Oxygen Therapy at home - a user's experience

Livinvg at the end of an Oxygen Tube, cover

Oxygen does not cure breathlessness

The criteria for prescribing home oxygen therapy is – patients who have symptoms and signs of chronic hypoxaemia.

In other words, an abnormally low concentration of oxygen in the blood.

This book is about my experience adjusting to life at the end of an oxygen tube.

  • I was a nurse
  • I was a Trainer and Assessor who produced ‘all steps shown’ manuals for my students.

I use those skills in this practical book  to share my experiences, sometimes amusingly, about living at the end of an oxygen tube.

Living on oxygen is isolating!

The majority of people think those on oxygen can do what they used to be able to do.

Wrong.

This belief, in part, is what contributes to the isolation of the person on Home Oxygen. So does the fact the Home Oxygen user is ‘tethered’ to a machine.

There are psychological as well as physical challenges. In sharing  my experience of the learning curve I aim to help the oxygen user, the family, friends and support staff working with the person on oxygen. 

Because I walk in the oxygen user’s shoes. I know the challenges, and offer solutions using illustrations and how-to guides.

Have you ever been judged by the way you breathe?

In Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube, author Susan MB Preston shows she has… and a whole lot more.

Read this review by Stella Budrikis, MB BS

Most of us seldom think about how we breath. It’s something we do automatically. “It’s as simple as breathing” we say, when we want to indicate that something doesn’t require much thought.

But if, for some reason, breathing no longer supplies all the oxygen your body needs, you’re going to become very aware of every breath you take. And if you need a constant supply of oxygen delivered through a tube to keep yourself alive, breathing is no longer simple. You’re going to need to know how to handle all the equipment that goes with home oxygen therapy. You’ll also need to deal with the practical, psychological, emotional, and even financial problems that go with “living at the end of an oxygen tube”. Your family and friends will also have to adjust to your new way of living.

Health professionals, technicians and the suppliers of equipment will provide you with lots of helpful information. Perhaps too much information. It’s likely to be overwhelming at first. And since it’s unlikely that they’ve ever had to live day in, day out, with an oxygen tube, there are aspects of being on home oxygen therapy that they’ve probably never even thought of. Can you keep your cat? How do you use a public toilet while carrying a portable oxygen cylinder?  How do you respond to an invitation to attend a wedding reception?

What you need is a friend who has been there, done that and can speak from first-hand experience.

That is where Susan Preston steps in. She has written the sort of book she wished she could have had herself when she first started home oxygen therapy. It’s a book that deals frankly and in detail with the problems that crop up when you’re living “at the end of an oxygen tube”, as well as the more obvious issues of how to handle the equipment and benefit from it.

In nine easy-to-navigate sections she covers every aspect of living with home oxygen, from using and maintaining the equipment, to managing daily activities and going out. Each section provides information, warnings, and wonderful glimpses from Susan’s own experience. The information is detailed and practical. Illustrations are included where they are needed. At the end of each section there’s a helpful checklist.

This is a book you could read right through in an hour or two. But it can be referred to again and again when you need to know more about a specific issue. It’s intended to be helpful to carers and family members as well as those on oxygen therapy. Although Susan writes from her experience in Australia, she has done a lot of research to make it useful to readers in the UK and the United States.

Susan doesn’t pretend that life at the end of an oxygen tube is easy. She’s frank about the emotional cost of being limited in what she can do. Yet she writes in a way that encourages those in her situation, and those who care for them, to remain positive. She helps us to see the humour in situations that might otherwise seem demoralising or depressing. Her book should be recommended reading to anyone involved in managing home oxygen therapy.

Stella Budrikis, MB BS

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