Episode 155: Pulse Ox Playoffs

This Is Only A Test. We’re continuing out of Lhasa and taking in a lot of mileage on our way to Gyantse. Personally, I am almost never simply a passenger in a car–I’m usually the driver. Sitting in the back seat of our Land Cruiser makes me act just like my two and a half year old son Sam: I am quickly lulled to sleep.

Maybe it’s the altitude. Maybe it’s the constant traveling. Maybe it’s the easing up of the emergencies  from the past few days. Well, it’s probably all three, but whatever it is I just can’t seem to stay awake for more than a few minutes once we’re moving. My seat mates Kevin and Roger are good sports about my sleep-induced bobble head. I keep waking up with my head on their shoulders. Luckily we’re all a bit dehydrated from the Tibetan air so I don’t seem to be drooling…

Our little caravan stops every so often for “bio breaks” and pictures when a particularly beautiful vista comes into view. On these breaks it’s become clear that a new game is quickly evolving amongst the team.

“What’s Your Pulse Ox?”

A couple of the participants have brought pulse oximeters along with them. These are tiny computers that measure both your heart rate and the percentage of dissolved oxygen in your blood. You put the device on a fingertip and within just a few seconds can get a fairly reliable reading.

The name of the game is to score the “best” reading. Basically, you want the lowest heart rate with the highest percentage of oxygen. It’s becoming pretty competitive but you wouldn’t really expect anything less from a group of people whose idea of fun is to trek at altitude in the wilds of Tibet, would you? Fortunately all of us up here have been winners and are passing the Pulse Ox Test. We’re working through our discomforts and slowly acclimating.

Then, of course, there’s Damion. He had a “total fail” the other day at his Pulse Ox Test. But, he’s working hard, putting in the hours and scoring lots of extra credit in the hospital. It’ll be Damion FTW!

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 24:49