Sunday, January 2, 2011

Have you heard the good news? I suck.

Not to toot my own horn, but I have always been a really good test taker. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer [Tangent: I am in no way akin to a butter knife, but maybe a steak knife with a serrated edge...definitely not a machete, though.], but somehow, in most subjects, I could usually cram right beforehand and completely make a test my bitch.

There is at least one exception to this rule: medical testing. There really is no way to cheat or cram for a blood test or heart monitoring. [Tangent: In my life, I have been privy to a lot of fun and invasive medical tests... vision tests, muscle biopsies, swallowing studies, arterial blood gasses, etc. Just part of the territory of being diseased.] These tests have become routine and things that aren't scary by any means; they just are irritating for someone unaccustomed to getting low scores on tests.

Aside from the always uncertain vision test, I would have to say my arch nemesis is the pulmonary function test. It's not secret, my lungs are not the strongest of organs. They are my hypothetical Achilles heel and the pulmonary function tests (or PFTs) only highlight how much I suck...or don't suck, rather.

For those unfamiliar with PFTs, you are taken into a room filled with tubing and gauges and maybe even a weird little bubble that looks strikingly similar to the great glass Wonka-vator.
I used to feel like I was in a spaceship...only a really lame spaceship.
The tests are always the same. Your nose is plugged and some ungodly awkward device is placed in your mouth. The participant (i.e. me) is then instructed to breathe normally to see what his/her regular airflow is like.

It's super comfy and not creepy looking at all...see...

Then to test capacity, the respiratory therapist will suddenly start shouting, "BREATHE IN!!! IN....IN...IN...IN!!! NOW BLOW!!! BLOW...BLOW... BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!" [Tangent: The all caps and exclamation points in triplicate are not an exaggeration. It seems respiratory therapists everywhere are trained to react like soccer coaches on uppers when administering the test. This excitement happens every time, as if they haven't done it 15 times already that day.]

Friday morning, I had my first PFT since the infamous lung popping of 2010. I woke up feeling completely exhausted and took a Sudafed so I could breathe enough to function, much less breathe on command. My hopes were pretty low for decent PFT scores.

When I saw that Bob was my respiratory therapist...I was stoked. He was my good luck charm on the last go round of testing. Suddenly I felt like a terrible football team who just got a new coaching staff. The first test, administered by the great glass wonkavator, went great. He said my test results actually improved a little. Then came test number two, he told to blow out then "BREATHE BREATHE IN AS HARD AS YOU CAN....KEEP GOING!!!" We both looked at the gauge a little astounded...the little needle went completely off the charts. Woah. He looked at me and said, "Wow. I was NOT expecting that." He looked at me a bit shocked...almost like it was an apparition, so I suggested we do it again, just for shits and giggles.

Again I clamped my nose and put the mouthpiece in my mouth readying myself to blow these tests away. Same results. Not a fluke. I was the master of breathing. When did this happen?

Thanks Sudafed...once again you are my friend.


  1. Kimmie, you pft'ed your way right on in to 2011 on a good note. This really is good news, and I'm glad to be reading it! PS: and your tangents always get me!

  2. Time to invest in non-numerical birthday candles. You can take 'em all.


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