Lung Disease

person with lung disease on oxygen

Lung disease is not always caused by our own bad habits. There are people with Cystic Fibrosis, COPD, Lung Cancer, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Asthma, and Mesothelioma. In fact, according to the Lung Foundation there are over thirty types of lung disease.

https://lungfoundation.com.au/

Whether or not a person has smoked, he or she can suffer one of the many lung diseases.

The Stigma of Lung Disease

Over 40% of people with lung disease feel there is a stigma from the view that lung diseases are self-inflicted and smoking-related.
Not always true.

However, from my experience using oxygen, I would have to agree with that statement. There is a stigma. The reaction of some people when I am out, usually in a shopping centre, is varied. Some people are embarrassed and look away, a few smile, while others clearly are repelled by the sight of me using oxygen.

For most people with lung disease, before oxygen therapy, breathing could be likened to trying to breathe through a plastic bag.

lung disease struggle to breathe

Oxygen and Lung Disease

Not everyone who has lung disease uses oxygen. The criteria for being prescribed oxygen is much more than breathlessness. There is a series of tests which are done to assess whether or not oxygen will help. If it will help, a respiratory physician will determine how often and how much oxygen will need to be used.

I need oxygen 24/7, and this is described as palliative care. However, on ‘good’ days I have a reasonably normal life. Getting used to trailing around an 18 metre (59 foot) tube was a challenge and is quite a ‘trip hazard.’ But it is one that can be met.

(I share my experiences, the challenges and solutions in Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube.)

oxygen tubing

Use it or lose it

This common term really is true when it comes to living with chronic illness whether it be lung disease, back problems, or many of the debilitating conditions that make us reluctant to move.

It is not easy to make the effort some days. Especially the days when it is a struggle to breathe, or when the herniated disks make walking difficult.

Attitude

This is the key – the attitude of the person with lung disease, and those who care for them. It is natural to grieve the loss of ability, but it is not wise to become bogged down in self-pity. And it happens. However, life with lung disease, whether on oxygen or not, can be quite fulfilling. Some days it is more of a challenge than others. But rise to the challenge. And if you are someone who supports/cares for someone with one of the many varieties of this disease, recognize the difficulties, don’t gloss over them. Then encourage your ‘someone’ to become involved… join a club, write an article, or take up a hobby. And be aware, there will be many days when going outside the home is not possible.

However, it is true… Life with lung disease can be fulfilling.

Susan

About the writer:

Susan M B Preston is the author of several award-winning Biblical fiction novels.

The Apostle John Series

Hold the Faith (1st in the series. Award winner)

Grow in Grace (2nd in the series)

Light of Truth (3rd in the series. Award winner)

Keep the Flame (4th in the series. Double Award winner)

Hell Shall Not Prevail (5th in the Apostle John Series.)

Novellas:

After the Thirty Days

No Evil Shall Befall You

Clash of Faiths

Shadow of the Past (coming soon.)

Non- Fiction:

Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube.

Quarantine, Why?

quarantine to stop infections spreadking

Quarantine as defined by dictionary.com is…  1 –  a strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease.
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/quarantine

I wonder if ‘quarantine’ is even understood by ordinary people today. It seems the drug companies do not want people to understand. After all, we are to ‘soldier on’ according to a medication advert shown on TV  here in Western Australia… it is a medication that is supposed to enable someone with the ‘flu to go to work and soldier on.

They might feel better, somewhat, but how many others does that one person infect?

Reasons to quarantine yourself

A local newspaper headline recently said…

WA flu deaths up 925 per cent amid brutal and early start to season.
Angela Pownall: The West Australian, reported.

Full report here…
https://thewest.com.au/news/public-health/wa-flu-deaths-up-925-per-cent-amid-brutal-and-early-start-to-season-ng-b881248197z

Waiting for a prescription, I stood behind two women discussing their young children suffering with the ‘flu. Although one woman’s child had been given the ‘flu shot, it had not protected her and the child had been very ill. With little relief she was also treated with Tamiflu. (A prevention and a treatment.)

