New Year’s Resolution, anyone?

Living On Oxygen for Life

Picking a New Year’s Resolution for the year of 2013 is tough stuff. First of all, do I believe in them? Will I follow through with the resolution and not give up? I can always make one that’s simple. Such as, eat less salt! Being on Oxygen requires me to use diuretics which means eating less sodium. I don’t need any extra sodium in my body because the diuretic medication is something that gets rid of the excess fluid. Making that kind of resolution would be a benefit to be sure but I kind of already do that anyway.  I’ve got to be a good patient, right?

The year of 2013 will be a bit different. I want to be an even MORE giving person. You already know I love crocheting. I’m currently heavy into making crocheted afghan. What I want to do is create a special “Christine Afghan” to give away to someone who needs a ray of hope or happiness. With health permitting, I hope to accomplish this goal. I’m almost finished with an afghan that’s similar to the one that I made for my Mother-in-law (see HOBBIES in the menu above). I hope to give it away to someone soon. These afghans are a little piece of me that hopefully will live on for a long time.

I hope that everyone has a fantastic, safe, and warm New Year’s!

Wearing Oxygen for the First Time in Public

Living on Oxygen for Life

Here I was thinking to myself as I walked out into the public for the first time wearing my oxygen. I was scared. I was a nervous wreck and I thought my life of carefree fun was over.

I knew all the right things to tell myself. “Who cares what other people think? You don’t know these people and they don’t know you. So why do you care what they think about you wearing oxygen? So, what. Right?” But I did care. I’m human.

So, what did I do? I jumped right out there with both feet. My best friend and I went out. She told me that if she caught anyone staring at me that she would beat them up. She was so serious that it made me laugh. She decided that she was going to be my champion. (no actual beatings ocurred!!)

People do stare. It’s human nature to be curious. When I catch them staring, I just smile at them and it throws them off. I guess people don’t expect me to be so… I don’t know.. Friendly? Outgoing? or Willing to talk about “What’s wrong with me.” However, a smile works every time.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with needing to use oxygen. It’s just your body telling you that it needs a little extra help. With that help of oxygen, you might just find that you can do more, be more active and live longer.

Fireplaces & Oxygen

Remember that those who use oxygen are usually more sensitive to smoke from a fireplace and/or cigarette smoke. If you are having a family gathering for a holiday, please remember the person who uses oxygen. First and foremost, people who use oxygen should NOT smoke and unhealthy. It’s dangerous. Oxygen must be kept at a minimum distance of 5 feet from an open flame.

For me, I’m very sensitive to even the smell of burning wood (even a grill causes me problems!). It irritates my lungs and causes difficulty breathing. My family doesn’t even light the fireplace when I’m in their home. Sometimes, if they have a fireplace that has glass doors that can be closed which keeps the smell within the fireplace, I can tolerate being around one. I fully believe that holidays or family get-togethers should always be as enjoyable as possible for everyone who comes. So, if you need to do a little extra for that person who uses oxygen, do it and they will appreciate it. The oxygen user probably won’t speak up saying they are having problems from the fireplace. Please ask them if they need you to do anything with the fireplace to make them more comfortable. Afterall, being on oxygen is hard enough.

Be your own health advocate!

Living on Oxygen for Life

We all hope that we don’t have to be hospitalized but sometimes it’s necessary. The best thing to do when becoming hospitalized is be prepared. Know that you are your own best advocate for your care. What that means is:

  • Listen carefully to what the doctor is telling you about your condition.
  • Ask LOTS of questions (especially if you are not sure what the doctor is talking about).
  • Make copies of documents of: Test results. Medications taken in the hospital. Plans of care in the hospital. Hospital release orders.
  • Know that there are only so many nurses who have a lot of patients to care for but please let them know if you need help. It’s important that you are getting quality care. If you don’t feel that you are, discuss your concerns immediately with your doctor.

