Blood gas check up

LancetYesterday I went for my respiratory check up. I commute, with my husband, into London by Train and Taxi to get to the Royal Brompton Hospital – my nearest specialist place.  My PA kindly offered to drop us off as it was freezing cold and had been snowing a good few inches the day before. Anyway, wrapped up in a multitude of blankets and clothing layers we actually got there early. The London Taxi from Victoria Train Station was SO bumpy and rickety that I felt sick! That wasn’t so pleasant.

We spent about three hours – mostly sitting in a corridor with umpteen other people waiting for the same three things – bloods, quick blow into a tube to see how much air is in your lungs and a 5-10 minute chat with a doctor :-/ .

There is nothing to do other than stare at people’s wheelchairs and compare their spec to your own. I didn’t see any whizzy features I wanted to pinch though. My consultant person is cheery and good looking – two qualities you want in a good doc and the lady who stabbed my ear with a lancet to get a blood sample was also cheery and pleasant.

Getting my blood gases check is the most important thing because when you can’t breathe properly because of weak muscles, you can’t breath out carbon dioxide – and it builds up and poisons you (and would kill you). Amongst other things, they check the level of CO2 which should be kept normal with proper vent use (i don’t know what I scored but they said it was ok).

They offer two options – taking blood from the wrist or ear. I usually go for wrist but it can be very painful because they can stick the syringe straight into a nerve. After asking around about what it was like getting your ear done – I decided to give it a try. They put a cream on your ear that brings up the blood (it pulsates in your ear). Then they stick a lancet into your ear lobe to cut it so it bleeds – and they catch some blood and suck it up for testing. So, besides the stab which hurt a lot less then when I stab myself with a craft knife or sewing needle, it was better than my wrist. Some people bleed for hours – but within minutes mine was fine so that was a good result.

I find it somewhat weird that the first thing my specialist asked me was what would happen if I didn’t use my vent. Duh – I’d die. Not quite sure what he was getting at?

The doc didn’t seem too concerned with me choking at night and trying to breath through bubbles of snot (mucous if you want to dress it up). I was hoping he’d say ‘let’s get you a cough assist machine’ which is what I think I need. But he didn’t. I did however get a referral to a specialist physio to measure my inability to cough and get out of the pickle of drowning in snot on a daily basis. So back to London at some point to show them how I can’t cough *sigh.  I don’t have to see him for a year now instead of every six months – so that’s good.

So that was that … my PA picked us up and I spent the evening wrapped up in my electric blanket in front of the TV. I was shattered.


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