The other woman’s child was in hospital. Their description of their children’s ‘flu symptoms was vastly different from the ‘flu I remember in the past.

A recent update on a news programme here in Western Australia stated that the vaccines recently used are probably no longer effective because the virus has mutated, already.

This is a reason for quarantine. One child taking it to school potentially could infect many others.

There is another ‘bug’ or virus knocking people down at this time.  An infection causing virulent vomiting and diarrhoea (Australian English spelling’) Other than some friends who have suffered it, my family doctor asked me at a recent appointment if I had symptoms, and explained how prevalent it is.

There are quarantine rules in the Bible.

And I cannot help but see how the laws that were given about quarantine, were given by a merciful and loving God.

For example…

Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you…
Deuteronomy 24:8

I looked up leprosy, wondering why (as mentioned in the previous verse) Miriam was put out of the camp for a week.

It was to prevent the spread of the disease.

(The rules for ‘diagnosing’ leprosy are given in detail in Leviticus 13.)

Many English translations of the Bible translate tzaraath as “leprosy,” a confusion that derives from the use of the koine cognate “Λέπρα” (which can mean any disease causing scaly skin) in the Septuagint. Ancient sources such as the Talmud (Sifra 63) make clear that tzaraath refers to various types of lesions or stains associated with ritual impurity and occurring on cloth, leather, or houses, as well as skin. It may sometimes be a symptom of the disease described in this article, but has many other causes, as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy (near the end, under the sub-heading Bible.)

So, all those restrictions would determine whether it was leprosy, with all the stigma, and poor conditions associated with being cast out of society, not to mention the complications of the disease itself. If it should turn out to be leprosy, then the spread of the disease was contained.

In this day and age

In Western cultures, leprosy is not such a common threat. However, with the many ‘plagues’ – like this year’s ‘deadly’ ‘flu outbreak in Western Australia and the ‘D and V’ outbreak and other rapidly spreading diseases, we would be wise to heed the instruction to quarantine ourselves.

Prevention is better than cure, quarantine yourself… please.

Besides, some people have what is called a ‘compromised immune system. Something you might recover from in a week, might make them seriously ill, or even die.

Serious thought,

Susan

quarantine yourself

Feel as if you are down a Sewer?

down in a sewer

Have you ever felt you are down a sewer, or in a deep pit? I know I have at times, and those sojourns down the sewer seem to last such a long time. Then just when it feels like there is some progress out of the pit…  bang!

Back down into it.

Jeremiah was in a sewer.

Jeremiah was a prophet in the Old Testament and he was put in a pit for telling the truth.

A pit in Jerusalem

Many commentators believe the pit or cistern was actually a sewer. Nevertheless, Jeremiah was in mud at the bottom of this hole in the ground.

“So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud”
Jeremiah 38:6

Does your mud feel this deep?

mud in the sewer

In the sewer

Jeremiah found himself mired in a literal pit. He was caught in deep despair. The prophet was the object of hatred because he urged Jerusalem to submit to God’s commands. Jeremiah suffered abuse from those who persecuted him – slander, false accusations, beatings, anger, and all other expressions prompted by bitterness and vindictive feelings. Finally, the prophet was seized and thrown into an empty cistern. He sank into the mud.

The faithful prophet was emotionally and physically exhausted.

Despair is exhausting.

Despair can be defined as a loss of hope, and this often turns to anger. So, the next question is – ‘what do we do with anger?’

Recognize our anger.

  • Who is it directed toward?
  • Someone close to you?
    • Are you able to discuss it with the person?
      If not, walk away rather than fight an unwinnable fight.
  • A work colleague?
    • Try to talk it out.
      If that does not work
    • Gather evidence and take it to HR
    • Ignore them.
  • A work situation?
    • Create boundaries and learn when to walk away.
    • Work on an exit strategy.

Angry with yourself?

Recognize it. Own it. Only then are you able to start to deal with it.

Shame

Tease out the reasons but try not to dwell on them. Instead, look for a way you could handle a future situation in a different way. Remember the old saying, ‘Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.’ Many people have said it with some variations.

