It did not take long for test results to pile up. One of the first hints to what was going on came from my pulmonologist. He ordered a bunch of tests to determine lung and muscle strength.
After all, labored breathing was part of the problem, right?
Again, I passed the tests with flying colors. Except for some carbon dioxide retention.
Hypercapnia is excess carbon dioxide (CO2) build-up in your body. The condition, also described as hypercapnea, hypercarbia, or carbon dioxide retention, can cause effects such as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, as well as serious complications such as seizures or loss of consciousness. Hypercapnia may develop as a complication of chronic lung diseases such as COPD, bronchiectasis, emphysema, interstitial lung disease, and cystic fibrosis, as well as some neurological and muscle diseases.
In essence, for whatever the reason, CO2 was building up in my body. That can happen as the result of neuromuscular problems.
Elevated CO2 was the first obvious hint but it still didn’t set off any alarms. An arterial blood test to determine how high it was did not come until another visit to ER seven months later.