Pulmonary Function Test

Today I had a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT). This is a non-invasive procedure to determine how well my lungs are working.

There are four diagnostics:

  • lung capacity
  • lung volume
  • rate of flow
  • gas exchange

My place was in the chair shown above, take the tube in my mouth (a sterile mouthpiece that is attached to a spirometer shown as black in the picture), seal tight with my lips and wear a nose clip.

I was instructed to breath normally and when prompted, take in a full deep breath and expel it forcefully and completely. That’s harder than I expected especially the last part when there is very little left to expel. I repeated this a couple of times. I think this was for volume, capacity and flow.

Then I was instructed to breath normally, take a deep breath and expel it completely. In this case, I was not required to expel forcefully but completely. There was a small amount of nitrogen in the mix which passes into the blood stream in a comparable path as oxygen. The amount of nitrogen is measured before and after. This is a test for gas exchange.

The diagnostician running the test commented that my lungs appear to be fully functioning, in great shape and said if all his patients were as good, he’d be out of a job.

I understand than Dr. Wallace has all her patients take this test. I suspect there is concern with my tumors being close to the lungs.

I will know more on Monday.

Janet and I decided to take a bus from home to the QEII in order to let Halifax Transit do the driving in the snow. Given the amount of snow which fell since 6:00 AM, this was a good call. My friend Richie offered to drive but we were already on the bus and truthfully, I’d prefer a paid city driver crash a bus than put a good friend at risk.

I was pretty excited with this good news about my lungs so I suggested to Janet we walk down to the ferry which is about 2 km. The snow was swirling, the trees looked beautiful, the streets were deserted with all the weather related cancellations. And the sidewalk plows were already clearing most of our route.

I have never seen Meredith’s office in the NDP Caucus and I didn’t expect she’d be at work in the downtown. As it turned out, she was so we took a 1/2 hours getting an office tour, meeting her boss Gary Burill, and seeing her work-space. All her colleagues were aware of the road I’m on and expressed their good wishes for a successful outcome.

We then boarded the ferry to Woodside. The picture is at the terminal and shows an oil rig in the harbour.

A short ride on the #57 bus and we were all hunkered down at home to ride out the storm.

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