Vacation… I can’t wait!!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Vacation feet If you follow me on Instagram (christinelovesdaisies) you’ll know that I’m really excited to go on vacation next month. K and I started taking self-photos of our “Vacation Feet” about 3 years ago. We like to go to places that have a beach.

Vacation hat Last year we went to Galveston, TX where I bought one of my “Vacation Hats.” I will be taking this with me. I know it’s a cheesy hat but it’s fun to wear and doing fun things is the whole point of going on vacation. Right??

Roadtripmascot That’s why we have a Roadtrip Mascot. This is my new rubber chicken. We started having a rubber chicken as our mascot for luck nearly 10 to 15 years ago, maybe longer! The first one was named Poke! He died tragically by melting on the dash of the car. It was so sad but we got a new one at the store where we bought the first one, Spencer’s in the mall. I named him Poke, Jr. Original, I know but after this guy overheated–what’s up with that??– we bought Mr. Chicken. Unfortunately, he died of a broken neck. That one was special because he went with me on my 40th birthday roadtrip to Las Vegas & California. When I squeezed his tummy, he really let out a scream!! As a surprise, K, took me to the mall recently (which I hate going to the mall) and bought me a new one. I finally named him yesterday. He is now named KLONDIKE and he’s just like my old Mr. Chicken… he screams too! YEA!! haha!

This year has been a lot more stressful with arranging all the things for this vacation. I love planning our vacations but we have 2 destinations, our dog – Rocco and my mother is going with us, and it just seemed to start overwhelming me. My husband lets me take care of all the planning. I’m a list maker, which includes making lists of the lists. I also have to arrange my liquid oxygen refills while on vacation. Thank goodness for Lincare! I finally got that arranged. We’ll be going to the local Lincare at our final destination with my reservoirs for them to refill instead of having them come to us as a new setup with their tanks. So, yes, we always take my equipment. A good thing that I’ve done was realize that I can use my bipap machine in my vehicle on the long drive if I get tired. I just use an converter which I plug into the cigarette lighter and the converter has 2 plug outlets which I use to plug in my bipap machine.

Even though, we’ll be gone for about a week, I am taking 2 weeks worth of medication. I just never know what might happen, especially when we are going during Hurricane season. Because of this, we bought travel insurance for this vacation. Honestly, I’ve only bought travel insurance twice in my life. Once for this vacation and the other time was for our honeymoon, 21 years ago. I like using Yelp! and TripAdvisor to plan the places that sound interesting to us. And always we have AAA as a backup, just in case. *wink*

I just added the Instagram “widget” on my blog. I’ll be posting pictures of my vacation fun on Instagram! So, follow me! I like to blog on vacation too. So don’t forget to add your email in the box on the right so you’ll be able to follow my blog too. Remember, just because you have breathing problems, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It may require a little more planning but it’s worth it! I’m so EXCITED!!!!

In the Kitchen – new post!

Living On Oxygen for Life

chicken2 I’ve written my first “In the Kitchen” post about Saving Time with a Whole Bird (chicken). When you want to make a meal that has chicken as one of its ingredients and you don’t have a whole lot of energy, it’s nice to know that you have some already cooked in your freezer.

In following posts, I’ll include some ways I use this chicken in recipes that I’ve tweaked to save me time and energy. Let’s face it… living on oxygen and having breathing problems, it’s necessary to find ways to conserve our energy. So, why not start “In the Kitchen?” Follow my blog by submitting your email address (at the right side of your screen) to receive emails when I add new posts to my blog.

Something New…

Sheppard Pie

Living On Oxygen for Life

This is something that I wanted to try for months. I don’t have a lot of energy or desire to cook dinner and it’s really ironic that my husband was a Sous Chef for years. He has a rule that there are to be no box meals (Hamburger Helper or frozen boxed meals). He likes home-cooked food. I don’t blame him. It’s healthier and tastier too. So, I’m starting a new section on my blog, in coordination with Tom from a blog called Breathe This Life, to help those people who struggle with the finding the energy to make a dinner.

What Tom and I plan to do is show you ways to make meals ahead and even some ingredients of meals to help you save time and energy. Standing in the kitchen cooking a whole meal wears me out. I figured that others on oxygen may have this same problem. In the picture above, you can see the most of the ingredients for Shepherd Pie. What you don’t see in the picture are potatoes (to make the mashed potatoes) & ground beef.

Tom, from Breathe This Life, will help me bring you ideas to save you time in the kitchen and help you have dinner already made on days when you are not feeling at your best.

Really? Vitamin D??


