Why even the simplest things matter…

Living On O2 for Life

This is something I’ve wanted to share with you for a long while.

My husband had a delivery type job. For privacy reasons, I don’t want to disclose what that job was. But he had a position where he would ocassionally work different delivery routes by working others’ routes at times. One day, when on someone else’s route, he noticed that the person he delivered to was in a wheelchair and wore oxygen. So, he would go to his door for the delivery to make it easier for the man. The person who normally did this route, said the man was a little cranky and mean and didn’t talk to him. So, the next time when my husband was able to deliver to the old man’s house again, he took a few minutes to talk with him. It surprised the regular deliverer that my husband would do that with the old man. My husband kept this up each time he would deliver to his house and explained that his wife, me, uses oxygen too. He told this old man about me and about my condition. The old man really turned out to not be mean afterall.

A few weeks later, when my husband finally was scheduled to deliver again on the old man’s route, he went to his house and found out that he had passed away. I had NO idea that my husband was doing this when he delivered to the old guy. He came home that day from work and was sad. He told me about the guy and that he died. I was really proud of him, truly. I explained to him that he did something really good, that no one else at his job took the time to do. And that was to reach out to someone who probably only wanted to feel a little bit more normal.

Personally, I think because my husband has experienced what it’s like to live with someone who lives on oxygen, made it much more easier for him to approach the old man with openess.

You see, every little thing you do matters in life. Just because someone is disabled, doesn’t mean they are less worthy of your kindness. Would my husband have done what he did if he didn’t know me? I would like to hope he would. Did I make a difference in my husband’s attitude towards people with needs? I hope so.

So, you see, everyone is here for a reason and what you do makes a difference in someone’s life. So, let that difference be a positive one.

A New Way of Looking at Starting Life with Oxygen

Living On O2 for Life

I’ve been visiting family and I’m finally home but I brought my mother with me. So, I haven’t had much time to sit down at the computer to post this wonderfully inspiring way of looking at starting life on oxygen. This was sent to me by Barry Evans. He read my blog and has given me permission to post his explanation on why he wrote the poem and the poem itself on the hopes that what he wrote could help others who are using oxygen. Welcome to the life of an Earthonaut!

Inspiration

A good friend has recently been diagnosed with serious lung problems. He has to use oxygen from tanks at least 15 hours a day and has a limit of two hours out of the house with his portable supply.

People have carried oxygen across a quarter of a million miles of space in bottles and tanks to walk in the sterile lunar landscape and they have mixed O2 with helium to spend time as deep as they can in the coldness and pressure under the deep ocean. Others take bottled oxygen to scuba dive on holiday and visit the denizens of the sea.

I can imagine humans in the future travelling out into the vastness of space across unimaginable distances into other star systems to live on hostile planets. They will have to carry their oxygen and find ways to recycle it, perhaps even from their own bodies. Maybe they will spend generations needing breathing apparatus to go outside of their living shelters on those distant planets. Perhaps they might eventually evolve lungs capable of breathing the gasses of those other skies.

That makes one ask might their distant descendants come back across space to re-explore the Earth? Would we still be here? Would it be an Earth that humans have abandoned because we not have heeded the warning and saved the environment? Humans are a resilient lot though and although it is our nature to explore it is also our nature to survive. I like to think that our cousins from the stars will be welcomed no matter how they have changed.

I like to picture my Earthonauts finding an Earth that has recovered from our present careless stewardship. In this scenario it will be as beautiful as it is now, even if we are still here. Even so, these Earthonouts would have been gone for so long that they would not be able to breath the earth’s atmosphere, however pure. How easy it is to picture them walking about the Earth with bottles of their atmosphere.

It all makes me think of how unique this Earth is that we inhabit. It is even more worth experiencing than anything people are willing to risk their lives to see on Mars, the moon or under the ocean. I liken my friend going out and about with his O2 bottle to some spaceman or diver exploring a wonderful new world. This makes my friend a time traveller, an Earthonout from the future, who is exploring the earth thanks to his O2 bottles. To me he resembles the most adventurous diver or the bravest astronaut. Our world is so amazingly beautiful that even a couple of hours at a time under its sky with a breathing mask on is more wonderful than any of us ever appreciate.

To cheer my friend up and help him reframe his situation I put these ideas in a poem. I have included it here for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.

