was how to properly take you medicines and the care for the different machines.  They also talked about how the medicine works. I have to say, it is amazing what the heck they have in order to help out people like me.

So that is a brief over view of a typical day at therapy. I am sorry I missed it yesterday. I truly am learning a lot and my breathing is getting little better. At least I know HOW to breathe so I don’t have breathing attack attacks. No attacks mean less medicine and no panic.  This is good. When you can’t catch your breath one does indeed panic. Kind of a helpless feeling.

I go tomorrow for another session, I am unsure what we are learning tomorrow but I know it will be one more piece that gives me the feeling of power over my disease.  This the biggest thing therapy has done for me. It has made me feel more in control of an uncontrollable and incurable disease.