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Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
  Higher Peak

My MAG-5 Mountain Air Generator arrived yesterday. It is an altitude training device intended to simulate higher altitudes to stimulate more red blood cell growth. The main unit weighs something like 50 lbs and looks exactly like what I would expect it to look like. When I opened the other box, I thought they had sent me a Rubbermaid bin for storing the hoses and miscellaneous items, but it turns out that's the air receiver. It looks a little ghetto, but it gets the job done. I'm guessing that to keep costs down, Higher Peak went with a single compressor design, so the air comes in squirts. The air receiver has a bag in it that inflates. Then there is a Pipe Ladder (literally a couple of sections of pipe hung like an emergency ladder) that you hang inside the Rubbermaid bin and it compresses the bag when the compressor is on its back stroke to supply air to the mask- Crude but effective. You hook that up to a virus/bacteria filter then hook up a mask and you are ready to go.

There's two main settings, low altitude and high altitude. Last night, I set it to the low altitude which maxes out at 7000'. I figured if the machine walked up a bit from the altitude I set it at, I could still survive. It was difficult to sleep, because the machine forced so much air into the mask and it wasn't in sync with my breathing, but I eventually fell asleep. I turned the unit off about 3 hours later when Q woke up crying. I was afraid the noise would keep her awake.

Noise Levels?

ABL was able to sleep, but she had nightmares of Darth Vader coming after her all night long. jk. She didn't like the noise, so I'll probably relocate the unit downstairs and run the hose up to the bedroom. There's 50' of hose, so I have lots of options. There is a compression noise, then sort of a sigh. The hose also makes a noise as the air comes rushing through it.

When I opened the instruction manual, the first page is Warnings. Here's number 15: Use of this device may have a negative effect on your marriage or relationships. Don't say you haven't been warned. Good Luck.
The optional oxygen analyzer seems a bit more required than optional when you read the instruction manual, so I'll probably have to buy one. I think, because I'm near sea level, I'll be ok for a couple weeks.

Is it Working?

I don't know, I will know in one month. You can see on my training calendar I'm going in to get my blood drawn then, so I can give you before and after Hematocrit with one months use. I'll also be getting blood drawn about 2 months after that and then 3 months after that, so we'll all know if this is working. If it does work, you can bet I'll be telling everyone I know they can get an altitude simulator for 1/4 of the cost of an altitude tent from Hypoxico and Colorado Altitude Tent (CAT).

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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