A Long Awaited Update! September/October 2017

Living On Oxygen for Life

Let’s be honest… I’ve missed blogging and I know it’s been since before my birthday (last month) that I’ve posted anything on my blog for you to read. In my defense, the last two months have been incredibly… what’s the word I’m looking for?… trying?…no. Hectic? You could say that. Let’s throw in challenging with a bit of a MacGyver twist and super stressful at times. If you wrap all that up and include my two road trips that I took (one to Oklahoma to see my family & one to South Padre Island for my birthday/25th anniversary), I have to admit, it’s been a pretty awesome adventure.

It all started with my birthday/anniversary vacation that we try to take every year. We both took turns driving down to South Padre Island which took us about 9 hours even while having to stop nearing every two hours (when K was driving) to get out and stretch our legs and walk the dog. Rocco loved sniffing new territory but I hated having to use convenient store or McDonald’s bathrooms. Not just because I never knew what to expect going into one of those things but also because getting in and out of the car and walking to the bathroom now wears me out and makes me short of breath in the worst way. That’s something new.


We made it to Padre and it was overcast but that’s ok because we knew Hurricane Harvey just past by and almost everything was up and running again on the island. Yay for us! Two days after we arrived, a boat washed up on the beach which drew everyone, including the Padre Beach police, to check the boat out. We should have set up a beach chair next to it and charged people for us to take their picture! It took nearly a week for the boat to wash up this far on the beach.


K and I normally go for a nice steak dinner for our anniversary celebration. But who knew that there wasn’t a restaurant on the island, nor close by on the mainland, that sells a good steak? Instead, we had a small party of two at our condo with a gigantic birthday/anniversary cake that K intended to share with the waitstaff had we gone to a restaurant. Thankfully we brought our big ice chest and I had some square foil pans to save the leftover cake to freeze and take home. You better believe that I ate it all once I got home (K had the last piece..darn him!). I LOVE birthday cake!

We really had a lot of fun and took a few goofy pictures. I was even a pirate! Argh! After ten days in Padre, it was time to go home and on the way home, the craziness began. We were north of Austin, Texas when it happened. I was reading and K was driving… thankfully. Our grill from the front of our van broke loose and flew over the hood and smacked our windshield and then continued over the top of the van. It scared us so bad. Thankfully, no one was behind us and we looked but didn’t see it land on the highway. We get home ok and called our mechanic to see what it would cost to get it replaced. $600! Are you kidding me? The thing was made mostly of plastic. K and I had the same idea… look on eBay for the part. K said he could fix it himself and I was, like, “You go Rambo…you get into that MacGyver mode!” Sure enough, it cost us a total of $200 and K attached it with no problems! YAY K!

What K didn’t tell me was that on the way home from Padre was that he was starting to see floaters in his right eye. Then when he went to work, he called his optometrist and they told him to come in RIGHT NOW. He had a detached retina. I was so worried because now he had to have surgery and this was his eyesight!. The first time I went with K to his optometrist, K told me that he had been telling the doctor about me because he has a daughter who has some similar health conditions. Let me tell you that I have no problem that K talked about me. I mean, I blog… so of course I don’t mind. I was really excited about meeting this doctor to learn more if he wanted to talk about it. Naturally, I knew this appointment was about K but I did bring a printed copy of an x-ray showing my scoliosis. This doctor was really neat and very personable. K and I really like him. But what excited me the most was his waiting room. Holy cow… the moment I walked into the building, I was thinking that EVERY waiting room should be like this one. There were crocheted afghans on a blanket rack next to the door and in each waiting area there was a card table with a puzzle to be put together. I immediately zoned in on the puzzle. K knows. I love puzzles and there was an older man sitting there working on the one I noticed. I just blurted out … “Oh yay a puzzle!!!” (I know you’re visualizing that.. aren’t you? haha!) The man heard me and started to get up saying that I could work on it. I told him to please stay and I can work on it with you. I told him that I love puzzles and this reminds me of when I worked on puzzles with my dad. Awww! I know, right? I was so engrossed that I didn’t even hear K’s name called by the nurse. What’s so awesome was that there was ANOTHER puzzle in the waiting room in the back! I was in waiting-room heaven!

