January 2, 2005


Besides fluctuating fever, Emily also has a very bad case of cough. Her trachea is full of phlegm and always in a constant itch. As a result of the perpetual coughing, she also contracted some slight abdominal pain.

That’s why, the doctor prescribed her a physiotherapy session. Everyday, the physiotherapist would visit Emily at the ward, and give her some massage to ease both her abdominal pain and sooth her cough (how… I don’t know).

There are 2 physiotherapists involved. The first physiotherapist, is a skinny old hag that has a very pungent armpit odor. Almost knocked me black out.

The second physiotherapist however, is a younger one. Scrawny girl in her 20’s. Probably a trainee or something because she doesn’t look very experienced to me. The key word to describe both of them is – scrawny. Skinny wrapping the bones. Humping them will be like having sex with a bicycle steel frame… which is going to cause a lot of bruises.

Usually, I’m not allowed in the ward when the physio sessions are going on, so, I don’t know what happens inside there. Emily and I did not talk about it either, until today, when Emily suddenly told me this :

Emily : “Dear, the physiotherapist told me I have a wrong breathing technique…”

To cut things short, the physiotherapist actually told Emily that when one’s inhaling air, the abdomen should inflate, bulging out. If it doesn’t bulge, that means, your breathing technique is wrong.

Me : “My abdomen doesn’t bulge when I inhale air… does that mean my breathing technique is wrong too?”

Emily : “If what she said is true, then, yeah …”

Me : “So? I should breath properly like what she said? And have a rank armpit like her?”

I initially thought that was told by the old stinking hag, but apparently, it was told by the younger physiotherapist.

Emily : “No, not the old one. This was told by the younger one…”

Me : “Well then, to breathe properly to look like a livid looking skinny creature like her? That’s even worse!”

Emily : “Come on dear, she’s probably just trying to tell us the right thing…”

Me : “What the hell? We’ve been breathing like this for 27 fucking years and still alive… and she’s telling us that our breathing technique is wrong… isn’t that ridiculous?”

Emily : “Well, that’s what she said…”

Me : “Bullshit – that’s what she had said. She just wanted to sound professional… a typical hypocrite.”

That’s right. I’ve heard of improper postures that cause health hazards, but never have I heard of ‘improper breathing technique’. I mean, the purpose of breathing is to get air into our lungs for it to pick up oxygen (and expel CO2). As long as our lungs are picking up enough oxygen, that oughtta do it. Doesn’t matter how you breath.

Theoretically, if I can get my lungs to pick up oxygen by itself, I can even survive without breathing. (Example, stuck out our lungs out in the open air, and run). But that’s just a theory. May not work in reality, give or take of a few scientific conflicts which I don’t feel like explaining.

It’s simple, really, either you breathe, or you don’t. You’ll die if you don’t breathe (properly or not). And if you’re alive, that means you’re breathing good.

Maybe she just wanted to make herself sound like an expert or something, by disseminating irrelevant opinionated facts. What the fuck.

Perhaps I should create my own made-up facts to gain attention like her. Some examples that I can come up with… :

– moving your mouse improperly may cause your neighbor’s dog to have erectile dysfunction.
– typing keys on your keyboard in an improper way may cause ass cancer.
– your car won’t start in the morning if you don’t shut down your OS properly.

Hah, try to swallow that.

michaelooi  | 2-of-us  | 

19 Comments to “physiotherabullshit”

  1. Xiao_zhai says:

    What she said is correct.Abdominal breathing is encouraged compared to thoracic breathing.Got some advantages.Why?Kinda hard to say it here,maybe you can try googling for it.

  2. misscow says:

    Theoratically, when inspiring, the diaphragm moves downwards to expand the lungs and in doing so the abdominal contents are pushed downwards too. That’s why the abdomen *should* rise.
    However, seeing that Emily has coughed till her ab muscles hurt, it’s natural to want to minimize abdominal movement and switch to chestwall movement. Sort of like the body’s way of minimizing pain.

    Sincerely hope that your wife’s getting better day by day.

  3. misscow says:

    p/s….. pls excuse the typo…

  4. primroses says:

    Oh man, never knew the difference. Never bothered, actually. I’d rather just know that I’m still breathing and am still alive. Sometimes I experience very, very slow breathing (and stop inhaling for some seconds) when I sleep on my back and about to doze off. I’ll wake in a jolt automatically when there is insufficient oxygen. So what? Wrong breathing or wrong sleeping position? Bah!

