Monday, May 7, 2012

Pulmonary Rehab day 11...

Well, I've managed to survive eleven sessions of boot camp pulmonary rehab--hallelujah!!  I began week three and no longer feel like the Rehab Rookie.  There were a couple newbies that joined the group today.  On any particular day there can be anywhere from 15 to 35 patients, who inhale various amounts of oxygen and wear an amazing variety of workout attire, show up for exercising.  Some are waiting to be listed (like me) while others have had their surgery and are now trying to regain their strength and mobility.  There are a few people who are listed who are just putting in their time waiting for "the call" to come.

A typical day begins at 12:30 with check-in.  Everyone has to have their vitals monitored and recorded before we can begin.  Floor class starts at 1:00 and lasts for about 50 minutes.  We each get a mat, stretchy band, leg weights, and hand weights.  Different physical therapists (PT's) lead the floor exercises each day.  I've been here long enough now to know if it's going to be a grueling session or a more zen-like experience depending on who puts on the microphone.  One guy had me almost begging for mercy before he would say "...and rest."  I wanted to shout out "and rest" a couple of times when my legs were burning and in danger of falling off.  But of course, I curbed my expressive impulse and survived the experience.

After floor class, we get a 5-10 minute break to rest and snack.  I use this time to save my blood sugar from sinking like a submarine.  It's been a delicate balancing act of keeping my sugars stable through the entire afternoon but the first hour seems to be the trickiest.

Then the entire group is divided into 3 smaller groups and you begin at one of three stations and rotate through as you finish each one.  I usually get weights first.  One day arms are the focus and then the next day your legs get all the attention.  Here I must do a wee bit of bragging...I've Got Guns!  Thanks to prednisone and not being active for a long time, my muscles were sagging not so strong.  But no longer does the skin under my arms wave in the breeze.  I have definition.  Woot woot.  It takes about 30 minutes to work your way through the machines and other weights.

The next station is the NuStep.  It's like bicycle but easier on the knees.  It has arms that go back and forth but I am not allowed to use my arms.  Since I have some osteoporosis, they don't want me to do the slight twist that happens in your spine when your arms are working the machine too.  This starts out fun but by 10 minutes I am tuckered out and that is only half-way.  The Saddists PT's have bumped me up a level as well so the fun just keeps on coming.  But I put on my i-pod for this station and that has helped the time go faster.

The last station is walking laps.  The gym has an indoor track and we cruise around it for 20 min. on MWF and 30 min. on TTh.  You are not supposed to stop and rest but some people just have to.  Because walking is the hardest and I get it last, I am sucking air by the time I am done.  I was going faster the first week but I'm not breathing as well as I was then and my lap count has gone down a bit.  By the end of the walk and I am sweating and huffing--it is not a pretty sight.  What I am able to accomplish here would be soooo much harder at home with the altitude.  Sea level is my friend for sure.

Right now you just want to go home and veg--but no!  Now it is class time which lasts till 4:30.  We are required to attend classes dealing with transplant issues such as:  feeding tubes, medications, research studies, speech therapy, oxygen, what to expect, etc.  I know more than most of the other patients but there is still a lot to absorb.  Some of it you kinda don't want to know, but it is best to be prepared for the "could happens."  It does a number on the anxiety level however.

Well, I'm sure as days go by you'll be hearing more about rehab, finding my way through the trees that are Durham, and humidity (yes, that has already begun and I've heard horror stories about what to expect this summer.)  I'll try to catch up a bit more later--it's late and I'm tired.  Gotta rest up for day 12!

10 comments:

  1. Way to go Sherrie! You're going to be one buff woman when this is all over with all of that whip cracking :) Just reading about it makes me tired. We hope everything is going well, love you TONS!!

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  2. Ugh, and I misspelled your name, sorry! I should know better by now...

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    1. You make me laugh...love ya Risa :)

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  3. Jeannie BretzingMay 8, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I'm impressed with all that you're able to do. You'll be in very good shape when transplant day arrives. Is Rheid able to work from there or is he taking a leave of absence?

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    1. He is able to work remotely here. He may take a short leave once the transplant happens but for now work keeps him out of mischief.

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  4. Whew! Sounds exhausting. And personally, I feel like my lungs do way better in the humidity! Not everyone does, but for me my junk is so much easier to get up. Out here in Utah, the dry, dry desert, the congestion in my lungs doesn't even resemble anything normal - it's sooo dry!

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    1. As much as I hate the heavy feeling of the humidity, it does seem to make lung junk more mobile. I'm trying to embrace the whole humidity thing but it's a tough sell.

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  5. Sherri your description almost motivates me to ramp up my workout (that wouldn't be all that hard since it only consists of walking the dog). I am praying for you! You inspire me with your positive attitude, and you are so funny, it's fun to read your blog! I love you and will be following your journey (sounds a bit creepy) and praying for you! I think you are amazing!

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  6. Sherri... I love you, Friend. You are amazing. I would love to leave you a private message... can you email me? Do you remember my email address? haha.

    Do you mind if I share your blog with your old ward in Elk Ridge? Leave me a message here if you don't have my email address. I'm not sure i have your current one...

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  7. I am super impressed by your upbeat attitude! Pretty sure I would be complaining like crazy! I am so glad you are there. I love you and pray for you lots! I've been sharing your story with friends lately. It is amazing how many people are touched by CF.

    I can only imagine how hard it must be to be away from home, but I know you are right where you are supposed to be right now.

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