It has been wisely said that there are advantages to every situation. This is hard to believe when the situation includes a significant illness, which is always a setback to one's peace of mind and personal bliss. This is my lot these days, since I suffered some complications following recent heart surgery. In plain language, I just don't have the exercise tolerance that I had before and, in fact, I am now receiving continuous oxygen therapy. How ironic, since it is just 38 years since we started our original studies on ambulatory oxygen and the development of new oxygen technologies.
However, there are advantages and on a recent occasion when I needed to go to Vermont to participate in an important conference, I asked for a wheelchair in the airport. I had only done this one time before in Japan when, with severe sciatic pain, I needed assistance to get through Narita International Airport, which is a jungle in case you have not been there. Denver International Airport (DIA) isn't a jungle, but it is at least a large zoo and often has the longest wait lines in the country. So I let them wheel me through security which gave a short line and a thorough, but much quicker, search than if I had I been in a queue that was estimated to be 50 minutes for those without any physiological impairment. My compensation for all of this was the feeling of "traveling in style". Here I was whisked to the trains that connect the concourses, delivered to my gate and boarded first. There has to be some advantages to adversity and the important thing is to find these and enjoy.
I'll be in touch next month.
Thomas L. Petty, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, UCHSC
Co-Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program