K’s surgery went well but I wore myself out having to drive him to appointments and waking up to check to see if he wasn’t sleeping on his back for the first week after surgery. That was stressful but after the first week, he could sleep on his side but NOT on his back. You would think that it wouldn’t be a big deal but people move around while they sleep and K is accustomed to sleeping on his back. So, I had a lot of waking up to do to check on him. With everything that was going on with K, I truly had an eye opening experience about how much he does for me without complaining. He drives me to doctor appointments that are an hour away, he pushes me in a wheelchair when I need it, he takes care of everything in the background when I have migraines, not to mention doing most of the chores and all of the grocery shopping now…and most of this is done without me having to ask. I got a taste of what he does for me when I needed to take care of him for a change. I was definitely humbled and I gained a new appreciation for what he does for me. Not that I never appreciated it but my health is changing faster now, requiring K to do more and I don’t always see what he does for me.

Lots of love to you all! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to follow along! Leave a comment too! Have a great day!!!

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Our Vacation Experience with Oxygen

Living On Oxygen for Life

Keep in mind as you read this blog post that K and I are very experienced with traveling while loaded down with multi reservoirs of liquid oxygen. We are safe drivers and we take precautions before we head out on the road for vacation to ensure that our vehicle is in what we call, “Vacation Ready” mode. That means we take it to our favorite auto repair mechanic and ask them to look at our vehicle and make sure it’s ready for a road trip. We ask them to take a good look at the tires, brakes, belts, and to change the oil. They fix anything that needs to be fixed because we don’t want to be miles away from home and have car trouble. Thankfully, we have AAA (triple A roadside service) Membership.

Everything we need for vacation, including medical supples.

Everything we need for vacation, including medical supples.

When we plan a vacation, there are a lot of factors that go into the planning. The very most important factor is the location of my DME company in relation to my vacation destination. We also take into consideration whether there are any Lincare’s along the way. For the ones along our route to and from our destination, we could possibly set up a refill for my liquid oxygen reservoirs by asking my local Lincare office to set it up. The Lincare that I stop at for refills have to have the capability to fill liquid reservoirs. Some Lincare companies no longer do liquid oxygen.

This year we decided to find a beach that we’ve never been to before. We love the beach and for the past few vacations, we’ve only tried to rent beach house one other time. The only thing with this house that we rented on the beach was that it was on stilts. We didn’t realize the stairs to the house would be so darn steep. When we finally got the keys and drove the short distance from the office to our rental house, we pulled in and saw the stairs. We brought with us 2 – 100 pound reservoirs of liquid oxygen that weigh about 165 pounds full (but feel like you’re lifting a ton!). It took both of us, with K doing the lifting. I was standing behind him supporting his back with one of my hands pressed hard against him making sure he didn’t fall backwards. By the time we got that tank and the 75 pound reservoir up the stairs and into the house, we decided that the other 100 pound reservoir could stay in the vehichle since it was parked in the shade under the house. We were both sweaty and hot after that. It was so humid.

Oxygen vs. Stairs

We planned an extended vacation this year. My health has been declining. So, we both knew that I would need extra days when we arrived in Alabama and even in-between to adjust to the heat and humidity. It took me 2 days resting off and on before I could get outside and start having fun. K was super kind about not pressuring me to do anything that I didn’t feel like I could do. I arrived at the beach house with a migraine headache because the drive was stressful for me. The first day we drove we stayed overnight at a hotel. We came out the next morning and found one of our tires was flat from a piece of wood embedded into the side wall of the tire. Luckily, K had a tire air compressor in the back of the van and he aired it up enough to take it to a tire shop where he bought a new tire.

Flat Tire

The second day we drove, K stopped to fill the van with gas, it was my turn to drive this time. For some reason, as I was sitting there waiting for K to come back from the bathroom, the fuel light went on but the fuel gauge stayed at full. I don’t know what made me do it but I actually pushed the tripmeter to zero it out. At least I would know how many miles I’ve gone with the gas that I have in the tank. Anyway, the fuel gauge scared me by dropping all the way to EMPTY while K was a sleep. Ten minutes later, the fuel gauge would start raising back up to full and the light would go off. That was creepy scary. I let K drive after that. Apparently, there’s a wiring problem. Ugh!

After I was ready to get out of the beach house, I hit the beach! Even from the wrap around porch of our beach house on one day, we could see a few dolphins swimming off the coast!

