Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~
It is looking more likely that we are in the Coronavirus situation for the long run. Many of you who are reading this are accustomed to hanging around the house because of the logistics involved in gathering all of the supplies that you need to venture out with oxygen bottles. The bottles, the cart, the extra cannula, the bottle wrench, (the little turny-ony thing, according to my wife, Mary) one or two extra bottles, and on and on … It is daunting to make sure that you have everything that you need. The sound of oxygen bottles rattling around in the back of the car is disturbing, also.
If you want to go out, even for a ride, see about acquiring a portable oxygen concentrator. The units that are available today are light, small and efficient. They run on house current, batteries, or car electrical outlets. The flexibility of the portable units make them well worth the cost. The first one that I bought, many years ago, was portable only in that it was not bolted down. It weighed about a ton.
If you must go out, please wear your cannula with a mask! There are those who say that it cannot be done, which I have found to be nonsense. The mask may not seal quite as well, but it is a major increase in safety over not wearing one. Have you noticed that a great many of the new virus infections are in people under 40 years of age? That tells us that going back out into society without a mask and ignoring the 6-foot distancing rules is extremely dangerous. Those of us who are a bit long in the tooth, (dare I say elderly?) and who have compromised immune systems must avoid crowds at all cost.
Whatever your needs, you will probably be spending the majority of your time at home. If that is the case, you might as well make it as pleasant as you can. Perhaps the following will help … We have talked previously about building yourself a nest. Find a comfortable chair or couch, and surround yourself with your needs. Water, telephone, TV remote, a notepad and pencil, a computer or tablet or smartphone, reading material, tissues, medications, and all of the other stuff that you seem to need. Snack stuff comes to mind, but don’t overdo it!
If it has been prescribed, wear your oxygen cannula! Get a 50-foot hose and position your at-home stationary concentrator in another room to cut down the noise. If the long hose is a tripping hazard, get some cup hooks and run the thing over the tops of doorways to your nest. Again, if you are working off of a portable concentrator, that will eliminate a lengthy hose problem.
For those of you who feel like you need a higher flow of oxygen when you emerge for your nest, talk to you doctor about it and see if it can be included in your action plan. The physical act of standing up from an easy chair is especially tough for those individuals who are suffering from chronic respiratory conditions. It is definitely worth a conversation with your healthcare provider to develop strategies to help give you (and your caregiver) peace of mind.
Do NOT grow roots in your comfy nest! The better your physical condition, the better you will feel, the more you will be able to do, and the longer you will be able to hang around. Lack of proper oxygen saturation can lead to heart failure and loss of brain function. A bit of activity, some actual real exercise, can help to prevent those losses.
~ 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.
The contents of this blog post are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.