As you see each ‘mistake’ or wrong decision you made… forgive yourself. I remember when I was in the sewer years ago and giving myself a ‘hard time’ when I saw my mistakes, someone said to me, “You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time.”

It helped.

Give yourself time

Eventually someone rescued Jeremiah from the pit, but he had to wait. I am sure it felt even longer than it actually was. 

Learn to wait. Expect to fall back into despair, anger, depression, but do not allow yourself to stay there.

Be patient with yourself because it is not possible to change direction immediately just because you see the need to change. Think of a cruise ship. It needs a lot of space and  takes a long time to turn.

One more thing…

Look for the things you are doing well. Learn to focus on them and not the mistakes.

This is something we all need to do. It seems easier to see our mistakes, especially when feeling tired or vulnerable.

Encourage someone, and encourage yourself!

God bless

Susan

And a PS

Positive affirmation

Guess what. I feel human

feel human when you meet others

I feel human for the first time in eighteen months or more. If you think that an odd thing to say, then praise God you have never lived with a life-limiting disease. There is a hidden cost… some life-limiting diseases are not obvious so they bring with the disease/limitation a psychological challenge of dealing with others who do not think they are ill. Now that I am on oxygen full time I have an obvious condition, that was not always so… as others have shared.

Since writing the blogs on living on oxygen, I have heard from people who are not on oxygen, but can relate to the isolation that chronic illness or life-limiting diseases has on those of us in these categories. Some are isolated by what is called a ‘compromised immune system,’ and that makes us very vulnerable to infections that others could shrug off.

Sadly, many – other than the sufferers – do not understand the threat an infection poses and do not quarantine themselves when they have an infectious disease.

Another isolating factor...

…Is  the effect strong fragrances have on people with lung disease. Sadly, people do not always believe this, which leads to more reason to isolate ourselves. It is easier to avoid the situations than try to explain… and annoy others.

The effects summarized greatly…

“Scents enter our bodies through our skin and our lungs. The chemicals in scents can cause many different reactions. Even products containing natural plant extracts can cause allergic reactions in some people.”
Read more…
https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/air-quality/indoor-air-quality/scents

And on household products…
https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/indoor/indoor-air-pollutants/cleaning-supplies-household-chem.html

To be honest, I do not think you will understand if even if you have some of these problems mentioned, but have regular contact with people outside the medical profession.

Hopefully, I can explain.

I have lung disease, heart disease, adverse reaction to fragrances, and I am socially isolated.

So, why did I feel human This week?

Because I went out socially, not to a clinic or doctor appointment, nor for scans, tests or medical reviews.

If you have read any of my blogs on the subject, you will know that I live my life attached to a tube… an oxygen tube.
field marshall hat, planning abilityIt has been a learning curve adjusting to this way of life, and it has been very isolating. (I mention in my book, “Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube” that it takes the planning abilities of a 5-star General, or Field Marshall for even a simple trip out.)

A care agency supplied a support worker to take me out for three hours. As I said, not to an appointment, but to catch up with awesome people for coffee. I knew how long my batteries last on my ‘flow rate’ and took the number I would need.

Now, this does not mean I do not appreciate support I receive from family in the UK, the ‘digital’ support I receive from far-away friends and brethren, I do, and it helps me cope. So, also does my contact with ‘The Friendship Club,’ but the ladies I met up with this week… well, over the years, until I was unable to attend,  we supported and encouraged each other. We knew many of the other members well, and some more closely than others.

cartoon man listening to music

I feel human

I feel human, music note

Age is not the only reason for being, or becoming housebound. Perhaps it is a back problem,  and please do not dismiss ‘back problems’ or other mobility issue because they are serious and affect our ability to go out. On the other hand, it could be heart problems, continence problems, or grief issues, or even a loss of confidence in going out. Sometimes it is financial, lack of transport, friends died, family moved away, or some of the reasons mentioned at the start. There are people with various auto-immune diseases and those people are much more vulnerable to infections. Some of the medications for heart and lung disease reduce the body’s ability to fight off infections. So…

  • It does not take long for the world to shrink to the size of your home.
  • Sometimes it feels safer to stay home and try to avoid infections.
  • There are times when it is so difficult to walk… pain, oxygen saturation dropping dangerously low.
  • It is easy to ‘fall through the cracks’ when everyone else seems so busy.
  • For all those reasons and more it is easy to stay at home. To isolate. The longer the door is closed on the outside world, the harder it is to go out.

