Preparing for Vacation: Put in Hard Work Now, Then Relax

Preparing for Vacation: Put in Hard Work Now, Then Relax

In preparation for my trip to Europe, I have intensified my fitness routine. My routine is already fairly grueling for a lung transplant patient. But in anticipation of extended walking periods, including hills and steps, I feel I have to up my workouts to two times a day, three to four days a week.

Currently, my oxygen saturation hovers around 93 percent when I am at exertion. I would like to get that number to 94 percent and my heart rate in the 80 to 85 range. My heart rate at exertion is 90 to 95 at the present.

My wife and I will be going to Poland, Italy, Greece, and Austria. Each of these countries will present its own obstacles for me. I received a single lung transplant in December 2015. Essentially, I am working with one lung. I’m also carrying about 250 pounds on a large frame.

I do take precautions to avoid overly exerting myself and having my oxygen saturation fall below 90 percent. One of the precautions I must take is to make sure my wife does not walk too fast because I will try to keep pace with her. I rectify this by holding her hand when we walk; at least I can slow her down to my speed.

I don’t walk at a super slow pace (1 mile in 27 minutes), but I am not as fast as most people. I am the most successful at keeping a steady pace when walking on a flat plane; however, when there is any sort of incline, I have to slow my pace. I carry my oximeter most places. Some may think I am anal, but this is how I control my oxygen saturation and heart rate.

The prednisone that transplant patients take can limit our ability to attain muscle mass and gain strength. In my ongoing recovery from transplant surgery, I feel I have overcome this tendency. I work hard trying to remain fit and keep my lungs in shape. I do various forms of cardio and lift weights, working on all parts of the body, but placing extra emphasis on building up the strength and stamina in my legs.

During preparation for the trip, I will be working each body part twice a week instead of once per week. I plan to increase the weight I am lifting and the number of sets. Getting my weight down to 240 pounds would be a plus; it would make my doctor extremely happy. I can do this by increasing the intensity of my cardio program and eating healthier.

I feel lucky to not have any other transplant-related comorbidities; this allows me to focus on continued rehabilitation. I stay healthy 90 percent of the time; however, every March, I seem to catch some respiratory virus. My doctor thinks my wife might be a carrier of these viruses, as she works as a teacher. Even when taking precautions, things happen.

From now until we leave — and for the duration of the trip — I’m going to cross my fingers and pray I stay healthy. The last thing I would want is to become ill in another country.

How do you prepare yourself for a trip? Leave your comments below.

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Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

4 comments

    • Mark Koziol says:

      Hello Sara, thank you for reading and commenting on my column. What a nice comment from you. I hope you have a great rest of the weekend. Thank you, Mark.

  1. Malcolm Mann says:

    Hi Mark we spent a magnificent 3 months in the UK & Europe last year and had a great holiday interspersed with house sitting duties. Depending where you go, if over summer it can be very hot which really knocked my breathing around.It gets hot enough at home here, but the difference is I dont feel I have to go out exploring.
    The other thing that effected me is because of the cobble stones and other irregular surfaces get the most comfortable walking shoes, I used Brooks beasts which were my favourite running shoe when I could run.
    Another ploy of ours was to avoid the lengthy lineups at mega museums, and visit the smaller ones which were often incredible and with no hordes.
    Have a great trip
    Cheers Mal

    • Mark Koziol says:

      Hello Malcolm, Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you also for the suggestions. I am a lot like you. I despise long lines and having to wait for long periods of time. To me, my time is more important than standing in a line. I am gonna take a look at the shoes you suggested. I actually just a bought a pair of brooks and the salesman said these were the most comfortable in the store. I have been lucky the heat has never really bothered me although sometimes the humidity can bring me down a bit. Cheers to you as well Mal, Mark.

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