August 5th, 2011


Back to reality

Good holiday, lots of rest, good exercise, lots of tai chi.  When I get back, a surprise annual review on Monday (lots of notice there, folks).

It should have been good, fresh back from holiday.  But it wasn't.  FEV1 (lung function) 1.88, 44%.  Anything below 2 I worry about, and it was close last time.  I hoped that with exercise and rest it would go back up, but it's not happened.  It took me a while to come to any conclusions but my thinking is:
- There's no significant sign of infection.  My sputum isn't bad, my diabetes is stable, good physio hasn't really shown up any deficient areas of my lungs, nothing showing by acupuncture.
- I AM tired.  We know that lung function is as much a sign of tiredness as lung strength and so the two are intrinsically related.
- Most of the tiredness at the moment comes from work, but the point of working part time should be that I can use the rest of the time to rest up.  It isn't working.
- I have let my exercise drop steadily over the last 10 years, first swimming, then the gym, then walking and this has coincided with a decline in lung function.

The registrar, as I would expect, put me on oral antibiotics but I don't expect them to do a great deal.  Curiously, they thinning my sputum so it's possible they are more relevant than I thought, but I'm not expecting a great result.  My feeling is that it's a long-term problem and it will need a long term solution, of which there is only one:  cardio-vascular exercise.  (Tai Chi has been great at improving my overall health but doesn't do that.  Walking isn't much more than a stop-gap.)

Unfortunately I don't have spare energy for exercise and it needs to come from somewhere, so I called in the advantage of my workplace:  bosses who care.  We have agreed that I move my worktime back half an hour, which will give me a more leisurely opportunity to walk into work daily, and drop my worktime by an hour each week.  This is temporary to see how it works out.  We can't stop work being the crazy, crazy, crazy busy it will be for the next 6 months, but I might also be able to take time away from the front end - and I can ask to reduce my hours if necessary;  this is extra stuff we can look at over time.

For now, I'll start warming up with walking and then start walking up and down the gym stairs.  Next step will be to book a time with they physios to visit the university gym together and put together a new routine for the hard of breathing.  It's going to be a long one.

As a corollary to this, I apologise for having even less energy for proper communication (Roy and Eddie especially).