Walking groups are friendly places

Well, the one I went to is…

Mall walking group

That is where I went earlier this week… to a walking group I used to belong to, but have been unable to attend since August 2017.

This one is a mall-walking group and the members have varying abilities. Some, like I did the other day, attend for the social support and friendship as well as exercise. Many enjoy walking in a safe environment while others are ‘champion walkers’ – but all are friendly.

It takes courage

When a person has been isolated socially for a long time, it can be frightening to consider going out among ‘other humans.’  If you fit this situation…

  • Recognise the reason for the fear/anxiety
  • Is there a way you can reduce it?
    • I contacted people I knew in the walking group when I knew I could definitely attend.
    • Estimate what you will need. Is it oxygen? Is it medication? Is it continence aids? If necessary, make sure you have an angina spray (that is not out of date) in your handbag.
    • What do you need to do to reduce your stress?

Go forth, face your anxiety, and enjoy being human, and talking to other human beings!

Susan

I feel human!

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Tunnel, where is the light

It is sometimes hard to see light at the end of the tunnel when you are stuck in a long dark tunnel.
Perhaps it wasn’t so dark when you went in, or maybe you didn’t realize it was so long. But now you are stuck.

You can see no light at either end.


Don’t turn around, or you will lose your sense of direction. If you sit down to try and work it out, you might end up going the wrong way.

Have you ever felt like that?

Most of us have.

What is your tunnel?

  • Toxic work situation?
  • Betrayed by a friend… your partner?
  • Lost your job?
  • Had bad news about your health?
  • Or did you go chasing after something you thought better than you have now, only to find is was an illusion.

Whatever the reason, you are stuck in a tunnel.

The reaction to any one of these, and myriads of other causes, is the key to your way out of the tunnel.

Do you feel disconnected?

disconnected in the tunnel of isolation

Sadly, we live in a world where everyone seems to be so busy, but is their busy-ness their way to escape their feelings of hurt, anger, or sadness?

It is a common way to cope… keep yourself so busy you don’t have time to think about your situation. However, at the end of the day, it is difficult to hide from your feelings.

What do you do?

  • Get drunk
  • Have an argument with someone
  • Feel worthless.

You might be surprised…

If you knew how many people are suffering the same feelings of disconnection, loneliness or despair.

Perhaps it is time to ‘own your feelings.’ Identify the main cause you are stuck in a tunnel with no idea which way is forward.

Constantly trying to run from your emotions is exhausting and counter-productive.

People (or a person) may have hurt you, but your reaction to that hurt is your feeling.
Identify that, allow yourself to feel the emotion.
Are you able to tell a person who hurt you what you experienced… without blaming him or her?
Are you able to tell an employer the effect the atmosphere at work is having on you?

Is there a pinprick of light in your tunnel?

If it you discovered your friend was feeling what you are feeling, how would you respond?

Compassionately?

If so, do you not deserve the same treatment?

Respond to your own feelings in the same way you would a loved one who was sad or struggling.

Reactions are our responsibility.

If we do not stop to ‘own’ that, we will continue to blame others for our reactions and run from one tunnel to another.

If a spouse or child has died – it is okay to feel the loss. Know that over time the loss will still be there, but it will change and become bearable.

If your work situation is having an effect on your health and you can do nothing to change it… look for another job. (But don’t complain in an interview for a new job about the one you are leaving.)

If you are diagnosed with a serious, or terminal illness, yes, grief what you are losing, then make the best of the time, or abilities you still have.

Why spoil the present by dwelling on things from the past or fears about the future?

smell the roses image

A long time ago someone said to me, “Stop and smell the roses.”

It can be a challenge to step back from your feelings but it is good for your health.

“Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret—it can only bring harm.”
Psalm 37: 8 Berean Study Bible

Susan

Fortunately there was a bench there

Bench

The bench was in the small local shopping centre and my breathing was ‘about to give out’. I used the oximeter and the saturation of oxygen in my blood was below 50. Impossible, some would say… but not if you work in the Respiratory field. Still not good.

A little indigenous Australian woman sat on the other end of the bench and, when I could I gasped out a greeting. She was sitting checking a ‘scratchie’ – I don’t know what other people call them, but to us here in Western Australia that’s what they are. Tickets that have areas to be scratched off with a coin in the hope of winning a sum of money.

The woman was pleased, and said to me a few minutes later, “You brought me luck, I’ve won $20.00,” and went off happily to claim her money.

I sat on the bench waiting for my oxygen level to come up enough for me to be able to walk.

No ambulance for me; the hospitals are full of ‘flu victims. I doubt if there would be an ambulance available.

https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/emergency-department-staff-concerns-not-my-responsibility-wa-health-minister-20190314-p5149z.html

No, I waited until I could walk again.

My little shopping centre has more than one bench

To be honest, most times I go there, I travel from bench to bench. I’ve met many interesting people as I recovered my breath on one of them. Some people had back pain, others were breathless, but I have never sat beside another oxygen user.

(As I explain in my soon-to-be-released eBook, Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube, not everyone who has COPD or Heart Failure is prescribed oxygen.)

Click (or tap) the image if you want to read the page about it.

Why so bad today?

I can only assume it was the ash from the bushfires. (Strange time of year for them here, but the freeway south had to be closed for a time.)
https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/bushfires

Yesterday (Thursday) was very windy and I kept the doors open so that my oxygen concentrator had some fresh air. (To extract the nitrogen from.)

But I was in my study working on putting ‘Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube into a print template’… and that’s time-consuming. When I took a break in the afternoon to watch a quiz show I like, I noticed there was a film of dust on the table as I walked past. I had only cleaned it the day before.

When the quiz was over, I turned off the TV and my Support Worker arrived, complaining of the ash in the air.

The suburb where the fire was burning is a long way from where I live but that wind must have been driving the ash. Maxine had to wash the ash from the surfaces it had gathered on. It was sticky and did not want to be dusted off. I tried.

The filter for the concentrator had to be washed, but for the time until it dried – the house has been quiet. Just the puffing as I take a breath from the Portable one.

Well, it is time to do my next task, and I am posting this early because I am busy this weekend.

God bless you all… and may you find a bench to sit on when you need one.

Susan

Giving up Is Taking Over and What to Do About It

lost and giving up

Giving up might be easy. Do you have the courage to keep going? It does take courage to keep walking through your trials, or turn back and seek help.

Clearly, many do give up, the suicide statistics in Australia alone are food for thought.

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/clinical-resources/suicide-self-harm/facts-about-suicide-in-australia

Is giving up really taking over our world?

If so… how can we counter this negative trend?

Make your own trend, but look to the past as well as the future.

Some thought I should just give in gracefully and die rather than go on oxygen. Well, it might have saved a tiny bit of money for the government but I believe I still have something to give.

My book ‘Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube’ would never have been written, and even although not released yet, it has led to some interesting conversations. It is my hope that not only does it help people who are prescribed home oxygen, but also those who care for them. It might surprise you to discover the changes and challenges someone on oxygen has to make.  Although, I have to admit, it is quite amusing at times… especially when tangled in the oxygen tube.

Then the fourth novella in the companion series to the Apostle John Series books would not be published. (Getting close.)

So, what does looking back achieve?

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4 ESV

Giving up was not the way these people handled adversity

Joseph, favorite son of his father Jacob had many opportunities to give up. His half-brothers’ jealousy escalated to such a degree they put him in a pit and were going to kill him.

What was going through Joseph’s mind?

Instead, Joseph was sold to spice merchants on their way to Egypt. There the spice merchants sold him as a slave. (Read the story in Genesis 37:12-35)

Moses could have thrown up his hands in defeat many times, as he led the often-rebellious children of Israel through the wilderness.

I look at the lives of the prophets, and sigh at what they went through… without giving up.

