6 Minute Walk Test, And Reflections on Treadmill Room…

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm
Chya and Denise, Physios in Treadmill Room!

Chya and Denise, Physios in Treadmill Room!

The “six minute walk test” is what physiotherapists in the biz use to determine a patient’s exercise tolerance/fitness. Basically you walk as briskly as you can for six minutes and they count how far (how many metres) you traveled in that time, and  immediately take your pulse and oxygen saturation upon completion.

Today was my Three Month “six minute walk test”, and I went in excess of 570 metres! That is one hundred metres farther than I got a month ago, and a lifetime farther than last fall.  I am so excited! All that treadmill walking, all that work on the bike and weights are paying off and it’s fun to see! I work no less hard now than I did when I was pre-transplant, only difference is now I see ENcouraging results!

So. Thus marks the end of my tenure at the TREADMILL ROOM where I have spent  2-3 days a week since June. When I started with them I felt like it was the dreaded first day of school. I’d been living the life of leisure; “the nocturnal jazz singer”, who only surfaced in the afternoon to go ride her horse.  Strarting on the list meant the non-negotiable 3 days a week in Treadmill Room to build up stamina pre transplant, and three months of rehab there post. I dreaded going. It meant accepting I was on the list, it meant bowing to their rules, and it meant… waking up in the morning (which, apart from being a jazzer, does not come easily to many suffering from CF)!  What came as an utter shock to me was that I began to actually enjoy working out. I had made friends with the system, surrendered a bit to it, and got to know some people and see some miracles happen. I even began to feel a little guilty that I didn’t use oxygen to work out, since most everyone else did. (If I had stayed on the list much longer I’m fairly certain that would have changed). But for the longest while nobody could tell if I was pre or post, simply becaue I was oxygen free. I was almost embarassed  by this, but as I saw my numbers starting to decline I had begun to feel my neck, as it were.

In about the fall I had settled nicely into the routine when some scary stuff started to happen in the CF Community. About five patients contracted a worse strain of the illness, a very punishing strain that can pass between people that suffer from CF through droplets in the air… what it meant? It meant that nobody with CF could exercise in Treadmill Room at the same time in order to keep them isolated from one another and to stop the outbreak. It meant that all the CF people I had been cathartically getting to know  would have to become “facebook friends only.”  I’ve met some great people there. I understand completely why we can’t hang out in person. It was with great care that the Treadmill Room staff kept up apart from one another, and had us in gloves and disinfecting the machines and weights after use. They had to do all sorts of juggling to accomodate the new CF guidelines. Two of these dedicated workers are pictured above, Chya and Denise.

Oh, Treadmill room… the sound of the various machines chugging along… the sounds of the various different coughs… the easy rock radio that I would hate, and the ipod I loaded with old-time radio shows to transport me elsewhere… the sound of liquid oxygen tanks being filled…  Oh, Treadmill room… the sights of physios in yellow smocks…. the sight of full grown men in track pants doing side bends like prima ballerinas on oxygen… the sight of people young and old, white, yellow, beige, in wheelchairs and on scooters… all arriving for duty.

Treadmill Room, This is Baby Bear Heading Home. Over and Out.

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