My 2 mnthly check out at Papworth Hospital today after sleeping, last night attached to the Oximeter which, I understand, is designed to measure the amount of saturated oxygen in the lungs whilst one is asleep.
On the whole the results were fairly predictable. A general deterioration all round with a rather more serious drop, from 74% to 64% in my FVC. All of this indicates that I will almost certainly require some form of oxygen intervention sooner rather than later. I specifically raised with the doctor the business of flying to Thailand and he advised me to try not to sleep and also not to lie at lower than a 45Â° angle. I explained that the help on traveling business class was to have a flat bed. As the flight from London to Dubai is approximately 8 1/2.hours, with the two or three hour gap between the next onward flight to Bangkok, again another 8 1/2.hours, it is difficult to see how I am goinging to be able to keep awake for the 36 hours or so from door to door. In the past I’ve always had a generous supply of champagne before taking a couple of sleeping tablets and then lying flat for a few hours sleep. I would like to think I can do the same again.
The problem, as explained to me by the doctor, is that the amount of oxygen at 35 to 40,000 feet is around 15% lower than normal. Then, when you sleep you breathe more shadowly,again taking less oxygen, so with someone with weakened lung muscles there is a danger of a buildup of carbon dioxide. Maybe I can persuade the airline to let me sleep with an oxygen mask. I shall ask the doctor what he thinks about this idea.
I also raised the question of the possibility of having a diaphragmatic insert to assist my breathing. The Dr. explained that this was something that wasrecently invented in the US and he suspected that not many more than 40 such operations have taken place there. Apparently a hospital in Sheffield has begun attempting these procedures but again the operation is very new and in his opinion unproven. However, he will bear in mind the fact that I would be prepared to consider being a guinea pig if the opportunity arose and, indeed, I needed such invasive assistance.