Carbon Dioxide Kid

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Sounds like a member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

Last Friday I made my first visit to the pulmonary clinic. The dead hush of the place suggested that either it is new or that Durham has too many pulmonary specialists. Much of the time was taken up as first visits often are with a nurse getting to know you, asking the usual questions and making you feel almost as if you should be guilty for having no pains to confess.

Pretty much the same followed with the doctor. Most doctors and nurses evoke an initial gut level guess of their potentialities. This doctor didn’t. It could’ve been a stranger at a bus station asking what ails me.

That is of course meaningless. A bedside manner isn’t necessarily indicative of ability.

The doctor left returning a few minutes later with a colleague. The latter told me that I should be wearing one of those devices that people with sleep apnea use at night. Her spiel seemed to be that I was damned lucky to be alive without one. I agreed to accept one. She promised to arrange the prescription. Then I was bid to leave.

No machine as today. I’m torn between believing that the doctors forgot about it or they never figured out how to do it. I can’t call. They are in the clinic only on Fridays.

Nor was there any talk of diet, exercise, any protocols for making me healthier. Just prescribe and move on to the next patient. Like psychiatrists dispensing psych meds as an easy cure for human nature.

The sleep machine and accompanying mask was nothing new. I wore the mask a couple of nights while in DUMC. It would enforce better exhalation. One of my big problems is that I don’t do a good enough job of expelling carbon dioxide.

It can be eerie to lie abed and wonder if you are breathing your way into oblivion.

Overall my spirits are up. I’m feeling more vigorous and alert.

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