Oh, Hey… It’s Me Again

I turned 71 the other day. A year and a half ago I would have considered that an accomplishment. It turns out I have a thing called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a relatively rare disease that’s characterised by alveoli scarring to the point they can’t oxygenate blood. It’s progressive, so things get worse over time, and there’s no cure. When I was first diagnosed in May 2016 my pulmonologist gave me a maximum of five years. That’s the bad stuff.

In reality I’m doing OK. My only issue occcurs when I exert myself a little, my muscles, particularly my legs, feel weak because they aren’t receiving oxygenated blood from alveoli in my lungs. Sitting in my chair writing this my oxygen saturation is at 99%, almost perfect. When I’m on the treadmill I drop to the low-80s, which for a variety of reasons, is not good. Supplemental oxygen is the solution. So now when I do treadmill I’m sucking on three-litres of continuous O2 per minute.

I have oxygen units that meet my current needs. I can go to the gym, play golf, exert myself at home, or get on an airplane. And while there is no cure, there are options. I’m currently involved with two separate hospitals that are very good at performing lung transplants, Indiana University (IU) in Indianapolis and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Both have sterling reputations. I’ve had initial evaluations at each and have appointments for continued testing and monitoring. My current status is I’m too healthy for transplant, but both are keeping a watchful eye. At this point I don’t need to make any choices. When the time comes, whichever hospital offers the first lung(s) is where I’ll go. I now know people who have had transplants at both and they are doing well.

So this is why I haven’t posted anything in a long time. IPF has been ever-present in my conscious thoughts. I’ve wanted to write but didn’t feel I was in a place where I could until now. In the future I’ll get back to posting whatever I happen to be thinking about and photographs, pretty much what I was doing before. I’ll try to only mention IPF when something happens that warrants reporting. Otherwise, I’ll try not to bore you.

The First Hurdle

When I was in high school, fifty years ago, girls were permitted only minimal athletic activity. It was a cultural thing. When Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended in 1972, became law, schools receiving federal funding were required to provide equal opportunity for female students, including athletics.

I attended a high school track meet yesterday. This, my friends, is the result of Title IX. I freaking love it.

the first hurdle

The intensity, focus, and desire to succeed is etched on each face. The innate athletic ability is obvious. I don’t know which of these young women won the race, it ended about 70 meters past my standpoint. But it doesn’t matter. The participants in this heat and the one following, and all the track and all the field events were winners when they stepped onto the field.

We Ordered FitBits Today

We ordered FitBits today. I think I’ll enjoy using mine. I get a kick out the Pedometer++ App on my iPhone, which provides steps walked and flights climbed data, but in order for it to work I have to keep the phone in my pocket. That isn’t always convenient. For example, when I’m playing golf I keep items of golf equipment in my pockets.

FitBit also provides data I couldn’t get from an iPhone, or an Watch for that matter. I’m anxious to have access to sleep data. It’s been a very long time since I slept through the night. FitBit might get some useful diagnostic data that will help me resolve that issue. Or, it could just be old age, in which case I think I’ll take what I can then plan on a permanent sleep sometime in the, hopefully distant, future. In either case, I’ll have data.

The fitness band will pair with my iPhone, though it won’t use Apple’s Health App. I’ll still get real-time data based on my activity, or lack thereof.

So, should I expect that having an activity monitor on my body 24/7 will motivate me to get more exercise? I don’t have that answer yet. Stay tuned.

UPDATE April 18

Our FitBits arrived yesterday, but we didn’t know it until this morning when I looked at the FedEx Web site to see when I might expect delivery. Imagine my surprise when I saw they’d been delivered Friday. When we got it inside, we tore into the package then began setting up our new fitness trackers. After that, we went for a 1.7 mile walk around the neighborhood. I hope we keep our activity level up.

We like our new devices, but there’s one item we’ve identified that’s not up to expectations. The associated application provides for entering the food eaten during a day then compares it to calories burned. Unfortunately there is no discernible way to enter real food. All choices seem to be restaurant food. That is not realistic, unless the target audience for the device are upper-income 20-somethings who never learned to cook. Nice try, FitBit. Those are the people who will be buying Watches.

UPDATE April 19

Our initial reaction is that FitBits have become problematic due to wildly inaccurate readings. I was surprised this morning when I found that after I had gotten out of bed, then walked the 14 steps to get downstairs, and the 18 steps from the bottom of the stairs into the kitchen, that I had somehow accumulated in excess of 4,000 steps. Based on my activities today I should have had fewer than 5,000 steps counted. As of 11:26 PM FitBit has logged 12,856.

Equally unreasonable readings have caused Jen to decide the FitBit isn’t worth the cost. I’ve made some adjustments to the settings in the hope that it will all better when I get up in the morning. I’m holding out for anywhere from a day or two, to a week to decide whether they both go back or not. If return is the final decision I will be sad.