Summer Vacation Tips

Living On Oxygen for Life

So, you use oxygen and are disabled. First thing, when planning to go on vacation, is to know your limitations. Just because you have limitations, (ie: get short of breath while walking, need help unloading luggage from the car, need time to take naps and even time to take your medication), it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. You just need to make sure that the people you are going to be with on your vacation are aware of your need for help.

The hardest thing for me to accept when I started using oxygen 24/7 was that it was okay to ask for help. I would visit my sister and would need help unloading my things from my van. I would need help with some things that I normally would have been able to do years ago. I was afraid of asking because I felt like a burden. But my sister set me straight. She said she was family and family and friends would always willing help me and not consider me a burden. All I had to do was ask. They may not be aware of the help you need.

Try not to over think your vacation preparations but be prepared. AAA is good to have while traveling. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere while on oxygen. Before you leave home, talk with the person you may be traveling with and whomever you’re staying with once you get to your destination. Let them know what kind of things you might need help with. A major thing for me is to let people know that I need the air conditioner turned down to about 72 degrees. I need cool air to help with my breathing. It is only temporary for the time that I’m there but it is necessary for dry, cool air. If people are walking too fast for you, ask them to slow down. It shouldn’t be a big deal to them. If you are tired, rest, rest, rest. Remember that vacations are suppose to be fun and it can’t be all that fun if you let yourself get drained of energy. Remember your medicine and a prescription for your oxygen.

If you are going to a place on your vacation that requires a bit of walking, you might want to invest in a wheelchair. I bought mine from Amazon for a great deal. Invacare LightWeight Tracer EX2 Wheelchair 20″ with Swingaway Footrest-Blue (Folding, Assembled) Don’t forget the seat cushion.

This is me in my wheelchair. Notice how my husband hangs my portable tank on the handle bars. Behind the tank, I hung my tote bag where I kept whatever I needed in it. Driving a long, long, long distance and you use a bipap? Something interesting to have is a converter that plugs into a cigarette lighter and gives you a regular plug outlet for those machines, toys, and gadgets that don’t have a car charger. I’ve actually used the converter to plug in and use my bipap machine in the van for a quick power nap on the way to Las Vegas.

Make a list of all the things you need to take with you. Don’t forget your medicine and a cellphone. I always take my roadtrip mascot, Mr. Chicken. He’s my rubber chicken that poses in some of my pictures on vacation. There are a lot of ways to create fun on vacations. Just remember, you are not a nuisance or a burden. You use oxygen and people know that you need a little extra help. And that’s ok. So, relax and have fun. Take lots of pictures!!!

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9 thoughts on “Summer Vacation Tips

  1. great post! Your writing is super personable. I went on a great road trip recently and put to use these ideas/practices. Don’t take offense if I copy this format with my own story πŸ˜‰

  2. Thanks for mentioning the 72 degrees – my husband is constantly fighting me about using a/c when the windows could be open but it’s sometimes too humid for me (obviously not for him) I need all the help I can get to him to understand! Also great idea about the wheel chair – I go to estate sales all the time – I’ll see if I can’t pick one up reasonable !

    • I also own a dehumidifier. I use it when the humidity get so bad that I get short of breath from doing simple things such as bending over to pick stuff off the floor. I’m thinking about having K pull it out for me. It’s been very humid & rainy lately. K asked me why I wasn’t using it last night.

  3. Could you give me some tips please on how my Mother could carry her oxygen easier? She can’t use the small oxygen tanks because she can’t get enough oxygen so she uses the standard long tank. She quickly stopping all activities because she says the tank is too much to carry. Any ideas? I cannot be with her all the time. Thank you so very much.

    • Hi Jay,
      Does she use the cart that comes with the heavy tank? Those tanks are so awkward and too heavy for older people. How much oxygen does she use? I use 6LPM. If your mother uses under 3LPM maybe she can use a portable concentrator that is powered by batteries. I don’t know if insurance will cover the expense of one. You’ll have to check it out. Inogen.com is a good place to learn about these machines.

  4. Thanks for the quick reply. She does use the cart with her larger tank. They had brought out a smaller portable which looked like a 1/2 of a regular oxygen tank in a carry bag, however, she couldn’t breathe with it. I asked about the imogen….her medical company doesn’t carry them. Thank you.

    • Hi Jay,
      I try to reply to comments and questions as quickly as I can. I’m assuming your mother is saying that she can’t breathe with the smaller metal tanks because it is a pulse-breath system. A pulse-breath portable oxygen tank only gives a person oxygen when they inhale and the immediately cuts the flow of oxygen off when it senses the person starting to exhale. Honestly, I hate those things because I use a high liter flow of oxygen (6lpm) and it feels like a small hurricane of oxygen blowing up my nose when I inhale. It’s also kinda loud. It’s more important to find out if her insurance company will cover a portable oxygen concentrator (POC). If they do, ask then insurance company which other oxygen providers do they contract with to see if one of the other companies have the POC.

      The way you could tell if the smaller tank was pulse-breath is if there are two tubing lines leading off the tank instead of one connection. The two lines are spliced together to make one tubing.

  5. I really didn’t get to see the internal workings of that small tank and she’s already sent it back. She only said she wasn’t getting enough oxygen. I do know it wasn’t a continuous delivery like she’s use to with the big blue monster of a box. I will call and ask if they have other providers that they contract with. I know she gets tired of being on the tanks and half the time she walks off without bringing it with her only to have it yank her back. It’s just now she tells me she doesn’t go anywhere because she can’t carry that tank. I thought perhaps there were some tricks to carrying it around. It’s rather bulky. Thanks again for the information! πŸ˜€ Have a wonderful day!

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