“Is that the cone of silence?” was my first thought upon entering the pulmonary function lab at the University of Miami/Sylvester Cancer Center.

I had pretty much decided that I’d have UM’s Dr. Dao Nguyen do my surgery by the time we left the Cleveland Clinic the day before, but I still hadn’t been to the hospital, as my consult with him the week before was at Sylvester Cancer Center’s Deerfield Beach Clinic. So, when he said he wanted a PFT and that it could be done at the main campus in Miami, we figured we could see the facility at the same time.

There’s a huge hospital district in Miami that’s home to the UM/SCC as well as UM Hospital, Jackson Memorial, and at least a dozen or so other world-renown health care facilities.


The Pulmonary Function Test was done at the Sylvester Cancer Center. My appointment was at 1pm, and we arrived early. Unfortunately, my insurance company – the ironically-named United Healthcare did everything they could to insure that it was a miserable, stressful experience.

Upon checking in at the registration desk, we were told that the “finances hadn’t cleared” – their  euphemism for “insurance authorization isn’t in yet.”

After more than an hour and a few meltdowns from me, we finally got the go-ahead for the test.


As someone with an overactive gag reflex, having to alternately suck and blow through a mouthpiece, I found it unpleasant. But I apparently passed with flying colors, so I shouldn’t have an issue living with half of my left lung missing post-surgery.

After the test, we walked across the street to the University of Miami Hospital where my surgery will be done to meet Dr. Nguyen’s Nurse Practitioner Joy who showed us around — from the pre- and post- op rooms to ICU and the floor where I’ll spend the next 3-4 days recovering after surgery.

Now I wait again…