Living On Oxygen for Life

I had my annual physical today. I went a week ago to the lab to get my blood work done in advance so that I can have the results waiting for the doctor when I showed up for my appointment. I already knew that my vitamin D was deficient. My vitamin D deficiency has been documented as far back as nearly 3 years ago. Though, since taking Tracleer, it’s probably been low for long while. About 3 years ago, I started on prescribed vitamin D. It was high potency and I only had to take it once a month. Unfortunately, I was discouraged every time I took it because I would have stomach cramps for a few days afterwards. So, I told the doctor and he said just take an over-the-counter Vitamin D-3 supplement. Well, I bought the stuff but didn’t really take it. (Shame on me! I know!)

Are you wondering why I’m telling you this? Well, I have been feeling so out of it. I’ve had no energy or desire to do anything and it seemed to get worse and worse. When I got to the point where I just couldn’t stand it any longer, I went online and started looking around. According to an article on Higher levels of Vitamin D have been linked to better lung functions test. Though the only people it has shown to benefit were those who had extremely low levels of Vitamin D.

I was wondering, since I knew that my Vitamin D levels were low, could being deficient in vitamin D be part of why I’ve been so tired? Some of the symptoms of being Vitamin D deficient, according to Dr. Frank Lipman’s website:

  • Fatigue
  • General muscle pain & weakness
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • I’m now back to taking my vitamin D supplement. I started taking them again the day after my lab work was done a week ago. I’m glad I am taking them. I feel awake and I feel like I can do a lot more without feeling like I just want to quit in the middle of doing it because I’m so tired. It’s not the “sleepy” kind of tired but the “drained of energy” type of tired. I also got my Pneumonia shot today, hearing and vision checked. I like messing with the nurse who does the testing for my vision and hearing. She doesn’t always remember that I can’t hear in my right ear. She said, “You can’t hear that??” I’m like, “Hear what? OH!! You started the test!” lol!

    Remember to always check with your doctor before you start or stop any medication or supplement. You may not realize that some medications, supplements or herbal supplements can interact with whatever medications you’re currently taking.

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    How I clean my bipap mask…

    Living On O2 for Life

    So you use a bipap and you want to clean your bipap or you just want to see how someone else cleans their mask. You’re in luck! I finally took some pictures for you. First, let me introduce you to my bipap mask.
    bipap mask with tubes and head gear
    Here you can see my bipap mask with the head gear attached at the top by slot openings and at the base of the mask by little pegs-n-grooves (my name for this closure type!).

    Cleaning the Bipap Mask: I first take apart the connected tubes and head gear. I inspect each part for wear and tear which is very important. You don’t want to end up having the mask break in the middle of the night. Trust me.. this has happened to me several times. Some of the weakest parts on a Bipap mask, that I’ve noticed over the years, are the top forehead bridge section – where it’s adjustable and the places where you connect the bottom portion of the mask to the head gear.

    bipap swivel tube

    Here is a swivel tube that I connect to the end of the Bipap tubes. It allows the mask and the big hose, coming off the Bipap machine, to swivel. Allowing more freedom to move your head without having to adjust the hose at night.

    bipap oxygen port tube

    This is the tube used as the oxygen port for my Bipap mask. The arm on it is where I attach my oxygen tubing and it also swivels around for convenience of movement.

    I clean all these pieces of my Bipap in mild liquid dishwashing soap. I don’t use antibacterial soap. I fear that the chemicals used in these soaps could harden the silicone in the mask making it weaker and fall apart. Remember, most insurance will pay for replacement masks & tubing every SIX months. but you have to call to request them from the DME company that services your Bipap.

    wash bipap mask

    When I wash my Bipap mask, I use just my hands in warm sudsy water in a small basin (NOT MY SINK!). I gently bend down the inner soft blue silicon cushion and rub my finger tip down the inside between the thin outer membrane of the mask and the gel cushion. Don’t push or use fingernails to scratch anything. You don’t want to tear any part of the silicone gel cushion. When I’m done cleaning the mask and tubes, I rinse each piece in cold water. Make sure all soap is rinsed off. Use a paper towel to dry off each part. The mask is the hardest to dry. I have to bend the blue gel cushion down gently and slide the paper towel in the space to absorb most of the moisture. You won’t be able to get it all. Today, I used my hair dryer on COLD air and on the LOWEST setting to dry the inside of the mask. Make sure, if you try this, that the air from the hair dryer remains cold. You can also let it air dry. For me, I tend to need my mask for naps. So, air drying is ok but it is time consuming. Thus, the reason for the hair dryer. It’s really important to get the Bipap mask dry. You don’t want to have mold or mildew growing somewhere where you breathe from.

    To disinfect the bipap mask: Soak the mask in a solution of one part white distilled vinegar to four parts water for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse in cold water and then dry with paper towel and then air dry. I do this every so often.

    I know this is bad of me to admit this but I don’t clean my mask as often as the guidelines suggest (once daily). I’m not neurotic about cleaning my mask. If I see that it not clean, then I wash it. My best advice is to keep your mask and Bipap machine clean and in good working order. Keep everything dust-free and off the floor. Check your filters often so you know when to replace the paper filter and wash the sponge filter. Keep yourself healthy!