An Overload of Information to Catch You Up!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Oh my goodness… I have so much to catch you up on. First, let me show you my MacGyver invention that I took to two movies and a trip to see my sisters a few days ago. It enabled me to take both of my portable liquid oxygen tanks and not have to carry them myself.

Going to a 2 hr and 15 min movie with 2 tanks and this cart I invented to carry both tanks.

Going to a 2 hr and 15 min movie with 2 tanks and this cart I invented to carry both tanks.

I put one of the portables in the bucket and strapped the whole thing in my van on the middle bench with the seatbelt. It worked really well! Next thing I need to tell you that my trial with Adempas is over. I didn’t do very well on it. I had a constant headache and my breathing had gotten worse. So, I talked with my doctor and she agreed to stop the medicine. Having Restrictive Lung Disease makes it hard to find Pulmonary Hypertension medicine that my body will tolerate. Right now, I’m back on 62.5mg of Tracleer twice a day.

Christmas was great!! K and I decorated the house again this year. Unfortunately he had to work on his days off but I had the energy to decorate most of the Christmas tree myself since I went slow. It took me a couple of days to get the ornaments on the tree. Here’s a couple of pictures of what we did.

Our 2015 Christmas Tree!

Our 2015 Christmas Tree!

K made our table look great with a live tree from Jackson & Perkins.

K made our table look great with a live tree from Jackson & Perkins.

I had fun crocheting some holly and berries... I turned them into knob ornaments.

I had fun crocheting some holly and berries… I turned them into knob ornaments.

My Mary enjoying the Christmas tree 2015.

My Mary enjoying the Christmas tree 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was visiting my sisters a few days ago, we met up at Winstar Casino since it was the most central place to meet. My little sister is the one who went to Paris and she brought me back Klondike! It was good to get him back home but it looks like he is going to be a world traveler because my little sister said they will take him to Germany when they go. Germany!!! How cool is that? They really liked the Shutterfly book I made of all the pictures they took of Klondike in Paris. They texted them to me each day they were there. By doing this, it gave me a chance to travel by proxy to places that I’d never thought I could go. Overseas! Plus, I got a very awesome purse and a beret! Yippee!!

The French Beret I got from my sister!

The French Beret I got from my sister!

I know I’m overloading you with a bunch of information but I can’t stop now! I have more news to tell you! This one is super exciting because I worked all year to accomplish this one. My dwarf Meyer Lemon tree, that I’m growing in a half whiskey barrel, produced 3 whole lemons for the first time ever and it took all year to grow them. I think I’m going to make lemon brownies with a glaze on top. I forget what they are called but I found a yummy Pinterest recipe. The lemons are HUGE!

It took one year to grow these!

It took one year to grow these!

I’m still crocheting Need a Hug afghans. Even though 2015 was pretty rough and my Happy Jar doesn’t have a whole lot of “Happy Moments,” I’m determined to make 2016 a more awesomer year. Yes, I said AWESOMER which is a new word I invented and I’ll say it until it catches on! haha! Have a great year everyone and stay well and warm. Sorry I had to throw everything at you in one blog post. Believe me, I could go on but, I’ll let you digest this post for a bit before I post more. Lots of love and hugs to you all.

Know Your Limitations…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Know Your Limitations for the Holidays.

So, you use oxygen. Whether it’s 24/7, like me, or you use oxygen during activity, you should always know your limitations. The holiday season is now upon us. Heck, it’s been upon us since just before Halloween! Personally, I don’t understand that. I’m a type of person who loves to enjoy each holiday for what they stand for. Aren’t you? Though, I certainly can’t wait for K to start decorating for Christmas. He really has a knack for that. Remember last year?

Your limitations are your body’s warning signs for telling you to slow it down and pause for a rest. No one wants you to peter out before the fun starts…whether it’s board games or Football games –backyard or on the TV in your comfy recliner. I think everyone who reads my blog would want you to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family without risking your health by overdoing. Right, y’all?

So, what do you do? If you are the one who does the cooking for the holidays of the past but are now on oxygen, you can either pass the baton to another family member to cook the meal or delegate the whole meal as a pot luck. You can even prearrange by ordering a precooked turkey or ham from your favorite store and have it picked up! Save your oven for the important stuff, like PIE! Yum!

