Well, I got a call back from Chicago asking me if I could come back on March 2nd for pretesting. We were excited for them to respond so quickly after insurance approval, so we can have this all done by July when the baby arrives. This time I came up by myself, because pretesting only last a couple of days, unless they find problems with the test results. The purpose of pretesting is to make sure that you are healthy enough to go through HSCT treatment, and that there are no infections waiting to kill you once you lose your immune system. I actually had to go to the dentist last week so they could do an exam and make sure everything was fine inside my mouth. On day two, they test your disability so they have a starting point to compare with as a person gets better or worse.
The first day focused on the medical testing. My first appointment was a chest X-ray. That was easy. Next, was blood work and an EKG. The blood work was crazy because they drew twenty-two vials of blood! I asked if this was common, and they said only for transplants. Next was the EKG, which is where they hook you up to a bunch of sensors and check your heart pulses, or something like that. Still not totally sure what that one was all about.
Next up was the pulmonary functions test, which was actually pretty fun. They put you in a big glass box and have you breathe into a nozzle with sensors and do different exercises to check the conditioning of your lungs. When that one was done, the lady performing the test said “Your lungs are extraordinary…too extraordinary actually! “. Oh the life of a triathlete!
Next up was the 2-d echo. This was basically an ultrasound done on my heart. It was kind of strange watching the valves in my heart open and close. The hardest part was that they injected me with saline solution, which would cause bubbles on one side of my heart, and when I would cough, they would all bounce around. (The reason they do this is to make sure the bubbles aren’t going from one side of the heart to the other through a small hole.) It was actually hard to watch, because the idea of little bubbles bouncing around in my heart was unnerving for some reason! Other than the fact they had to put another IV in my arm for that, it wasn’t bad and it was my last test of the day and I was exhausted!
After all the tests were done, I decided to go walk around and get more familiar with downtown, so I looked on the map and saw the Navy Pier was close. I walked over there and it was really a beautiful walk. There are really nice parks along the edge of the lake, and it was really cool to look out and see the lake frozen over. Also, when I was out at the end of Navy Pier and turn back towards downtown, there was a really awesome view of the skyline, which was definitely worth the walk. Another day of tests tomorrow and I should be done for the week!