  5. Janus says:

    The skinny physiotherapist is just trying to show off. There is no proper technique for breathing, though 2 predominant types have been observed and described. As misscow has said, its either thoraco-abdominal breathing or abdominal-thoraco breathing, depending on which muscles you use more. Maybe the physio is trying to get your wife to change her style of breathing in her current condition. What primroses has is called Cheyne-Stokes breathing

  6. :) boooboo just saying it for kicks in the comment section. Am i noticing a groupie of commentors ehe.
    Like the bicycle frame part ROFL

  7. coolclare says:

    is your wife having pneumonia? seems quite a number of ppl having tat. surprisingly an epidemic. i’m just recovering from it, but still coughing. take care.

  8. michaelooi says:

    xz, misscow, janus – whatever. medical jargons that i don’t understand. to me (and I believe many others), breathing is a subconscious act. You do it without really the need to do it … just like blinking your eyes. Have you heard of someone claiming your ‘blinking’ technique is wrong ? Same here. There may be a thousand and one explanations about breathing … but hell, we all know it’s as simple as being what you are doing now … breathing. There’s no technique or whatsoever unless you’re into meditation, yoga, or that type of shit.

    primroses – wrong sleeping position can cause injury. I once slept in an upright position on a bus for a few hours, and got stiff neck for a few days. Wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

    jasdev – not groupie, just a difference in opinion. it’s healthy to discuss about opinions.

    coolclare – nope. she has a bad case of tonsilitis. viral and bacterial infection … *sigh*

  9. Hustler says:

    Sorry abt your wife bro…hope she gets better soon….Found your hoax facts hilarious… :)

  10. Din says:

    I wonder what Dr. Liew has to say…

  11. uculer says:

    i really really hope emily will recover very soon.

    i’m trying the method she suggested but hell, that was hard. if i keep on breathing like that, i don’t have time for other things.

    still trying but looks as if i will die if i go on breathing like this.

  12. oliviasy says:

    *hugs to emily* get well soon. just breathe normally.

  13. twinsmom says:

    Poor emily, sick already still have to being confuse by the “professional”, tsk tsk tsk…but luckily you not mong-cha-cha lar.

  14. doc says:

    I think the physiotherapist was encouraging Emily to do abdominothoracic breathing to get air into the lower parts of her lungs, which might be underventilated due to the pain. I would suggest Emily to follow her instruction or get clarification from her doctor.

    Cheyne-Stokes Respiration is pathological, often associated with other underlying diseases. It is said to be due to a delay in the medullary chemoreceptor response to blood gas changes. http://thediagram.com/3_6/stethograph.html

    Whereas ‘sleep apnoea’ can occur in apparently healthy people.

  15. Janus says:

    Thanks doc! And i hope your wife gets better mike!

  16. michaelooi says:

    doc – if that’s the advice, I wouldn’t question about it. But apparently, it’s not. The physiotherapist claimed that it’s the “breathing technique” that’s wrong… like

    “You know, the way normal people breathe is wrong. Suppose to be like this and like that.”

    Besides, her abdominal pain is due to muscle fatigue from rapid contraction during her coughs… almost like those pain when you performed sit-up too much (effects of acid something something)…. Not due to her BREATHING TECHNIQUE (if it’s her breathing technique, then she would already have the pain before all these).

    I fail to understand what the physio is trying convey here.

    There’s no word from the doctor at all. He only prescribed a “nap” (some med term I managed to take notice) for her coughs which is some medicine pumped through the oxygen mask 8 hourly (to ease up the phlegm – the doc claimed).

  17. doc says:

    neb = nebuliser

  18. kimberlycun says:

    breathing techniques sounds like some yoga-ish thing to me, my thought is if it helps emily, why not? guess the physiotherapist had not phrased his words correctly, ‘wrong’ is a rather strong word

  19. michaelooi says:

    kimberly – perhaps it’s hard for my readers to understand the message I’m trying to convey here….
    Let me put it this way, out of the 2 physio, only the young lady made that smartass “breathing technique” comment. (The elder physio and doctor didn’t utter a thing about it). And that’s not suppose to improve her coughing. It’s just a statement. That’s why I said it’s a bullshit.

    No worries guys. It’s ok if you have a different opinion about it. For this case, I’ll still be obstinate that the young physio is a hypocrite. (you would understand if you’re in my situation, so…)

    Emily’s doing better with the neb thing (thanks doc for the info). And her fever gradually decreased …
    Learnt a lot through this …

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