Plan on taking sit-down breaks that are uninterrupted. Got the meal under control or have someone else tending to it? Take that power nap before the meal. Teenagers are a great source for free help. Trust me… I was once one! They will do just about whatever asked to earn a chance to sit at the “Adult” table this year. You remember the moment in your life when you were given that honorary seat at the table where all the adults gathered to sit and eat (and talk!). It was….a beautiful day. *sigh*

With all the activity and excitement, even if you are not prescribed to use oxygen 24/7, you should always use your oxygen as your doctor has prescribed! You should never feel embarrassed to wear your oxygen. Your friends and family care about you and should always put your health as a priority. They want you to have fun too. So, if your body is telling you it’s tired but your brain still wants to get something done, listen to your body. Don’t be stubborn. Just get some rest and ask for help. People are actually willing to help you but most are just unsure how to be of assistance. Need something moved? Ask! Need help getting up from the couch? Ask! Is your oxygen tubing stuck around a chair leg? Ask for help! Someone STANDING on your O2 tubing??? Well, shove him off!! No… Just kidding! I always tell people when they come into the house that it’s ok to accidentally step on the tubing…just don’t stand on it and to watch their feet so they won’t trip. You need to not be afraid to speak up and ask for help. It’s really ok!

Wherever you go and whatever you do for the holidays, I hope it’s full of fun, love and adventure. Leave a comment tell me how you handle the holidays on oxygen! Be well and stay safe. —Christine

The hustle and bustle of December…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Oh the hustle and bustle of December. Are you feeling it too? Feeling a little overwhelmed… stressed out.. so darn busy? My December started, of course, with my heart cath. Though, I’m relieved with the results from the cath, the after effects of the catheter that was inserted into my heart and partially into a lung, gave me two days of mild arrhythmias and made me feel a little tired. However, I bounced back to tackle Christmas. Hooray!

Fireplace

I really enjoy Christmas but I don’t have a whole lot of energy for decorating. K really stepped up this year. He wanted to make this Christmas really nice because last Christmas was such a sad one. His dad was very sick and then he ended up passing away. This year was totally different. Oh my gosh! He went all out! He wanted this Christmas to feel festive and happy. I have to tell you. He did a wonderful job. In fact, I was asked to hire him out to decorate other people’s houses. That’s so crazy! Above is a picture of our Mantle he decorated.

We didn’t have a White Christmas this year. In fact, it was 70 degrees the day after. So weird… I know!!! I got busy creating a stocking for Mary (my cat) and Rocco (my pup) this month. I think they turned out pretty well. I got no complaints from them. In fact, Santa had NO problem filling them with goodies this year. Here’s the picture of them:

Pet Stockings

December is the hardest month of the year for me.. well, for K and my relationship. It’s all a lot of STRESS and a little bit of loneliness because K has to work longer days. He needs me to take care of him instead of the other way around. Then there is the Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking… etc.. Not to mention the weather turns cold and dreary which makes us feel a little blah, blah, blah. So, what do I do? First and foremost, I take a chill pill (no pill actually taken!) and tell myself, “It will be ok.” Then I turn to K and say, “K, (yes, I actually call him K) let’s do this Christmas thing!” Naturally, we remember baby Jesus was born on Christmas. Mustn’t forget that!

Part of breaking through the stress building up is realizing that my freezer and crockpot is my best friend in the kitchen. If I’m making lasagna, I make enough to make an extra 8″x8″ pan of it to freeze for a time where I just don’t have energy to cook. You can do the same with Chili, Meatloaf, Enchiladas, etc.. I’m in love with my Crockpot and have my mother-in-law as my go-to person for recipe questions. She has the best Spare ribs crockpot recipe in the world. Yes, I will share it with you. Be patient, I’m still typing this blog post. I’ll get to it next. hehe! Where was I? To be able to throw food in a crockpot and forget about it for about 5 to 8 hours, is truly a luxury and an energy saver. So, when you’ve mastered freezing meals and crockpot cooking, you are going in the right direction.

Another thing is, if you are cooking a Christmas meal, order a cooked turkey or ham from your grocery store or from a store that does that kind of business. That way, it’s done, you don’t have to worry about cooking it. All you have to do is send someone out to pick it up. The very most you would have to do is warm it up in your oven. Have others bring dishes of food to go with the meat. Why do YOU have to do it all? You shouldn’t have to. You can even make cookie dough, freeze it, and then pull it out of the freezer when you have the energy to finish the job. I know for a fact that my older sister freezes her sugar cookie dough after she makes it because she just does NOT have the time to make & bake all those cookies in one day. And she’s a healthy person! By the way… I’m getting a whole batch of frosted sugar cookies from her for my Christmas gift this year! Oh yeah, they are SOOO worth it! Yippee!! Ok technically, I’m not getting them until next month when she comes to visit but it’s something I look forward to very much.

