Contributed by Bob “Oxygen Man” Rawlins, oxygen user and consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~
How do you answer that question? Or have you been asked and answered it already. Does it ever change?
Like life itself, it will if it hasn’t already.
Five years ago, my life changed completely in less than 24-36 hours really.
Feeling a bit under the weather, I kept going. Barely making it to work without coughing myself into a coma. I pushed forward, thinking I had a bad cold, flu, whatever. We all have done this. I knew something wasn’t quite right, but I figured I could take a few days off and re-coup as soon as I got caught up. That is always the killer phrase that hangs in my mind when I look back.
Well, the next morning I woke up feeling the same, and on my way to a PT appointment for something totally unrelated, so I thought, and things happened.
I started shaking uncontrollably, was a bit disoriented, and as we soon found out my oxygen had dropped into the 60s. So, for your non-oxygen therapy people, a normal reading is generally in the 95-100 range. So, needless to say, this news wasn’t good. ☹
So, my journey began.
From surviving, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), to dealing with severe lung damage and scarring due to an unexpected virus in my body. An eight-week stay in the hospital and reality started to sink in.
When your life journey changes, what do you rely on or what keeps you going?
My faith in God has always been a big part of my life, both before and after this unexpected change.
The faith you choose is your own. But my faith in God got me and my family through some incredibly challenging and difficult times these past five years.
From the incredible support of my church, Northside Christian Church, to my friends and family, my support could not have been any stronger. Even today, there are so many blessings that have happened at times when you never expect them to.
But whatever it is, you must have a plan on how you are going to keep going or you will give up on whatever it is you are pursuing. I believe it is that fundamental.
When they told my family, I had less than a 20 percent chance of surviving ARDS, they could have given up. Now, you can say, of course they wouldn’t. It was a grim situation, many of my organs were failing and they weren’t sure what quality of life I would have if I did survive.
Imagine, having 11-year-old triplets and your wife having to make some exceedingly difficult choices. She decided to hold fast to her faith and the faith I had – believing that whatever was going to happen it would be God’s will. That is how strong my wife was.
It amazes me every time I think about it. So better things happened and I’m here to write about it today.
The journey is difficult, but I’m running the marathon not the sprint.
Personally I feel the early changes in our lives were particularly challenging. I was the breadwinner and now I was that guy lying flat on his back wondering how he was going to continue to support his family. Especially the children.
We didn’t sign up for this challenge. We didn’t see this coming in the devasting form it took. But we decided to rely on our faith and do whatever we could to meet the challenge of change ahead.
Everyone has change, at work, at home, every day. When a company you work for goes through a structure change. What do you rely on? The anxiety and worry is there, right? I always used to say, there are other jobs, other things to do.
If you are on a journey that isn’t pleasurable, then change the journey if you can.
But when an illness strikes you down and you can’t control it or the potential outcome, you start to think about how some of those other journeys aren’t so devasting as you might have thought.
A new perspective! We all should check our own perspectives from time to time. Don’t you think? What is important to you right now and what are doing to do to keep it that way or in the right direction?
For me. I read, write, video, talk, meet, cook and volunteer as much as my health will allow. COVID-19 has put a damper on a few things.
We all know some days are better than others. Everyone is more productive on certain days versus others.
However, a happy environment is a productive environment. I’ve seen both and it can be crippling to a company, but even more important crippling to you as an individual if you continue to be unhappy or let that environment own you.
New perspective! What makes you happy? Do more of it and share your great experiences with others.
I’ve been called fundamental Bob, besides Coach Bob, or Oxygen Man. LOL
But it does seem fundamental to me. Am I crazy?
Why do you want to keep doing things that make you sad?
Now this journey saddens me. But what can I do to make it more enjoyable?
I check in with many support groups to see what other people are doing. The American Lung Association is an excellent resource. Click link to see all the good stuff to read.
Also, you can visit CAIRE Inc. by clicking this link. Here you’ll find my blogs in the patient section and a lot of global news and stories about their efforts to manufacture oxygen therapy equipment to bring comfort and increased wellness to those prescribed oxygen therapy all over the world.
Another site I particularly enjoy is the Power of Positivity. Click the link to check it out.
Find your way, the best way for you to get through each day – where it is a good day or bad.
I believe we will find there are more good days than bad.
Love you all,
Bob Rawlins, 61, of Medina, Ohio, is husband to Terese and father to their 16-year-old triplets, a soccer coach, a hospital volunteer, band dad and chaperone, and marketing guru. He uses a FreeStyle Comfort portable oxygen concentrator and a transportable oxygen concentrator for overnight travel.
If you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, learn more about CAIRE by visiting www.caireinc.com/patients or by calling 1-800-482-2473 to talk to an oxygen advisor. 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.
Image by Katinkavom Wolfenmond from Pixabay