Daily Archives: April 9, 2022

Catching My Breath

At my last visit to the pulmonologist I wasn’t able to complete the 6-minute walking test to check how my blood/oxygen level held up. I made it about half way through and I was gasping for breath. Of course, having to wear a mask wasn’t helping the situation at all. On top of that my nearly 80 year old hips were starting to hurt. So I stopped. My 02 level had dropped from 96% to 91%.

So, what should one’s blood oxygen level be? Official Answer.¬†Between 88% and 92% is considered safe for someone with moderate to severe COPD. Oxygen levels below 88% become dangerous. If oxygen levels dip to 84% or below, go to the hospital. These readings are for a person at rest.

I’m bumbling along through life at 21% of lung capacity according to a recent full-function test. Curious about how my lungs are functioning with assimilating the oxygen I bought one of those meters the nurse puts on your finger when you check in at the doctor’s office.

I then made up a spreadsheet to keep track of things.

As you can see my levels drop into the 80% range when I do anything in the least bit strenuous. My heart rate jumps and I gasp for breath. But the oxygen levels rise back into the upper 90s generally in less than 30 seconds and my heart rate drops as well. But the gasping often takes several minutes to get back to what passes for “normal” these days. This isn’t a whole lot of fun. One of these days I’m sure I’m going to have to consider the whole oxygen concentrator equipment issue. Not looking forward to that at all.

In other health-related thoughts.

The other day I learned that a person I’ve known since they were about 10 years old when I was in college in the late 60s has brain cancer. The prognosis is he’s got 6 to 9 months left. That’s sad. What I find mystifying, though, is that he’s going to start radiation treatments. Why in the world would someone do that? Why would someone subject themselves to the pain and sickness and endless hours of vomiting when they’re going to cash it in in less than a year? I don’t understand. Nobody’s getting out of this thing alive. Are they so frightened of the inevitable that they’ll do anything for another day or two? Not me. That’s why I wear a medic alert tag around my neck saying “Do Not Resuscitate.” When it’s time to go it’s time to go. There’s no bargaining to be done. It’s over!

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