The technician who brought my home oxygen set it all up, set the flow rate on the machine and told me not to change it.
He handed me a cannula with nasal prongs on the end of a long green tube connected to the machine. The oxygen was flowing, but I really had no idea how to put the ‘headset’ on.
While I was working that out, he set up the ambulatory oxygen cylinder (for going out) and warned me not to touch the button to change the flow rate.
With what felt like an encyclopedia of information in a foreign language he had me sign a form, handed me a booklet and was gone.
My home oxygen therapy had begun
I had prongs in my nostrils, part of a cannula attached to a long green tube that followed me wherever I went. That was only the beginning of the learning curve to living at the end of an oxygen tube.
It also had a habit of ‘catching’ itself on the strangest places and I would come to an abrupt halt when my nose jarred.
I felt like Manasseh in the Bible.
So the LORD brought against them the military commanders of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon.
2 Chronicles 33: 11 Berean Study Bible
(I was not bound by bronze shackles though.)
All the same I was ‘tethered’ – I could go no further than my tube allowed.
Yes, the oxygen was there to help me, and it did, and does… but I had no idea of the learning curve that would be required of me.
There is a trick to cooperating with an oxygen tube.
- Have enough tube to reach all the places in your home you need to go normally, wind up the excess. The more that is out the more risk of tripping.
- If you are not carrying something, wind up the tube as you go… and learn to be aware of where the tube is all the time.
When I wrote the earlier blog about living on oxygen, I didn’t know it, I was only at the start of the learning curve.
As well as things to frustrate a person with tubes up the nose 24/7 – especially when the tube catches and yanks my nose, there are things to laugh about too… and things to wonder about also.
(I wonder how long it took Manasseh to get used to the hook in his nose.) Just one of those funny wonderings a writer’s mind can wander along.
The learning curve
… Is both physical and psychological and your home will be invaded by equipment that will help you to breathe but can be difficult to get used to having around. Your days (and nights) of quiet are over. The oxygen concentrator is noisy – I read somewhere 40 to 50 decibels… and that is a constant background noise when using the oxygen.
There is a great deal to adjust to, and to learn, but when you get used to trailing your tube around, you will start to notice the health benefits.
I would have liked to have talked to someone in the same position, but that is a little difficult unless you find out about a support group of people with similar conditions. If you hear of such a group, go, even though it takes a lot of planning even for a short trip.
I mastered the steep part of the learning curve, and am plodding through the smaller, daily, challenges.
Books on living with home oxygen
The only books I could find were written by doctors or other health professionals, but I did not want to know all the technical stuff, just what I could do and could not do. I wanted a book written by someone who had walked the journey before me.
Because I could find none, I wrote my own. I am publishing it for others like me, for the people who come to help, but have no training.
So many people have encouraged me to write this, and helped me with the project.
Connie, if you read this… thank you, it’s for you too. And thank you John and Mariela for a much better cover than the one I paid for,
Currently my website is ‘feeling fragile’ so I am unwilling to create another page as I might have to rebuild the website.
If you want to see what the cover looks like, as well as the blurb – you will find it on Amazon.
Some days at the start it felt as if I was being sucked into a vortex and that is what the cover is meant to represent.
So, for this week…
God bless and be safe!