So I went in on Friday for a CPET. Basically, it’s a fitness test. I cycle on a bike, they see if my heart can withstand surgery. Sounds simple enough.
I went in and they checked my haemoglobin and it was too low to do the test.
Wait, let’s backtrack a bit. I’m missing important details. First a nice, young, good looking man came out and took my height and weight. How much do I weigh? Oh wait, just let me take off my shoes. Jumper. Scarf. Beanie… Gotta give myself the best chance I can, hey! He immediately picked my accent. Heyyy that doesn’t happen often! Of course one of the exercise physios is from Adelaide. She’s currently back there for a holiday.
Then I waited a bit in the waiting room and another nice, young, good looking man came and got me. This was going to be just fine by me.
We went in and they asked me a few questions. Then they pricked my finger to check my haemoglobin. I’ve had my finger pricked to check my blood sugar before and that’s fine but this hurt!! I came up in a bruise quite quickly. Haemoglobin: 79. Too low.
Nice guy #2 called the doctors to check, meanwhile nice guy #1 went on with the breathing test. I had to breathe into a tube and pretend I was blowing out birthday candles – big huff at first and then expel the rest to blow out the rest. I always appreciate a good analogy. A picture of a cake came up on the screen and I blew out the candles! Fun! It even came up and said ‘good job!’ on the screen. Turns out my lungs are good.
Nice guy #2 (he was the exercise physio) came back and said I could get a transfusion next week and they could retest me next Friday. Next Friday to find out if I was going to go into hospital on Sunday??? I mentioned that my parents were waiting on this ok to get tickets to come over. Next Friday was very close and not very helpful.
‘Let me see what I can do’ he said and he immediately called back to champion my cause. He explained his clinic days, he pushed for me to get the transfusion that afternoon, he even offered a whole lot of alternatives to try and make it all work. What an angel, what a hero. I thanked him profusely.
I managed to get in for the transfusion on the Friday evening, and the new CPET was scheduled for the Monday. Slightly later than planned but not an absolute crisis.
—— Fast Forward to Monday ——
Most importantly, it snowed on and off for most of the day, which was I always love. Snow alternating with sun. Perfection. Must be a good sign.
It was nice to see them both again. This time my haemoglobin was up to 93. Still low but we cracked on regardless. Also the finger pricking hurt a lot less today! Weird!
First I was hooked up to an ECG to monitor my heart. Then, a sleeve to measure my blood pressure. Next, a little sleeve on my finger (sleeve may not be the right word there) to check my blood oxygen levels and heart rate. I got on the bike and sat there while they hooked everything up. Lastly, a mask on my face to monitor my breathing to check how much of the oxygen I take in and expel.
The guys talked me through everything and explained it all as we went which I loved. Once I was all connected, we started. I had to keep my legs turning at a constant pace – 60, but Jen, ever the overachiever, kept it at 70. It started off easy, with no resistance, then the resistance started to go up. Basically, I was on a never ending hill, and I had to go as far as I could. 10-15 minutes. I have no idea how long I went for.
MY LEGS HURT! Pretty much right from the beginning! I haven’t used them much for a long time. By the end, I was getting pretty puffed and my legs were burning.
‘One more minute’ nice guy #2 said. 1 more minute. Right, I can do that. So I pushed for a while. Then I got pretty tired. ’20 seconds’ he said. Then I swear about 20 seconds later, ’10 more seconds’. Cheeky.
For the last minute I was breathing heavy, and it was disconcerting having to breathe through a tube and not get fresh air. I was actually feeling a bit claustrophobic by it! Not actually panicking but a bit of the feeling that I got in the MRI of not being able to breathe. But I was ok.
Eventually I felt like I was about to crash, and he said to slow my legs, they were taking off the resistance. He thanked me for pushing that last bit and going a bit longer. He said it helped them to get better results.
I recovered quite quickly after.
So the results of this test help to decide if I’m fit enough from surgery for next Monday. Hoping I get the results tomorrow!
Thanks David and Nick. I think I remembered their names correctly… What great guys.