Jumping forward in time…

Did the Apostles think of giving up?

History says all but one were martyred, and the Apostle Paul mentions his many trials.

For those of us who have Christian faith, where would our faith be without the record they left us.

When researching for the Apostle John Series I was awed at what the early Christians endured. Some went to the arena; others were tortured, enslaved, or burnt as torches for Nero’s parties.

In many cases Christians could have escaped persecution by the simple act of taking a pinch of incense, tossing it the fire at an statue of Caesar, and saying, ‘Caesar is Lord.’ That would have broken the first commandment, and most chose to suffer the penalty.

We have not been called to such challenges, but we have, and do, experience other overwhelming difficulties at times.

giving up, drowning in problems

Back to the suicide figures

More people than would like to admit have, at some point in their lives contemplated suicide. From the figures in Australia alone, many have attempted to kill themselves.

Do we shrug and sigh, then continue on, or do we wonder what we could have done if someone we know succeeds in killing themselves?

It is a two-way street. The person desperate enough to want to give up needs to find the courage to talk about it. Easier said than done.

No one to trust.

There are crisis lines where a stranger will listen. This might be a solution for those wanting to give up.

One such organization says on its webpage, “Professionally trained counsellors have specialist skills in working with suicide-related issues and they can help you to work through the pain and distress you may be feeling.”

What can we do?

If we see signs of someone withdrawing, instead of ignoring it, we can ask, “Would you like to talk about what you are feeling?”

If that seems too threatening, how about “You seem to be having a difficult time, is there anything I can do to help?”

We need to be prepared to listen. We need to be non-judgmental. A person on the point of giving up on life sees life differently to your viewpoint. Allow them their viewpoint before offering alternative views.

Sadly, the times we live in are not conducive to quietly walking beside someone in distress. Our lives are so busy, and self-concerned we might not notice. We might be struggling ourselves, but guess what, helping someone else can help you see your own problems in a different light.

Not giving up, giving

Here, some flowers for you… pass them on.

Susan

Susan Preston was a trained Mental Health Nursing sister and worked at an outpatient community clinic. She has a great deal of experience in counselling and caring for people with mental health issues. (Some of this knowledge made its way into the books she has written.)

Home Oxygen… the Beginning

Oxygen flow control

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.

Manasseh with hook through his nose

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.

oxygen concentrator and oxygen cyclinders

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.

Living at the End of an Oxygen Tube

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!

Susan

Your Life as a Movie

Your life as a movie

A movie that stands out to me is the Charlton Heston ‘Ten Commandments’ movie. I mention that because it covered Moses’ life from a baby until the end.

What would your life be like as a movie?

Is your movie joyful
Sad and alone
Are you old in your movie
Good live movie

What is the standout in your movie?

A childhood memory? Your wedding day? Birth of a child? Their graduation or wedding? A divorce? Death of a child or loved one?

When you look back, what do you see?

Is your movie a bumpy road?

Most of us have bumpy roads in our lives.

Sometimes unexpected twists and turns,

It’s how we handle them that counts.

And many of them are so devastating we think we will never survive, but we do.

Ten Commandments Movie

Although not entirely accurate to the Biblical account, the film is a reasonably good overview of Moses’ life leading a huge group of grumblers to their promised land.

I guess we have all had grumblers in our lives but hopefully not to the extent Moses did.

Then there was Jeremiah

Commonly called the ‘weeping prophet,’ his life was no picnic. He was warned though.

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Jeremiah 1: 1 – 10

By chapter 38 he was put in a pit/cistern… some say sewer… and left to starve.

Calling for Divine help

But there was a good ending… he was lifted out of the pit and lived.

Interesting story after that. (Too long for here and on a different subject.)

Another story of loss and triumph

A lovely hymn whose words were written by Horatio Spafford after his four daughter drowned. He lost his fortune in the Chicago fire… well, the video documents all his losses as well as his recovery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX_50AERr8M

Our life movies

When I was a child in Scotland a small house spider terrified me.

What would I have thought then had I known about the huge insects I would meet in Brunei, then here in Australia?