It’s easy taking my oxygen to the beach. K had set up a tent with two beach chairs beneath it for me to relax and watch K wade into the water. When I wanted time in the water, K would either carry my portable on his shoulder and hold my hand as we walked into the waves OR he would have me connect my 50ft tubing to my portable and clip my portable to one of the beach chairs that he’d move closer to the shore. I’d bury the feet of the chair in the sand to give it more stability. I’d just need to sit my tank right in the seat with strap clipped to the top of the chair. Perfect! I could walk up to 50ft into the water or just sit on each of the tide.

Dolphins along the coast of Gulf Shores, AL

Dolphins along the coast of Gulf Shores, AL

This is how I sit at the beach under a tent on low beach chairs.

This is how I sit at the beach under a tent on low beach chairs.

Rocco would sit with me while I crocheted on vacation.

Rocco would sit with me while I crocheted on vacation.

We went out to celebrate my 47th birthday and our 24th Anniversary!

We went out to celebrate my 47th birthday and our 24th Anniversary!

We really had a good time on vacation. We didn’t want to come home so soon even though we spent 10 days in the beach house. I think next time we are going to try to stay longer. It all depends on how well my health holds up. *fingers crossed* YAY!

I wasn’t ready for a change…

Living On Oxygen for Life

For those of you who read my blog and use oxygen, have any kind of breathing problem or any kind breathing device, you know life can be challenging. Life is filled with highs and lows. When you get in those high places, it feels like you are accomplishing the things you want to do in life. Unfortunately, those high places don’t always last as long as we want them to last. At least, that is how it seems to me. Sometimes the lows can be pretty low and lasts for what seems like a lot longer than I’d prefer.

Switching over to Tikosyn from Cordarone involved a lifestyle change for me. It’s been a crushing blow to my happiness. Instead of one step back in health, it feels more like two steps back. It made me really frustrated, thinking and wondering what I did wrong. It’s made me have to, once again, reinvent ways of getting things done around the house. Some of the things, K has completely taken over which adds more stress for him. Both of us were hit hard with this unexpected change in my ability level. I get short of breath from scooping a cat box (which he now does) or using a broom on the floor.

K takes good care of me and I’m grateful for his love and understanding. He’s come a long way. *wink* He stopped thinking that I was just being lazy about ten years ago. He’s always known that I have breathing problems as well as the pulmonary hypertension on top of everything else. He just didn’t realize or understand how much & how quickly the Pulmonary Hypertension would progress over a relatively short amount of time.

So now, I’m going to take care of him. I’ve decided we’re going on a much needed vacation since we haven’t gone on one in 3 years. Right now all I can think of is how good the sand will feel under my feet with the water washing over them. This will involve a lot of planning for my oxygen needs but it’s always been so worth it. I’ve already secured our accommodations and I’ve even bought travel insurance just in case we have to cancel at the last minute or if one of us becomes sick while on vacation. It’s good to have a backup plan just in case there’s a hurricane too!

We both really need this getaway. We rarely watch TV while on vacation. We leave our worries behind while on vacation too. So it’s like we’re on an island made for us.. though, technically we’re not. This is our way to get back to a healthy mind and release all the stress even if it is for just a little while.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m getting into the swing of the new changes we’ve made. I’m back to blogging and YES Klondike will be going with us on our vacation. My sister sent him back to me! Yay! Stay tuned in for more blog posts from me! Stay well everyone! I enjoy talking with you on Facebook and by email! goredrider@gmail.com is my email address for those of you who have questions or would like to say Hi!

–Christine

Klondike’s Adventure Begins! Off to Germany!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Yesterday was so exciting! K & I drove to meet my sister & family at their hotel for a visit before they take off today for their vacation. It was so great! Yesterday, though, I got a text from one of my twin nephews asking if I’ll make his favorite cookies. The whole family loves Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. I texted back.. “Of course I will!” I made a whole batch yesterday morning at 5am because I couldn’t sleep any longer. Before I started, I was kind of freaking out because I thought I ran out of sugar and thought I didn’t have enough 1-minute oatmeal but I finally found the new bag of sugar that was hidden away and the oatmeal ended up being enough. Whew!

I made Klondike a new hat, an English to German dictionary (like his French one), a fun tourist map of Germany, some miniature old newspapers of WWII as reading material for my chicken while on the plane, his wallet & money, his Germany Travel Journal (different from his Paris Journal) and his passport. My sister said she will get some German stickers to cut down to size to add as customs stamps to his passport. How clever is that? She’s very creative like me.

