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Fatboy: 2 – Cold Virus: 1

Down with a ColdFatboy spent Black Friday, Happy Saturday, and Hooky Sunday on the couch and floor. Sick with the cold virus. Beautiful and I both had dry, cracking throats leaving her parents’ house Thursday night after food and fun, but colds certainly start days before, so we must have been exposed to something together Monday or Tuesday.

I went from being perfectly clear in the lungs and sinuses to being a freaky, slimy, smelly mess by Saturday morning. You know the sick, snot smell that oozes out of your pores with a bad cold. That was me. I was running a temperature Sunday that got me popping Tylenol Cold caplets every 4 hours. I called clinic’s on-call number around 6pm at Sue’s insistence and they told me to come in today at lunch.

I cut my hair and Beautiful accessed my port this morning (another stellar job, Babe!) because no one in their right mind enjoys having a hastily-placed, iodine-prepped dressing that includes a 3/4″ needle in a 1/2″ port when one’s wife is perfectly and superiorly capable of doing it properly.

I was very short of breath walking to the car and up to the building, but by the time I was sitting in the waiting room I was wondering why I was there. I obviously felt 10 times better than the day before. Then things started adding up to bad news:

  • I was down 6 lbs from 2 weeks ago.
  • My temperature was 100.1.
  • Toss out my 96% sat.
  • I provided them with a culture on command.

Then things got strange. I was barely able to breathe over the weekend. I thought for sure I’d be in the 20s for FEV1 since I was already down to 35% when I was healthy. So, what do I blow?


Let that sink in for a while. Take a look at this if you must:

Date Weight FVC FVC % FEV1 FEV1 %
11/29/10 116 2.41 56% 1.43 39%
11/12/10 123 2.37 55% 1.28 37%
8/20/10 132.3 2.58 60% 1.37 37%
5/14/10 116.6 2.49 58% 1.32 36%
3/19/10 119.1 2.24 52% 1.24 34%
2/19/10 114.4 2.1 49% 0.98 27%

So let me get this straight… I catch a cold, let it simmer for 3 full days of body aches, snap/crackle/pop all night long, stuffy nose, and coughing up crap and yet I still gained lung volume?!

I blew the lid off the PFT and the full PFT in The Box 2 weeks ago. I was an animal, yet my numbers had dropped from the visit before in both volume and the 1-second volume. Their theory was that my diaphragm is so strong, it was forcing the air out of my lungs so fast that it was closing my airways. They’ve got other patients that suggest that theory is quite sound, since there are some body-building brothers that are super-healthy but blow pitiful numbers.

So, what good are PFTs if you can’t trust the numbers? They show trends, but I’m about to bust mine since I’ll be ticking up a year for my next visit, which will lower the predicted standards. I’ll also stop blowing so hard. We have to get to the bottom of this to see what is really possible, now that I’m sure that I was causing lower numbers with my technique. With time, I should be able to reach my maximum numbers and be confident of a truer indication of how I feel once we know what I can achieve in full health knowing what I know now.

I am likely sicker than the previous visits, however the doctor said he couldn’t hear a thing coming out of my lungs when he listened, convincing him that I was definitively not worthy of being on home IVs. Sometimes the option is there for me to choose things like “now or in the next few days if you don’t feel better,” but he wasn’t having any of this idea of risking resistance for something that I was the decided victor over.

I had an influenza test before I left to be sure I had experienced a cold and not the flu (since I’d already had the flu shot), and by 3pm, Sue e-mailed and said I was negative.

I was sick and tired, but I have beaten off the cold virus so I can go on with my busy life.


  1. Even with all we’ve learned, medicine is still more art than science. Glad you’re feeling better.

  2. Even with all we’ve learned, medicine is still more art than science. Glad you’re feeling better.

  3. I don’t understand why you’re % Pred will change. I thought it was only based on height and weight, and that the % Pred represents your full llung capacity IF you were at 100%.

    Eitehr way, I’m super glad you don’t have an infection and more glad that you don’t have the flu, as surely you would get an infection if you were super sick like that for a week! Ugho!

    • Thanks, CG! Predicted volumes are based on height, weight, and age. A 75 year old won’t have the same capacity as they did in their 20s. It’s a slope, too. So, having lost weight and getting a year older, the computer will put in lower predicted volumes than in August to change my %, so I’ll need to look at actual volume for an apples to apples comparison.