Pulmonary Function Test: My Claustraphobic Hell

Unbeknownst to me, today’s testing appointment was going to send me into a mental breakdown of sorts.  Today’s appointment was for a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT), and I had no idea going into it what it was going to entail.  Note to self:  research ahead of time!  My medical anxiety was so bad heading to the appointment that I almost made my husband drive me just to make sure I actually got there, but he was able to do so without driving the car.  His words and presence always get me through the hard stuff in this autoimmune life.

Once we were checked in my anxiety kicked into high gear.  I begged my husband to just take me home several times, but he wasn’t having that today.  When I walked into the testing room, I became keenly aware that they were going to lock me in this little box for this test and I freaked out immediately.  I mean I couldn’t breathe and was nearly hyperventilating just thinking about it.  The respiratory therapist was great with my anxiety and took everything super slow and over-explained everything just to soothe my worry.  I am so appreciative of the way she handled me today.  Not too many of my practitioners have the same compassion that was shown to me today.

The test itself consisted of three small tests in one.  Each test measures different ways that your body holds and processes the air that it breathes.  Each and every single one of these tests was upsetting to me.  For the first one I was unable to blow out air the right way, and I could see the therapist was getting exhausted just watching me try.  It took me three tries to finally validate the test the way that she needed me to do it.  Ugh!  I was ready to walk out by the first test.  My anxiety was rising and so was my irritation.  My husband said he could clearly see that in my facial expressions.  For the second test, it they cut off all your air with the machine and I felt like I was being smothered.  It really raised my PTSD issues.  I felt like I was about to be kidnapped and someone had just put their hand over my mouth!  On the third and final test is the part where they actually close the door in that little box and make you pant so that they can measure the pressures.  Each and every single one of these tests was near torture for me and I hope and pray I don’t have to do this test again any time soon!

As bad as this test was, I have to admit that I have survived yet another thing that I thought I just would not be able to do.  I impress myself each time I make it through one of these without running out of the room.  That’s what I really want to do – run like my hair is on fire!  I hate the medical facilities and the need to be there.   I have never been very fond of anything medical and now that I spend so much time in these places it’s hard to deal with it sometimes.  I’m not going to lie here – I did have to take my anti-anxiety medicine just to make it through the door for the appointment.  I was almost in tears the anxiety was so strong today.  My poor husband somehow managed to hold me together through it all.  I don’t know that I would have been able to do this without him right there with me.  I thank Gods every day that he is a part of my life.

Stay strong autoimmune warriors and friends and family!  Love and light now and always!

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