Since it’s the end of the year, you know what next month will bring. Yep, new health insurance deductibles to meet for 2015. Well, I do and it stinks. I’m not real excited about that but hey, it is what it is. However, I’m not going to worry about it because I’m thinking about eating the Sugar Cookies that my sister will bring. Oh and seeing my sister and her family too. That’s what I really mean! *wink*

I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve! I have a great project for next year. I’ll blog about it in a day or two. Love to you all!

A Hodge Podge of Topics to Talk About…

Living On Oxygen for Life

First, let me state that I met a wonderfully sweet lady Wednesday evening. She stopped me to ask about my oxygen and we got to talking about health issues. You all know that I will always stop to talk if anyone asks me questions. In fact, K went on shopping while us ladies talked oxygen. Being that it’s the Christmas season, K gets a little gung-ho in Michaels, Hobby Lobby and even Lowe’s or Home Depot where decorations are concerned. I dare not set him loose in these stores for too long because he will go hog wild wanting whatever he sees. But you know, he does a darn good job decorating. He just has an eye for what looks good. I, do not. It’s a shame because I like being creative. I have a hard time visualizing his ideas.

Anyhoo… before I get too carried away on strange topics, I’ll reign myself in and try to focus for, you, my reader’s sake. You’re welcome! *wink* Ugh.. where was I? Ok, first, the important thing. Opsumit. My PH doctor did some checking and Opsumit causes some people increased difficult breathing during the first month of taking the medicine. However, this problem, the doctor told me, is suppose to go away after the first month. Remember, this is a NEW drug. So the severe shortness of breath that happened while on Opsumit was not normal because I tried this medicine for 3 months. I don’t know why it affected me this way. It has all the good benefits. It’s not suppose to damage my liver, I only had to get lab work every 3 months, I took it once a day, and it’s in the same class of medicine as Tracleer. I really, really wanted this medicine to work for me but it didn’t. I’m not saying this will happen to you if you try it. Everyone reacts differently to different medication. I have a strange body that doesn’t tolerate cardiac and PH medicine very well. For that matter, I don’t tolerate most prescription pain medicine very well either. Lucky me! I can’t even drink alcohol.

If you follow me in Facebook, you will know that I’ve been crocheting to keep myself calm before my heart cath. Crocheting is so soothing.. don’t you think? Well, it is to me. Though, K calls it knitting but it’s not and he only calls it that just to poke fun at me. I love creating things. So, below are a few Christmas things I’ve created. I hope you have a great day (Thursday). Ohmygosh! I just realized it’s past 2am. Yikes! *hugs* to you all!

petstockings penguin

gingerbread FullSizeRender-4

Merry Christmas!!! – December recap!

wordchristmas
snowmen

Living On Oxygen for Life

It has been a crazy, adventurous month. K and I started the month with our trip to New Orleans to celebrate his birthday. During this trip, I had a MASSIVE migraine but I toughed it out so that K could have as much of a birthday that he wanted. My personal opinion is that I deserve a golden star for that! haha! Anyway, we made it home only for K to go to work and then get stuck staying at his mother’s house due to the ice storm we had the next day we got home. I say “stuck” but really K chose to spend the night there because it is much closer to his work than driving all the way home and then attempt to skate on the ice to work the next morning. This overnight at his parent’s house turned into 5 days there with one of those days having no power. Naturally, he only packed one day of clothes for this supposedly overnight stay. We had 2 to 4 inches of ice on all the streets for days and days!

Thankfully, I had power the whole time and K got his parent’s wifi hooked back up so that we could FaceTime each other. Rocco was seriously missing his daddy. So the FaceTime helped Rocco too! Technology… gotta love it! I wasn’t worried about my oxygen because the day after we got home from New Orleans and the day of the beginning of the ice storm (same day), I got my oxygen refilled. See??? I think of these things! haha!

Well, while K was at his mom’s for the extended vacation for me… whoops! Did I say that? I mean for this unplanned extended emergency stay… I was in charge of starting K’s car. Oh yeah… I didn’t mention that K had my van.. *grumble grumble* You see, his car is SOOOO temperamental in freezing temperatures.. as in the battery dies if it doesn’t get started every couple of days. So, I started it and it worked ok but when he FINALLY made it home, I was so excited thinking I was going to get my van back. He’s all ready to leave for work and hops in his car and the darn thing doesn’t start! I’m like… OH COME ON!!! REALLY??? No… REALLY??? (I’m sure you are picturing me stomping my foot also) You know what that means, right? No van for Christine which translates into no shopping and no labs getting done on time either.

Ok.. so we’re thinking it was the battery, right? It’s only the logical next step.. surely! K then goes to buy a new battery and installs it… goes to crank it over and the thing is still dead. Still no van for Christine! By now, I’ve got serious cabin fever and a shortage of food in the house. K does take me grocery shopping the next day though. YEA! We can eat again! Then we get the news of what’s wrong with K’s car. Let’s just say it’s much, much more than what we thought it would be… I feel silly thinking that it was just the battery.

