Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Question Wednesday #1

So since I have less time to blog on Wednesday nights as I have bowling league, I am thinking about dedicating it to answering questions... feel free to comment or email a question and you may just see it answered!

This week's question comes from Moma Grizly:
"What does the vest do? I've heard about CF patients being "pounded" on their backs - is that what the vest does?"

CF patients need some sort of regimen of airway clearance to clear the thick sticky mucus in our lungs that make it hard to breath and promote infection. As a whole, this is referred to as chest pt, and can take a few different forms.

The vest (look at last post for a picture) does the basic work of being pounded on. "Pounding on" refers to the hand or manual percussion therapy that is used to clear the lungs of CF patients. A trained person pounds on the chest with either their hands, a cup shaped piece of soft rubber, or a electric percussor. The therapy loosens the sticky mucus and makes it easier to cough out. It is very uncomfortable as the chest needs to be hit with some force to make a difference. Also the patient must lay in a number of positions to facilitate the airway clearance.
The Vest is very similar to this, but does not require another person to help me. The vest fills with air, then the air vibrates, causing the lungs and airways to vibrate, loosens the mucus and causes coughing. It's annoying but far less than having it done by hand. I still have manual therapy while in the hospital, but use my vest while at home, 20 minutes in the morning and 20 more at night. I like the freedom to still watch the TV, be on the computer, or even talk. There may be a video coming with how funny I sound while on the vest.

There are also other techniques of airway clearance but the vest is the one that has worked best for me and that I have been most willing to do. However, the vest is very cost prohibitive, and before insurance retails for $16,000. Thank the Lord for insurance!
I should be able to publish the next chapter in my history tomorrow, but now off to sleep!

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