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!

Random Picture Day # 11

Living On Oxygen for Life

Almost every year K takes me on a vacation for my birthday and our anniversary. It’s really a big thing with us. We generally pick somewhere that has a beach. It’s just so relaxing and I love watching K playing in the ocean or the gulf even though it scares me half to death because he wanders out so far. Hey! There’s sharks out there!

In this picture, K devised a way for me to not get too much sun. I get sun poisoning pretty badly because of my heart medicine. I love sitting under the umbrella watching K play and then when I’m ready, filled with energy, I wade out into the water. I have my portable oxygen tank in a plastic bag, attached to the chair. Sometimes, K will dig a hole in the sand and drop the tank that’s in the bag in the hole. He’s my personal MacGyver! I use my 50ft oxygen tubing so that I can reach from my chair out to the water. All I have to do is watch out for other people on the beach if it’s crowded. Another idea I’ve thought of doing with the tubing but haven’t tried it yet is to cover the tubing with sand. Then people can walk on it. K tries to take me out in the early morning or late evening when the temperature isn’t too hot. I last longer at those times.

Do what you can to experience life. This year we aren’t going on vacation because we focused on some home rehab. But there is always next year, right?? =o)

How to play on the beach with oxygen.

How to play on the beach with oxygen.

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!!!!