The first picture came in today as they are getting ready to head to the airport. Klondike is a PRETTY COOL DUDE! I can’t wait to share his adventure with you and hopefully brighten your days to come like it does for me. Being on oxygen, we need all the fun and exciting things we can get to help us get through life. So, even though owning a rubber chicken who goes off on adventures is a little silly, he does his job in brightening my day. He really makes me laugh so much! lol!!!

Klondike is wearing his fuzzy wolf ears from the hotel and enjoying his first Chocolate Oatmeal cookie. He's ready to travel!

Klondike is wearing his fuzzy wolf ears from the hotel and enjoying his first Chocolate Oatmeal cookie. He’s ready to travel!

This is the cover of his dictionary. It's only 2 inches tall. Everything fits in his backpack.

This is the cover of his dictionary. It’s only 2 inches tall. Everything fits in his backpack.

Stay well everyone!!!

Klondike’s Big Adventure – Last update!

Living On Oxygen for Life and Klondike’s Adventure in Paris

And now what you’ve all been waiting for…!!! Klondike’s final Paris adventure update. My sister and my brother-in-law are home now and they still have Klondike with them. Yes, I miss that little guy (which isn’t quite so little according to my sister!) but I know he must still be having fun! Also according to what my sister has told me about their adventure with taking Klondike along… People were taking pictures of them while my sister was taking pictures of Klondike! Plus, people were trying to photobomb Klondike’s pictures! hahahaha! Apparently, Klondike added a whole new dimension of adventure to their trip. I’m just glad they had an excellent vacation.

Let’s check out the pictures!

Here you see Klondike braving the Space Mountain with my brother-in-law on Saturday in Paris!

Here you see Klondike braving the Space Mountain ride in Disneyland with my brother-in-law on Saturday in Paris! They’re SO brave!

Klondike isn't sure if these are Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears but he looks fashionable!

Klondike isn’t sure if these are Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears but he looks fashionable!

I don’t think you can go wrong with a pair of Mickey ears! (or are those Minnie’s ears?)

Klondike is posing at the Lock Bridge. He looks like he's not too sure why there are locks on the bridge.

Klondike is posing at the Lock Bridge. He looks like he’s not too sure why there are locks on the bridge.

Here is the locks up close on the bridge.

Here are the locks up close on the bridge.

Klondike posing in front of the river Seine in Paris

Klondike posing in front of the river Seine in Paris

The River Seine and the Eiffel Tower in the background. Wow! Klondike is getting around!

The River Seine and the Eiffel Tower in the background. Wow! Klondike is getting around!

Who knew it was Fashion Week in Paris? Good thing Klondike is dressed for it!

Who knew it was Fashion Week in Paris? Good thing Klondike is dressed for it!

Thank you for following along with Klondike in Paris, France. Perhaps he will have another adventure in the future! Yay! Many, many, many thank yous to my little sister and her husband for being so gracious about offering to take Klondike along on their vacation. Be well everyone and have a little adventure of your own! *hugs*

Day 3 of Klondike’s Big Adventure!

Living On Oxygen for Life and Klondike’s Adventure in Paris

Yesterday was a fairly quiet day for Klondike and I haven’t heard from them today at all. I hope they are ok and having a good time because. tomorrow, they go home. I noticed in one of the pictures from Day 2 that I didn’t post on my blog has Klondike in it. I hadn’t seen him in the picture before. I guess I was looking closely enough. This was taken in Disneyland. I had to ask what the characters were that I was seeing. My sister said thought they were Ghosts dressed for Halloween. I told her that they looked scary to me. hehe! Let’s see if YOU can find him.

Where is Klondike?

Where is Klondike?

I only received one picture yesterday. They (my sister, her husband and Klondike) all went to a show at the Moulin Rouge. I’ve always wondered, since I watched that movie, what it was like inside. I guess I will always be wondering because I only got this one picture. Klondike looked pretty excited!

Klondike visits the Moulin Rouge for a show.

Klondike visits the Moulin Rouge for a show.

I really hope you liked following Klondike’s adventure in Paris. I’m sure he’ll be going on another one in the future. I don’t know for sure when I’ll be getting Klondike back from my sister.

Lots of love, hugs and happiness to all of you! Hey, if you haven’t already, get your FLU shot. I’m going to be getting mine next week. YAY! Even K is going to get one!

