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Pulmo Rehab

Has anyone done this before? My pulmo would like for me to get started in a few weeks once I get out of the hospital. I've actually wanted to do this for a while, so I'm hoping my insurance will cover it. I'm really hoping this will help increase my lung function and condition my body so that I have more stamina and strength.

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  • Pljohns

    I really wanted to one time when I got out of the hospital too but my pulmo said as long as I was walking it was pointless.  Not sure I agree with her but she didn't recommend it.  I think it's great that yours does!

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm a great believer in pulmo rehab. My dad went through pulmo rehab, and it really helped him. It can interrupt something called the "dyspnea spiral." Dyspnea = labored or difficult breathing, so we can also call it the "difficult breathing spiral."

    Here's a diagram of what that spiral can look like.

    So we're all likely to not do things that make us uncomfortable or make us struggle. When we have an asthma flare — or a bout of pneumonia, say — we can wind up below our baseline breathing. We struggle as we do things we didn't struggle with before, so we tend to avoid those.

    But if we continue to avoid those, we become physically deconditioned and we can lose muscle mass.

    Losing muscle mass means we're losing horsepower to move ourselves around, and we're having to use MORE energy to move the same body weight.

    That can lead to even more breathlessness, which can make us avoid even more. 

    Pulmo rehab can help us figure out a safe exercise starting point and guidance on how to incorporate exercise in a safe way. Sometimes knowing what's normal and what's not for a person managing asthma can help reduce some of the anxiety about having trouble breathing. That can give us the courage to push through when we should push through — but it will also help us know when we're pushing too hard and we need to step back.

    Lynn, if your doctor doesn't recommend pulmo rehab for you (and a good pulmo rehab is more than just an exercise program), could you ask if physical therapy might be an option? Or what exercise program he recommends to help you strengthen your lungs?

  • LK

    Cynthia,  Wow!  That is great information.  It always helps me even if I knew them at some point to have things spelled out.  Thank you!!  

  • dory2005

    Cynthia, This is exactly what I've been concerned about! I am hoping to get in better condition, but because of my asthma and tachycardia, I have to be monitored closely. This exacerbation has been one of the worst ones that I've ever had, and it made me realize just how hard my body was having to work just to breathe. I was super close to being intubated, and that was a little too scary for me. I hope that once I get home and settled, I'll be able to start in the next week or two. Thanks for all the info! It really is so helpful.

  • Shea

    Yikes! That is a bad cycle that I wouldnt want to fall into either!

    I really need to get out for a walk now. Im thinking if picking up dumbells and a small workout bench too. It is so hard. Because of fatigue and breathlessness and heart stuff. 

    Tommy and I make board games for fun and I incorporate little things like squatting and doing a crab walk or running in place and even that is tiring! That is the only real physical activity Ive done today– it has been raining lots today. But I just have to remember every little bit is a victory. And now it has stopped raining so we will do a short walk at least (it is hot and humid). 

  • Pljohns

    Back when I was seeing that pulmo, I was going to the Y at least 4 times a week, walking at lesat 5 miles and/or riding stationary bike another 5 at least.  She said if i could work back into that, pulmo rehab had nothing better.  However, I've quit doing that and know I need to exercise.  We have a patient that is a pulmo patient now-she was in the hospital for 6 months-on a vent for 2.  We work with her on stamina and proper posture so her lungs can get use to re-expanding.  Dh and I are now walking nightly (or at least we will be once i'm over this current flare) so that is a start.  

    I totally agree that exercise is key in not losing lung capacity and causing more issues later.  That along with good posture and weight management is key-

  • Amber Says Shine

    @Shea, you're so right, every little bit is a victory!  During my worst flare last year, I couldn't exercise for a month. I usually lift weights 3 time per week and I felt so frustrated not being able to. Then once I felt better and went back to it, it was slow going.

    I've heard of pulmo rehab, but never had it. It sounds super helpful for stopping that dyspnea spiral @K8sMom2002 mentions above. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Dory, I'm hoping that your pulmo rehab will help you get back to baseline! Usually pulmo rehab is short and sweet — it has specific goals in mind, one being that you get to a point where you can start a home exercise program.

    Shea, love the way you're incorporating functional fitness into your everyday activities.

    Lynn, love your start! I hope that your progress continues. 

    Amber, I hear you on the frustration … I remember how long it took me to get back to anywhere near baseline after I had a really severe bout of pneumonia in 2016. Even today, I can tell I'm not exactly where I was before. But I'm hoping to continue to work my way back to better physical conditioning.

  • K8sMom2002

    Dory, have you heard any more about plans for pulmo rehab? 

    And Amber … are you able to lift any weights currently? I have some small weights that my DH and DD got me for Mother's Day … alas, right now they're serving more as paperweights than actual weights. Got to get back to working on them!

  • dory2005

    Cynthia,  I have an appt. next Tuesday after my pulmo appt. Thanks so much for asking!  

  • Amber Says Shine

    Dory – Keep us updated! I hope it's helpful 💜

    Cynthia – Yep, I lift weights about 3 times a week. I follow a fitness blogger named Jay via . I like his simple workout ideas and reminders to stick to our own goals, not someone else's ideas of what we should be doing for fitness. I did his Beginner's Routine for just over a year and then bumped up to Intermediate nearly a year ago. Of course, a year ago, I had to faithfully use my rescue inhaler preemptively before working out. Today, after 7.5 months on the antibiotic add-on, I don't need as much albuterol 🙌🏻  

  • dory2005

    So the Fasenra injection appt went really well. The NP explained all the possible side effects (not much different than Nucala), and she went over how it works, etc. I had no issues with the shot at all (so far), so then I went to my first pulmo rehab session! I did neb right before I went in, and I think that made a huge difference. My 02 was 94 when I started, but after a few minutes it went up to 98. My BP was high (neb), so they made me wait a few minutes, drink water, and hooked me up to the cardio monitor because I couldn't start with it that high (160/90). It finally came down to an acceptable level (148/90), so I was able to start with the bicycle machine (the one that works both your arms and legs). They had me walk for a few minutes, and I did OK. I get SOB when walking more so than doing some of the other exercises. They had me go for 5-6 min. on certain machines, and then I would stop, drink some water, and take a break while they checked my 02. It took almost an hour to do 30 minutes because I took quite a few breaks. The best thing though is that I wasn't completely exhausted afterward! I was completely shocked and very happy. They had a RT, exercise physiologist, and RN there, and I really felt that they monitored me very closely. The best part is that there was a group of people (I don't think that anyone was under 70) who were exercising as well. They were a hoot and a half! Several people were on oxygen (and wearing masks!), but they were obviously all friends and made me feel welcome. They were all laughing and joking and having the best time, and I couldn't help but laugh along with them. So I will be going every Tuesday and Friday at 11 until school starts, and then I'll go after work. I can't tell you how much hope this gives me! I'm really thankful for the Will Rogers Institute for this!  

  • Shea

    Wow Dory that sounds really cool! Love that there are medical people there AND that there is a good group of people working out and joking around. Two thumbs up!

  • Melissa G

    Yay, Dory! So glad everything went so well! It always makes things easier when you are having fun doing them.