If you can’t be your own advocate, ask someone that you trust and who knows your health problems. When you are admitted to the hospital or about to receive treatment or a doctor prescribed procedure, the hospital should ask you to fill out a form to add any names who YOU authorize to receive access to your condition. That means, if those people you add to the list call to the hospital or come to your hospital room inquiring about your condition, the staff can give those people your status. There are other benefits to listing these trusted family or friends to this list. If you are too tired or too ill to talk with the doctor, these people that you’ve listed can talk with the doctor or nurses. However, the patient is the only one who can request pain medicine or a sleeping pill (if it is on the patient’s chart ordered by the attending physician).

Many of the things listed above also pertain to even doctor appointment visits. Write notes, list the questions that you and/or family have. It’s so important that you take charge of your health. Living on oxygen can be scary but it doesn’t have to be if you are informed and in charge of your health. If you are a person (like me!) who doesn’t remember everything the doctor says, take someone with you. I take my  husband. For one thing, his memory is like an elephant’s and another thing, I need him to wheel me around in a wheelchair for the longer doctor appointments. I’ve finally admitted to myself that I need the wheelchair and you know what??? I last SOOOO much longer for using it. We’re able to get out after the doctor appointment and do some fun things. We go for lunch as a reward! I’m big about the Reward System. Do something you don’t want to do, like a doctor appointment or a Heart Catherization (yuck!) and get rewarded with some activity that’s fun or even treat myself to ice cream! YUM!

I know life can be difficult and adding some rewards to my life for doing some of the difficult things that I normally do NOT want to do, makes everything a little bit brighter. Don’t you think?? Who else uses the Reward System?? Let me know what you do???

New Q&A Section to my Blog

I’m working hard to improve and add to my blog to better help those people looking for answers about oxygen, oxygen equipment, daily life on oxygen and much more. Just click on the Q&A link above to see what questions I’ve received the most. If you have other questions, post those in the comments section. I will do my best to answer them based on my experience with Oxygen. Don’t forget to FOLLOW MY BLOG. Enter your email in the box located at the top of the column to your right!

Flu Shots and Christmas!!

Are you excited?? It’s nearly Christmas. Though where I live, it is just now getting chilly outside. I hope that everyone who uses oxygen has had their flu shot. They say that the flu shot is a pretty good match for the strain of flu that’s going around heavily this year. So, that’s great news!! I’m sure we all know that getting the flu shot will not prevent you from getting sick but at least, if you are going to get sick (and let’s pray hard that you don’t), with the flu shot, it will help you to not get as sick as you might without it. I am a diehard fan of the flu shot. I get mine every year. No exceptions.

If you are living with someone who uses oxygen, please get a flu shot. If  not for your benefit, think of the one who’s using oxygen in your home. It’s really important to keep yourself as healthy as possible around the person you care for. My husband tries his best to stay away from those who are sick and comes home from work and makes sure he washes his hands. Why is that important, you ask? Because germs spread and a case of the flu for me could mean possible death. We take it seriously around here.

Now who’s excited about Christmas? I can’t wait because I really look forward to seeing my family. This year the family decided against gift giving. However, my husband and I went to the mall (yuck, I hate the mall!) to the Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree and picked two children (Angels) to buy for. It’s so fun and very rewarding to know that we’re helping a few children have a happy Christmas.

Please stay warm and healthy during this Winter season. And FOLLOW my blog.

Our 2012 Christmas Tree!

Our 2012 Christmas Tree!

Questions about Living on Oxygen

O2tanksLiving on Oxygen isn’t always easy. There are so many questions about it. If you have questions, please post your questions as a comment. I’ve been using oxygen since I was 17 years old and I’m currently 43 years old. If you post a question, click on the “Follow the Post or Comment” so that you will know when I reply via email.

Follow my blog and you will be able to see how I cope with Living on O2 for Life. Even though my life is complicated with heart, breathing problems, migraines, scoliosis along with a few other health problems, I do my best to make my life one filled with quality fun. Even though life can sometimes… ok..ok.. often times be a challenge, I think it’s all worth it.