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R is for Respiration

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I said I was going to finish this challenge, even if it took me longer than a month to do it, so here I am, almost a month after the challenge ended, trying to finish the last of this blog challenge. I’ve only got R-Z left, so here we go. R is for Respiration–breathing. If we don’t respire, we expire. I’d much rather respire, indeed. A lot of folks don’t know this about me, and a lot of folks do, but I think that most of the time, people don’t really think about the differences we have. If someone were to picture me in their heads, I seriously doubt they would see me the way I really look most days: my hair piled on top of my head, no makeup, wearing a nightgown most of the time (I rarely dress any more–but I have these cute night dresses I wear around the house most of the time–I love ’em!), barefoot, and wearing my oxygen cannula.

Yes, oxygen cannula.

I have an oxygen concentrator for while I’m at home. An oxygen concentrator takes the air out of the room it’s in and then basically strips the oxygen out of it and pumps the now increased oxygenated air through the machine into the tubes and up into my nose. There is a ‘flow’ rate to it, so that means I can ‘feel’ the air flowing through. To keep my nose from drying out, there’s a water cup that gets attached to it that bubbles and humidifies the air before it blows into my nose. When I leave the house, I have portable E tanks, which contain gaseous oxygen (I think) and I have a portable machine a friend online gave me, that can be loaded with liquid oxygen–I don’t have a liquid oxygen tank to fill it from yet, but hopefully once M-care kicks in, I will. We’ll see (fingers crossed, ’cause I like liquid oxygen a LOT better than the others and this little portable one gives me a lot of freedom!)

When I’m at home, I’m limited to 50ft, which is the length of the hoses for the concentrator. They can’t be any longer than that, or otherwise, the oxygen concentration is reduced, and I won’t get as much oxygen. So we move the concentrator around the house as necessary. It gives me more room to move around than you might think. I can slide the concentrator into the bedroom or living room or even take it outside and use it when I want to go into the pool. It’s nice to be able to stretch it out into the yard at least. It can be a little confining. The worst part is when we forget to move the concentrator closer to the bedroom at night. I can reach the bed and fall asleep with plenty of room to spare, until at 4am I wake and need to pee, but my little hose won’t reach to the bathroom! I’ve actually needed to be fast enough before, I’ve tossed the cannula behind me, and once, I even pulled on it hard enough I knocked the whole concentrator over.

So you can see what an oxygen concentrator looks about the size of rolling carry-on luggage, with a handle to move it just like the luggage has and everything. I posted a picture of it on Facebook a while back. Since my computer crashed, I can’t find all my pictures easily and I haven’t had time to go looking for them and sorting everything neatly again. I will one day… maybe. Anyway, it makes this weird psshhh-shhh noise every so often, like it’s compressing steam or something, I don’t know… I’ve gotten to where most of the time I don’t hear it–but it sure is nice when the power goes out and it’s off for a while to hear the silence. Wearing the cannula is as easy as wearing glasses, I guess, or at least, I’ve gotten used to it. I like the way I feel better when I have the oxygen, so that’s nice. It’s worth it.

I don’t need it all the time, in that, if I’m sitting still, haven’t just eaten, and I’m not talking or moving around much, I can manage to keep my sats in the 95% range, and anything over 93 my doc says is great. So sometimes, for brief moments of an hour or two, I can sometimes go without it. I rarely do, though, because if I need to get up and move around, then I have to go to the trouble to find the cannula, put it on, turn the machine on, wait for it to build up, then I can move around. Well, when you take Lasix (a water pill, diuretic), it makes you pee often and urgently, so I rarely have time with my mobility issues to bother with it. With the pulmonary hypertension causing my sats to drop on my oxygen levels–and since oxygen is needed by every organ in the body, especially the heart and brain–it’s just easier to keep it on all the time. It doesn’t hurt anything, I like the way I feel and think clearer with it on, and you can’t get addicted to it or overdose on it, so why not just wear it?

There are times I get frustrated with it, it’s true. When we go out in public, it’s a pain in the ass to have to haul around oxygen and make sure my tanks are full and that we have fresh or spares, or that we have a cannula in the car, or whatever. It’s a pain to not be able to make it to the bathroom when I want, or to be able to make it but not be able to breathe once I get there ’cause my oxygen cannula is thrown on the floor. There are frustrations. But overall, I feel better with it, so I don’t mind.

Now, if I could just say the same about some of my meds and the CPAP machine… don’t get me started on those.

Anyone out there ever had to wear an oxygen cannula in the hospital or at home? It’s more common now, it seems, to put people on oxygen in the hospital. You see it all the time in the TV shows, ’cause I guess having something on their face makes them look ‘sicker’ or something, but until I had to wear this thing, I’d never even seen one in person before!

That’s all for me today on R… I already have an idea for S, so who knows, I might make it two blogs two days in a row!

Whoohoo! Go me! Maybe…

Love and stuff,

Michy

 

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