The Diving Bell Test (failure)

Don’t know whether any of you out there have experienced this one but it was quite quite a surprise. It’s part of a set of cardio-respiratory tests to test lung efficiency. You are put into a sort of gas chamber, or that is what it feels and looks like, and you pop your mouth into a breathing device with your nose crimped. The chamber is sort of sealed and and you are instructed to breath normally (fat chance) then to pant and then the thing you are breathing through is sealed off but you have to continue to make the muscular movements of panting. I have made it sound worse than it is, you are not in an airless chamber and you have an escape button but I am buggered if I could do it. Oh and the other thing is you must not move your cheeks. Anyway it reminded me of dance classes I had in the 80’s which required the isolation of certain parts of the body, something like moving your elbow without moving your shoulder – useful training if you plan to audition for ‘Cats.’ Needless to say I just couldn’t do it and became quite giggly-naughty once the fear of suffocation had abated. This test was followed by another test in which you are required to breath in Carbon Monoxide – again presented in the way it was this sounded like voluntary euthanasia, not particularly dispelled by the comment ‘you might feel a bit woozy.’ Anyway I think I passed that one. Another happy day at the hospital.

2 Responses

  1. Paul Alan Barker October 27, 2014 / 6:39 pm

    I hope you are breathing again, dear Chris, and maybe giggling is the most sensible thing to do in those circumstances? From a psychological perspective I cannot think of anything worse for a medic to do to give a patient a “test” and then fail them, or leave them with that sense. Maybe they could try call it a diagnostic procedure and give you a yellow or blue result? I suspect it might make it difference to some, but perhaps not to you, and the giggling wold have been the same result. I cannot however get my head around them asking you to breathe a noxious gas. Did they at least offer you a gold star or a free cup of coffee, or maybe a certificate to put on your wall?

    • Chris Newell October 28, 2014 / 11:25 am

      Yes thank you I continue to breathe. I think I exaggerated this event for effect. I fell guilty that the nurse/scientist that administered this has been inadvertently dissd. Actually she was very kind and solicitous. She didn’t mention failure but I certainly tried to please her and i know when i can’t do something however hard I try. Actually it was really funny and pathetic. I just cannot consciously operate two different bodily functions at the same time. When my dentist said turn my head to the left but put your jaw the right I ended up gurning desperately but not achieving the desired effect until I had had several go’s. This was another one of those occasions but she was charming and really tried to help me. The noxious gas was in a tiny concentration, the dizziness comes about through unusually deep breathing and ones imagination.

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