I have a medical question which, as a former medic and medical "aficionado", should know or be able to research on my own. But I am not really in the mood to conduct research, and am more curious if there are any other respiratory experts or medical personnel on PR who can share their opinion.
Today my sister had her open house and I was tasked with blowing up balloons. I grabbed my first one, and after exerting a great deal of effort, was able to blow up one about the half the size of the high school girl blowing up balloons next to me. The second one I grabbed, the first part of it blew up more easily and quickly (all in the first breath expelled) but no matter how hard I try, my cheeks only puffed out and made a funny noise. It was funny to everyone else. But not to me. It was very disturbing. Here I am, having quit smoking over a year and a half ago, only 31 years old, with an hour of aerobic exercise each day, and I can't blow up a simple balloon. Is something wrong with me? Should I be concerned.
Needless to say, I found an excuse to walk away from the balloons without causing more embarrassment. I smoked for ten years, but I never thought that I had caused permanent damage. It has never hampered my ability to run, at least to the extent that I could judge it. In other words, subjectively, even while I was smoking, I was doing 5K and 10K fun runs. I always finished in respectable times, nothing like when I ran cross country in high school, but enough that I felt satisfied that my respiratory system wasn't compromised.
When I worked in an acute care clinic in the hospital in the Army, people came in with a medical condition. I think it was emphysema. I could be wrong. But it was a condition in which patients had little or no trouble breathing in, but had a great deal of trouble expelling the air from their lungs. The force with which they could expel air was measured with a peak flow meter. I smoked at that time. We would test each other with these peak flow meters just for fun when no one was around, to make ourselves feel better, and just waste medical resources.
The joke's on me. I'm afraid what that peak flow meter would show now. Has an ex-smoker out there had similar trouble blowing up balloons? Should I be worried enough to mention it at my next doc's appointment? I already have two problems to mention to my GP on the 23rd of June. Docs hate addressing multiple problems at the same visit. I'd really piss him off if I asked about a third problem. Hmmm. Have to think about this one.