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Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~

Well, it seems that we find ourselves in a global pandemic. That is a very scary fact.

The problem for me is, the disease seems to be targeting the elderly, those with bad breathing apparatus, and those who have a compromised immune system. As you probably know by now, my lungs are only 40 years old. Consequently, I do not really worry about that category. Unfortunately, I am pushing 80, and the magic lung transplant that saved my life eight and half years ago put me in a position of having basically no immune system.

So, I seem to have a target on my back. I have survived a bunch of stuff in my many years and I fully intend to survive this one. I do however worry how about all of the many hundreds of lung disease patients with whom we have dealt over the years. Most of them are elderly, because lung disease normally comes on very slowly. Their immune system may or may not be strong, but their lungs certainly are not. I am extremely lucky in that we have a  home in Tucson that is fairly isolated, and after shelling out a little over $800 at Amazon and the local Safeway store, we are well provisioned. We may have to go out occasionally for fresh milk and eggs, but otherwise we are pretty well set.

I am no expert on the coronavirus, but I am a survivor. It may get me, but it is going to have to come looking for me first. Mary, the world’s best caregiver, and I have stopped any activities that involve crowds of people. We will still socialize with some close friends, most of whom are doing the same things that we are. They are all aware that my immune system is wimpy, and they won’t even show up if they have the sniffles. Good friends!

So, we are hunkered down for the duration. We love each other, and we don’t mind being together 24 hours a day. When either of us has a doctor’s appointment, we will wear our N95 face masks unapologetically  and stay three feet away from others and wash our clothes and shower when we get home. We will wash our hands every chance we get and use the hand sanitizer that we made out of aloe gel and grain alcohol. There was no sanitizer or rubbing alcohol available, so we went with the grain, which is 90% alcohol. In a pinch, we can drink it. Or use it in a lighter.  Or start campfires with it. Or maybe use it in the Prius.

I urge all of you to do whatever you need to do to protect yourself. Be a little selfish if you have to.  Make sure that you have a good stock of food and some masks and necessary oxygen supplies if you need them. Make your friends and family understand that you are vulnerable to the coronavirus. You have to do so …

Protect yourselves! You have made it this far, so you are obviously tough … Use that! Be your own best advocate. Learn to be pleasant, but persistent with medical personnel. Be nice. Get them on your side, and you will get a lot better results.

Above all, try to stay positive! That attitude has gotten us through some pretty dark times. It works!

Love you all …

~ Uncle Jim

Jim Nelson is a double lung transplant recipient and a patient advocate for COPD patients throughout the U.S. and around the world. He and his wife, Mary, are well known patient advocates and brand ambassadors for those organizations who tirelessly endeavor to help those individuals who suffer from a variety of respiratory diseases and the caregivers who support them. 

If you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, learn more about CAIRE by visiting or calling 1-877-704-0878 to talk to an oxygen advisor. When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.