Over the years various friends have said, “I am glad I didn’t know what this would turn out to be when I was younger.” I profoundly agree!

My husband and I said it when our son died at sixteen and a half.

I am sure my husband thought it when his lungs were smothering him when he was dying from Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Now, here am I, rather restricted and ‘tethered’ to an oxygen machine (or a portable one) twenty-four hours a day.

All the same, I can sit here in front of the computer, currently writing my soon to be released book on living with oxygen.

My life movie has had many bends in the road, some pits  of despair that I thought I would never get out of, and lots of tremendous bumps, but I can look back and say, “Thank you Father.”

Can you? I hope so.

Susan

Movie equipment

Mother Past and Present, What Faith

Mother standing alone

“Happy Mother’s Day” was the greeting from a special friend. Her next line was the one that inspired me… “If there were no mothers in the world, Christ would never have been born. “

So, this post is ‘a tale of two mothers’ – in vastly different circumstances and time settings, then us.

Christ’s mother did not have it easy.

Most mothers would say they do not have it ‘easy’ especially in this age where there are so many thing to worry a mother.

I remember when I used to be a leader in a girls’ club run by the church I attended, we discussed what it would have been like to be pregnant and unmarried in that time period.

pottery cup, betrothal cupMary and Joseph were betrothed. The word has lost much of its meaning over the centuries. At that time at the betrothal the woman was legally married even though she still remained in her father’s house. She could not have what we now call ‘a relationship’ with another man unless she was divorced from the man she was betrothed to. Yes, a betrothal was that binding. When Mary accepted what the angel told her, she would have known what her punishment could be… stoning. 

Joseph could have claimed she had been adulterous and she would have been stoned.

How much faith did she need to carry her child, knowing she was still a virgin, but would  her story of an angel visiting her be believed?

The Bible records how that turned out. God sent an angel to Joseph… he must have needed faith too.

  • How much faith did Christ’s mother need when He left the family business and started wandering the countryside preaching about the Kingdom of God?
  • What mother would not understand the agony she would have felt watching Him crucified?

It takes faith to be a mother, and as a common saying goes… it takes a community to raise a child.

It takes a community to raise a child

What if you were the first mother?

By the time Eve became a mother, she and Adam had been cast out of the garden. This is how I understand the scripture…

 

Eve, first mother, eden

"Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

Genesis 3: 20 -24

Did Eve wonder what was happening to her body, or do we assume that because Adam knew she would become the mother of all the living that God had taught them previously?

Some things are instinctive to a mother; other things are learned. Who did Eve have to ask? Who was her role model?

Her firstborn, Cain, was the first murderer. But, he was her firstborn. Did she grieve over him? Did she feel a failure as a mother?

Perhaps you have never thought of any of these matters, but I do. A friend said it is because I have a writer’s mind. Perhaps this is true.

Everyone reading this had a mother.

She may be alive, she might not be, or she might be in that ‘twilight world’ of Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia, leaving you mourning the living.

Nevertheless, she carried you in her body for nine months, felt your first movements, laboured to deliver you into the world.

That was only the start. She fed you, changed your soiled nappies/diapers, and encouraged you to walk.

How many times did your mother listen to your stumbling attempts to remember words… or letters on a page as you learned to read?

If you are reading this, your mother was your first teacher… and she was proud of every challenge you overcame, and cried over your disappointments.

It is not easy being a mother nowadays

There are wars, kidnappings, murders, drugs, and so many other things to concern you. Will your child be safe at school must be one of the questions. Some research at the link below.

Dangers that teens and kids face.

I am grateful that I did not have to worry about any of those. Yes, there were things to worry about, to pray about, and sometimes to tear my hair out about, but they survived and so did I.

Yes, it takes faith to be a mother in today’s world although sometimes mothers worry unnecessarily.

All mothers can do is to give their sons and daughters the tools, and hope, pray and if appropriate… guide their children as they step into adulthood.

No, it is not easy… but whether, Eve, Mary or you… it is the most important role you will ever have in your life, whether appreciated or not.

Special thoughts and prayers for all the people whose mother has died.

This week’s musing.

Susan