A close call…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Even with all the planning in the world that K and I do for our vacations and even our outings around town, there is something that might go wrong. The trick is to have a plan or at least a calm head in the midst of what could possibly turn into a crisis. Let me tell you one of mine.

*cue: dream sequence*

It was the summer of 1998 and K and I had driven to New Jersey to visit friends. These friends and a few of their friends all decided to pile into a van (not mine) with my 75lb liquid oxygen reservoir in the very back. I guess you could call it a trunk if vans have trunks. We drove into the big city (aka: Manhattan) and ended up eating dinner at the Jekyll and Hyde restaurant. That place sure is strange but the food was good. After dinner and driving around a bit, we decided to go back to our friend’s house in New Jersey.

Well, something must have happened because there was a massive amount of traffic and cops out directing the flow of cars. And it was at this precise time that I realized my portable was out of oxygen. We couldn’t exactly get out of traffic and unload the reservoir to refill my portable. The van we were in didn’t have the clearance room to place the portable atop the reservoir like mine did. The traffic was that bad. So, since my reservoir had a spicket on it with a green tree to attach a oxygen canula, I decided to just breathe connected straight from the reservoir.

Unfortunately, the reservoir had a leak. Guess where the leak was.. Yep, in the place where the spicket was attached to the reservoir so that when the oxygen was turned on, out leaked the oxygen. I started to get really worried. I told K what was wrong and he tried to fix it but to be able to tighten the spicket nut, he had to be able to remove the plastic cover (I think!). You couldn’t do that inside the van and we didn’t even have a wrench or pliers. The guys in the car were starting to notice that something was wrong and they started to panic. In fact, one of them actually got out of the van and approached one of the cops to see if they could help.

By this time, I was not only panicking and struggling to breathe, I was so embarrassed. Luckily, K put on his hero cape and saved the day… er… night. We noticed that if he held the spicket a very specific way and not moved, I could get enough oxygen (barely) through the canula to get us back to New Jersey which was almost an hour drive. I just had to sit there, not talk and concentrate on being calm. Now that was a close call!

The next morning, we called Lincare to come out to fix and refill my liquid oxygen reservoirs so that it didn’t happen again.

Don’t let this scare you from getting out though. Just have a plan of what you would do or who you would call if you need help in a hurry. Don’t forget to follow my blog!


6 thoughts on “A close call…

  1. A very close call indeed. I worry about being in the boonies and breaking down with no cell service. I carry 14 hours of 02 in the car at all times. Well…almost all the time. I keep a 2 meter ham radio in my EDC bag. I’m almost sure that I could raise someone on it and get them to call for help.

    • Yep that would make me feel a wee bit nervous being out in the sticks all alone. Man, I’m pea green with envy that you have a ham radio! My grandma (God bless her departed self) use to drive with a CB. Her handle was “Ladybug.” lol!

  2. Christine:
    I had a similar scare when the lights went out and I only had a small portable with me at the time. I prayed the lights would come back on, and like you have stated…calm is most important!! I was so lucky the power did come back on. Only having a small portable available at the time. Now with weather coming in tonight; freezing rain etc I have 2 large portable oxygen tanks, just to be on the safe side. And have them where I need them to get to them in a hurry if need be.


  3. Before I go for a car trip any long distance from home, I always put my spare E tank on the floor in the rear of the car. That way, I’ll still have several hours of O2 in order to get someplace where I can receive help. I also ensure that all 3 batteries for my Respironics Simply go are fully charged, and I always use the auto adapter whenever I am in the car to keep the battery that I am using fully charged. Since I generally go with 2.5 LPM pulse flow, I have plenty of power to keep the POC going. Even though I may switch to 2.0 LPM straight flow for short intervals when I am exerting myself, I am fully confident that I can take care of myself. A little prep can save you from panic later on.

    Happy Holidays to all of you!

    Gerry Grippe
    Norwalk, CT.

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