To The Earthonaut

When we have strolled the darkest depths beneath the ancient waves
And learned from lunar views of earth we are its seeds and not its slaves
When Mars has been the briefest stop en route to other stars
When we have shone our tiny lights from interstellar jars
And made our mark upon the crust of planets now unknown
With courage launched our puny frame beyond our sweet safe home
To visit worlds and rest our eyes upon those other shores
To satisfy our need to venture out beyond these doors
Escaping nature’s tiny space, that envelop of gas
What will they see, our children’s eyes, when they have dared to pass
Defying evolution’s breath to carry lung and heart,
Encased in steel and glass to spend the centuries apart
To sleep in shelters filled with air recycled from our bones
So they can see another place so far from where we’ve grown
To venture out to hear anew the far horizons song
The siren call that reaches out and teaches us to long
To carry with them bottled sky until they learn to breath
The poison of another world as if it were their need
What if that human voyager adapts as people do
And then returns to see the Earth, descendants passing through
The dusty streets, the silent skies for aeons empty lain
Bereft of those that taste the wind, the scent of salt and rain
Will it be Eden they explore as they fall through the air
Once landed look with wonder on their mother’s verdant hair
With breathing tubes that carry atoms from some distant sun
As they walk out upon this earth like cosmonauts undone
By all the beauty of this place that they have come to see
And by the life support they need to sit beneath a tree
Brave earthonaut you conquer time, you know what they will feel,
The atmosphere we carry to the moon and under keel.
So dear, my friend, my connoisseur, now life and all it’s worth
Repays the courage that it takes to walk upon the earth.

Out of town…

I’m sorry to not be posting much. I’m out of town visiting family. There is something wonderful that I’d like to share with you when I get back home. So stay tune! I’ll post next week. Hope you enjoy your weekend!

I need a break!

Rocco

Living On Oxygen for Life

I so need a break. I’ve just spent the last 2 hours starting my newest project of creating a Shutterfly photo book for my niece. I make one for her every year of her life. She’s about to turn 3 years old. I’m SOOOO excited! So, I’m making a really cute 8X8 hard back book for her and this is going to be the 4th book which includes a book covering her baby showers/birth. I love taking pictures! No, seriously, I love it and since the great invention of Shutterfly.com, I can finally turn all those digital pictures into something really worth keeping and showing off!

But, now I’m drained. Looking at the computer screen for 2 hours straight, trying to make tough decisions on which backgrounds to use and which photos to put where has my eyes pretty tired. It’s grueling but it’s so worth it when my family sees the end product. I’m going to go play with my pup, Rocco, who has sat patiently waiting for playtime.

Even though I’m on oxygen 24/7, I try to find the hobbies that really use my creative side and won’t drain my energy too much. Unfortunately, my hands are starting to get a little too shaky to take certain types of photos with my camera. Writing in my journal book is starting to get tiring too. I started that journal in 1992 and I won’t give it up until I can no longer read my writing. Ok now it’s time to play with puppy! YEA!! Bye for now!

Anxiety – part two

Living On Oxygen for Life

By now I hope you have read my previous post “Anxiety – part one” and have thought about the question, “What am I afraid of?” What the previous post, “Anxiety – part one,” covers is the issue I have with bedtime anxiety of wondering if I was going to stop breathing while I slept. I have problems with anxiety in other areas of my life and some of them are related to my breathing problems.

For me, I’ve realized that the anxiety I have experienced has created “Control Issues” for me. I try hard to control everything around me so that I won’t become too tired and that I wouldn’t miss out of having fun. I’m just now starting to realize that maybe by me trying so hard to control everything, I may be expending more energy controlling things than if I would just try to relax and enjoy life around me. But, I understand that life can be a little scary when you have breathing problems. You feel like you are losing some of your independence and you desperately try to hold onto whatever independence you have left. What you may not realize is that by adjusting the way you do the things that you like to do and by relaxing a bit, you can still have a boat load of fun.

When I first started to have bedtime anxiety, it plumb freaked me out. I would turn to my husband and tell him I was scared and something was wrong. He would tuck me back in bed (we don’t always go to bed at the same time) and then he would lie down beside me and hold my hand or blow on my face while encouraging me to relax. I’d ask him to stay until I fell asleep and he would. Now, I’m sure you are wondering, “He blew on her face???” I can’t describe it but it really is a relaxing feeling for me. So much so, that I now sleep with a little 12″ x 12″ box fan on my dresser pointing right at my face from about 3 feet away. It’s used every night, 365 days a year. It helps take away the feeling of being claustrophobic while using my bipap. This is one of my solutions that has helped me with bedtime anxiety.

Another thing that I do to combat bedtime anxiety is to close my eyes, pray that I will be ok and wake up in the morning and then I just let go internally. I think of something that I’ve done that made me happy. It could be my favorite vacation that I went on with my husband or something silly that my puppy did that day. That internal visual is what I focus on and I slowly relax. You could probably call that a bit of meditation. Although, there have been times where I needed extra backup help. So, I’d walk up to my husband and say: “I don’t feel well. My heart’s skipping because I’m too tired. Please check on me a couple of times throughout the night.” He knows when I say something like that, it’s time for him to step in and help. Just this reassurance of knowing he’s quietly checking on me, helps so much that I can fall asleep and it nips the anxiety in the butt.

If you have problems with anxiety, ask yourself “What am I afraid of?” Don’t let the anxieties turn into control issues. Talk with your doctor and discover ways that can help you feel more at peace internally so that you may enjoy your life.