Got here on time and did the typical blood pressure stuff. Signed another consent form and got fitted for the rubber ring that goes around my neck to hold the helmet on. They showed me my special pink card (it’s pink to indicate that I’m a seizure risk) and where I go on the board to show that I’m going to be in the chamber itself.
Then it was off to the women’s locker room to get my scrubs and booties. Only 100% cotton in the chamber - anything else is a fire risk and since it’s pure oxygen, it’s basically the equivalent of sitting in a big bomb for two hours.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know about the booties part, so I’d worn flip-flops. They were very nice and gave me socks to wear inside my booties, so that was nice.
Then I got to meet my chamber-mates for the morning… all of them men over the age of 70. :D Kenny and Mike were the two I sat next to in the waiting room next to the fish tank (which lends to the whole ‘aquarium/submarine’ motif. We chatted for a few minutes and then it was time for everyone to get into the submarine!
It was assigned seating and I got the fun one in the far corner. Basically, more room to stretch out and make my own.
Rings on, we start to dive. Kenny immediately has issues with his ears. Nothing he does (gum, water, swallowing, jaw movements, blowing his nose, etc.) has any effect on his ears. Halfway down, and about seven minutes, they make us go back up and take him out. He’s going to have to get tubes in his ears.
Down we go again and it gets HOT (about 90 degrees) as we descend. Once we’re at 2.5 times our atmospheric pressure (or about 45ft), we stop, itch our faces and put our helmets on.
It takes me about ten minutes to realize that I’m having trouble breathing. Once I do, John the Tech helps with my hood and I try to take a deep breath and can’t. I’m not actually panicking, but I’m a little worried and I don’t understand WHY and it’s not until he reminds me that there’s two and a half times the normal pressure on my chest that I think, “OH! Okay,” and get back to it.
Panic attack averted.
First airbreak goes by much faster than I imagined it would. Basically, helmets on for 25 minutes, off for five and on for 25… etc. I read a magazine, write in my journal and still, an hour and forty-five minutes goes by much slower than I thought it would. Napping is difficult and I remember why I hate sleeping on planes: breathing oxygen like that gives me a headache. UGH.
All in all, not a bad experience, but it’s going to get boring SUPER fast. Thank heaven I have lots of books to read this summer :D
Most of you know by now that I am embarking on a new leg of my post-cancer journey via a campaign I like to call “Mary’s New Teeth”. Unfortunately, this leg of the journey is expensive. But the outcome will change my life in ways I hope will enrich it and allow me to get back to defining my new normal.
With the help of a few friends, we are attacking the issue of funding this little adventure in a variety of ways… and this is one of them. In order to get this site off the ground, I need a couple of small donations to get things started, so to speak. Would you consider donating even a few dollars via this site to help me get the ball rolling?
All of you have been there for me in so many ways…. I can’t begin to thank you for your support and love. I hate to be asking for help - this is not something that comes easily for me. But I hope you will consider helping me as I move forward with this process.
Thank you so much for your consideration. Whether you can donate or not, your support means more to me than you will ever know.
As of July 5th, my insurance has approved my hyperbaric treatments.
As of July 5th, my partially broken tooth has broken completely, straight to the top. It aches a little, but doesn’t actually hurt just yet, for which I’m grateful. At the moment, I’m thinking of things I can eat that won’t cause it to get aggravated to the point of actual pain.
This morning, July 6th, I called the dentist. She offered to put a “bandaid” on my tooth, but it wouldn’t have been covered by insurance and that’s just $112 I don’t have. Since it’s not hurting and I can start my hyperbaric treatments next Monday, I opted to wait. It should only take a couple of weeks and then I can have them all out anyway.
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In other news, the other problem I’d been having, the funky vertigo, did not get better with medication and Dr. Prewitt, the doctor who diagnosed me in 2009, decided he “has concerns”. He wanted me to stay yesterday for an MRI done of my equilibrium centers and my brain, but I had to get my sister back her car, so I had to schedule it for Friday at Valley. Then, next Monday, I’ll go back to see him for the results.
At this point, I really can’t take any other bad news. I’ve had enough for this week already.
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In OTHER other news? July 2nd was my two year cancer surgery anniversary. Go me.