Monday, October 5, 2009

Pulmonary Rehab at Duke - The First Day

Well, since I've still got the energy to write tonight, I'm thinking rehab will be good.

My program has several parts to it....Every day at 12:30 we check in; do floor exercises; do walking; do weight machines; do bicycling; have lecture. It ends at 4:30. Twice a week Lee comes in with me at 11:30 for the Transplant Lectures.

Today was a transplant lecture and it was about "What to expect". Well I know my eyes, as well as Lee's eyes are a little more open. Cindy, one of the Post Transplant Coordinator taught the class and discussed different considerations after surgery. They include:
  • Ventilators and chest tubes -- she said it was really important to realize that you will be on a ventilator up to a few days (depending on a lot of different things). She said one caregiver saw his wife after surgery and while the team thought she looked great he passed out cold from the shock of the ventilator and all the tubes! I'm glad Lee was listening!!!
  • Pain -- Said you'll have an epidural from the neck down for a while and then they'll switch you to pain meds. I could deliver a baby at the same time!!! I didn't mention to her that I'm allergic to all the "good" stuff! The docs do know that.
  • TCDB (Turn - Cough - Deep - Breathe). Cindy said that this will be REALLY painful but it's really important so you don't get pneumonia.
  • Walking -- Cindy said that walking helps you heal faster and -- more importantly -- it really makes your surgeon happy! She suggested asking the nurses for a heads up for when the surgeon is coming and then you can go out into the hallway to make it look like you are doing laps!
  • Medications -- There is a whole class dedicated to the post-transplant meds and Lee and I will be taking that the first part of November.

Cindy then explained how there are some things that you should do every day for the rest of your life to make sure you stay well and don't reject your new lungs. She explained that most people don't feel any symptoms of rejection...that's a little scary!

After the class Lee went back to the apartment and I started the rest of Rehab.

Checking in was pretty simple.

Then we all went to the floor exercises. They had me watch today so I'd have a good idea of how it works before I start out. Everyone gets a mat and ankle weights and dumb-bells and finds a spot on the floor. Then one of the Rehab therapists sits on her mat in the middle and gives instructions. There are so many people that she uses a microphone so everyone can hear her. We do stretching and dumb bells and leg lifts and bands. I was using the dumb-bells and bands in my chair today and my upper arms are really sore already! I guess I'll get buff!

Then we went to different "stations". I started with walking. They had me walk around the track for 15 minutes and tracked my oxygen saturation numbers. Because today was a "good breathing day" for me I did fine but I was feeling it in my legs because I think I might walk faster than I should.

Next was weight machines. Today I concentrated on legs and tomorrow will be upper body. It alternates every other day. After using seven different machines my legs were getting a little wimpy.

Next was bicycling. Fortunately for me I got assigned today to the Nustep machine. It lets you use your arms to help move your legs (at least that's what I've always thought). I HATE legs start to burn after a couple of minutes! I did the Nustep for 15 minutes at level 3. It was good but this was the third station so my legs were really getting tired.

Last, we went to a lecture. This one was given by the head of Nutrition and it was about eating well with breathing problems. It was really interesting. While a lot of us knew a lot of info, he shared new stuff about studies they have done pertaining to diets and Breathing ability.

Apparently they have actually linked better breathing with higher servings of Fruits and Veggies! That's good for me because I like those. Also learned that Fat requires less oxygen to burn energy than other foods. Because of that they are now recommending a change to the old food pyramid to have pulmonary patients eat more Fats and less Starch. We then talked about the good and the bad fats. We still can't eat all the fatty meats (you know...the ones that taste really good!)

All in all it was really interesting. Did you know that walnuts are high in Omega 3? I didn't! Did you know that consuming dairy products (milk and yogurt) will actually lower blood pressure?

OK, my last Trivial Pursuit tidbit...You should space out your calcium tablets (if you are taking them) because if you take them all at once they will actually reduce the amount of calcium you get...pretty weird. He also said that you shouldn't take your first supplement right after you have your milk and cereal or your yogurt (that's calcium too!)

My work day completed and Lee came back to get me. We didn't go on errands and we didn't pass Go...we came straight home. It's now 8:40 here and I'm going to bed so that I'm rested enough for tomorrow!

Take care everyone!


Lee, Wendy and Missy

1 comment:

  1. I got tired just reading your blog. You sure opened by eyes about a lot of things.