Today I take the train into the city to Mt. Sinai hospital in New York City to see my Pulmonologist, a trip I am dreading. Well, not really dreading, but more like not looking forward to. I could drive, which would be faster and cheaper, but the stress of driving into the city can take its toll. Sometimes Mt. Sinai has no parking at their garage, and I never park my car on the street, so I have to go over to another parking garage that is about five blocks away, and down hill from Mt. Sinai.
To the average person, walking five blocks is nothing, but to me, a person with Lung and Cardiac Sarcoidosis, Heart failure and Pulmonary Hypertension, it can take a good bit out of you. So I take the train. It’s a relaxing hour and twenty-minute ride in Grand Central Station, where I read a book, and then a ten or fifteen minute ride to the hospital from there by cab.
The reason I need to not be stressed physically when i go to Mt. Sinai is the battery of tests they perform. They are pretty thorough. First the doc examines me physically and takes my vitals etc. Then it’s off to x-rays. After that it’s off to the PFT, or pulmonary function test. For a person that has a lung disorder and a weakened heart, that sucker literally knocks the wind out of your sails. There’s a ten minute rest and then it’s off to the oxygen saturation test. That’s six minutes of stair climbing or brisk walking to see how fast your O2 levels in your blood drop.
Thankfully, I have been in Sarcoidosis remission since 2007, but I have been having difficulty breathing lately. If they suspect anything, then that means a PET Scan, which is not in itself a physically stressing test, but a lengthy one. It takes a good four to five hours, and they play with your sugar levels by increasing and decreasing constantly before injecting you with a radioactive isotope before the scan. That sugar up and down can really mess with you.
So here’s looking forward to an exhausting day, but also to a “clean” bill of health.