2015 Oklahoma Vacation

Living On Oxygen for Life

Sorry all! I know this blog post has been a long time coming but I’ve FINALLY got all my photos from K & my vacation on my computer and uploaded to my blog. Whew! That was a LOT of work. Now that that’s done, let’s get busy discussing! First, I told you in my last blog that we had yet another tire mishap on the way to Oklahoma. The thing that I didn’t mention was that the oxygen concentrator gave out about one hour before we were to leave. Yes, I was a little stressed but I called my Oxygen provider and told them what happened. We needed a replacement concentrator ASAP! Luckily, my driver had a new concentrator in his truck. He was about 40 minutes away but he turned around to drop it off at my house! How awesome!!! Crisis averted! Whew!

We get to Oklahoma and I take all the next day to rest while my van was in an Oklahoma shop getting the falling apart Firestone tire replaced. The next day was my 46th BIRTHDAY and I had just received some AWESOME news! My little sister and her family were going to make it to the party! That means my whole family will be there. Let me explain… it’s so so hard to get everyone together at the same time, on the same day! Most of my family lives in Oklahoma but they are spread out and everyone has kids.. some young as a baby and some old enough to drive. I can’t even express to you how much it meant to me to have them there to celebrate with K and me. I darn near cried. One of my sisters made a special cake. Thank you T!

My 46th Birthday Cake! YARN BALLS!

My 46th Birthday Cake! YARN BALLS!

The party was super fun and I don’t think I laughed so much because my sister who has Klondike was telling us how surprised she was when she received my rubber chicken in the mail. You see, even the slightest of handling of the chicken will make him scream and he’s a wee bit bigger than she imagined. Teeheehee! (I’m still giggling over that! hehehe!) However, they are still going to take him to Paris and show him a good time. In fact, today is the day that his adventure begins. Keep a look out for pictures of him on my blog. Go Klondike Go!

The next day, I had some energy leftover. So, we hopped in my van and took off for the Museum of Osteology. Words don’t do this place justice to describe how intriguing this place is. If you like bones, you’ll love this museum. As you enter the building to pay your entrance fee, to the right, you can look in a window to see beetles cleaning a coyote and a domestic dogs skull. It wasn’t gross like I thought it would be. It was, however, very interesting! Look at what’s inside this museum!

Bones of so many types of animals! 2015

Bones of so many types of animals! 2015

Sunday morning, we went for breakfast at Jimmy’s Egg. I guess that’s like a IHop or a Denny’s. It was good. I had biscuits and gravy, with eggs & bacon. Who doesn’t like bacon, right? *drool* The biscuits and gravy were PERFECT! It makes me want some right now! Yes, I’m hungry. I had to go get my labs today. Anyway, after breakfast and because I ate, I got sleepy. So, we went back to take a nap. After that… we went to Oklahoma City to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial. We went about 30 minutes before sundown. That way we could take pictures at dusk and then at night when everything was lit up. If you’ve never been here, you should see it at least once. It’s somber but BEAUTIFUL. Go here to read about what happened.

This building holds artifacts from the building.

This building holds artifacts from the building.

OKC National Memorial & Museum 2015

OKC National Memorial & Museum 2015

The chairs represents each person who died in the blast. The smaller chairs are for the children who died and the 5 most western chairs are for those who were outside the building who died.

The chairs represents each person who died in the blast. The smaller chairs are for the children who died and the 5 most western chairs are for those who were outside the building who died.

At night, the chairs light up and are so somber but beautiful.

At night, the chairs light up and are so somber but beautiful.

At night, the lights come on.

At night, the lights come on.

I was able to see the name of one person I knew on the wall of survivors but I couldn’t tell which chair was the one that represents the survivor’s spouse. Losing a family member is hard but to lose a spouse in a terroristic bombing is horrific.

After we got back to my parent’s house, we ordered pizza and watched a movie. We were leaving the next day. I will have to say that our trip to Oklahoma was a blast….even Rocco had fun. Maybe, he had a little too much fun because he scared my parents so badly. They thought they lost Rocco. While we are there, he runs free of a leash like their dogs do. Well, Rocco got sneaky and tricked my parents into thinking he ran away. He was just looking for K. We had to make a run to Walmart and that’s when Rocco thought he lost his daddy (K). So he went looking for him. He showed back up when we pulled into the driveway. Silly dog. Sorry for scaring them though. Yikes!

Stay tune for Klondike’s Big Adventure! He’s on his way to Paris, France now! YAY!!! Be well everyone and FOLLOW my blog! *hugs*