austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

He does everything he can

We were having lunch the day before my pulmonary function test and the noon news came on. There was breaking news of an incident at the medical clinic where my tests were to be. Apparently an enraged man who'd been ordered to leave the building had left, got in his car, and come back in, in his car. After smashing his car through the entrance he backed out and smashed the car through the entrance again, and perhaps a third time. And this turned into a standoff with police in which he, apparently, demanded that they shoot him. They did not.

But this had the effect on clinic schedules you might imagine. Especially since the lab I was to go to was the one just inside the main entrance. When the clinic reopened the next week I rescheduled my appointment, went in, and was told there was something awry here because while they had my test ordered it wasn't scheduled, or something like that. I made a fresh appointment, and they apologized and gave me a card for a free drink from the convenience store coffee bar. (I didn't use it.) Later, they left a message on my voice mail asking why I'd missed my appointment. Personally, I love systems falling into absurdity like this, though I understand why bunny_hugger takes them as more personal insults.

So my third scheduled appointment I went to, a bit more ahead of time so that I could explain that no, I had not skipped my second appointment. They seemed to understand. While filling out the intake form I realized I couldn't remember the name of the doctor who ordered the test, since he wasn't my usual physician, but that's all right. The technician running the test knew it. Perhaps filling out the form was just a matter of form.

The pulmonary function test was a matter of sitting inside a cylindrical booth with my mouth hooked up to a little beige box. And I had to breathe in and out, or pant, or take and hold deep breaths, per the technician's instructions. The most challenging part came midway through, as I had to breathe in a bronchial dilator for about ten minutes. This was applied by way of a plastic tube that caused me to produce more saliva in ten minutes than I have my entire life to that point, cumulatively. It was a mercy when he told em I could briefly take the tube out of my mouth and swallow. After all that we repeated the tests.

The data has yet to be fully analyzed and written up by the appropriate specialist. But the raw data looked pretty good: lung capacity near normal, breathing just about what one would predict, very regular, repeatable respiration. I credit yoga classes since most of the breathing exercises were the sorts of things done in the easy part of yoga classes. But, assuming nothing does turn up from this, it does leave my coughing yet unexplained. Maybe it is postnasal drip after all.

Trivia: Apple's 5 1/4-inch floppy drive could hold 113 kilobytes. It sold initially for $495, including operating system software and the controller to plug into an Apple II's internal slots. Source: A History of Modern Computing, Paul E Ceruzzi.

Currently Reading: 1946: The Making Of The Modern World, Victor Sebestyen.

PS: Elevator Mathematics, drawing on a dream of chefmongoose's.

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