Let’s see… what’s next? I made a fantastic cheesecake for the in-law’s Christmas party, errand running and had 2 doctor appointments all in the same weekend which was last weekend. Yesterday was a very tiring day. I spent a lot of the day resting with my bipap on. I couldn’t help it. The H1N1 (Swine Flu) is going around pretty badly in Texas this year. So, I’m being very careful about staying rested and away from sick people.

Today, I got really adventurous and pulled out our little 3 foot Christmas tree from the back room closet. K hasn’t really felt the Christmas bug this year. So I thought I would surprise him by putting up at least our little tree with decorations.

Christmas 2013 Tree

I secretly bought him a few Christmas presents that I wrapped today. I hope he’s surprised. Now all I need to do is fix something for dinner. The good news is that K’s car is now fixed but will have to stay at the shop until the day after Christmas since they close early today (like at 2pm). I hope everyone has had a calmer December! I wish for all of you to have a safe, warm and a very Merry Christmas! *hugs* to each and everyone of you.

How to Make Your Oxygen Using Guest Feel Comfortable in Your House

Living On Oxygen for Life

I don’t ALWAYS write posts that are to be read by just the oxygen user. This post is mainly for those who have oxygen users in the family or those who care for an oxygen user. Christmas is coming (in fact it’s only a day and a half away!) and you’re going to have a guest in your house who uses oxygen. What, you ask, do I need to keep in mind to help the person feel more comfortable? Here are some tips:

  • In general, they don’t like being fussed over but they do need help. When they get to your house, they will need help moving their oxygen in the place that best suites their needs. Hopefully, it will be a central location that will allow their canula to stretch the distance between kitchen, bathroom, & wherever the life of Christmas & family will be in your house. (assuming the person is using a long canula)
  • If they are using an electrical concentrator, make sure it’s in a well ventilated area.
  • Do not have an open flame or fireplace within at least 5 feet of oxygen whether the oxygen is in use or not (especially liquid oxygen or e-cylinders). In fact, if you have the fireplace going, ask the oxygen user if the smell of the fireplace bothers them. You’d be surprised how many people who uses oxygen and that problems being around a fireplace and even an outdoor grill. Myself included. The smoke irritates my lungs and it makes it so much harder to breathe. So, it’s better to ask if you already have one going. Hopefully, you have doors on the fireplace that you can close off the fire if needed.
  • Do not smoke inside or around the oxygen user. I know it may be cold outside but smoke really irritates the lungs. Better yet! You should quit smoking! We want to keep you around for a long time!!!
  • For me, using a 50 foot canula at a guests house makes me feel like I’m constantly underfoot with the thing. So, your guest may too. Just watch your feet and try not to stand or trip over the thing. I always tell people that it’s ok to walk on it briefly but just don’t stand on it. It will cut off the oxygen. Then, I’d collapse and turn blue! haha!
  • Generally, when the oxygen user talks less, they are probably getting tired. Talking takes lung power and energy as does eating. Maybe a nice quiet place for the oxygen-using guest would be perfect for them to get a quick nap. Usually, 30 minutes to an hour is all it takes to re-energize.
  • These are some basic tips to go by. Just use some common sense. Remember, oxygen users want to have fun too. If you’d like to follow along with this blog, just subscribe and you will get an email each time I post a new entry here. I’d love to hear your comments. Do you have any tips to add? The subscription box is in the right column.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!! *HUGS*

    Christmas dinner…

    Living On Oxygen for Life

    Today I got up and was determined to bake something I’ve never baked before. It was pretty daunting because I had so many questions. I thought I would have K as my go to guy for all my questions because he use to be a chef. Unfortunately, baking cheesecakes wasn’t his specialty. What did I do? Well, I went online to the website of my cookbook (allrecipes.com) to read a bunch of reviews of the recipe I was going to attempt. The Brownie Caramel Cheesecake. Just the name of the thing makes me want to drool! I am so glad that I read them because it sure did help me out. I had to add more of this, bake a little bit less of that, and add a water bath to make it just right. haha! Remember, this is my first time!

    I started out this adventure deciding to make this cheesecake a few days ago. Then I realized that I didn’t have a springform pan anymore! Well, crap! So, off to Walmart we went in search of this specialty pan that I probably never use again unless this cheesecake turns out ok. Remind me to NEVER go to Walmart that close to Christmas again! Good heavens! It was chaos and nearly pandemonium and I’m so surprised that K was actually willing to take me there to get the pan AND more yarn! I’m set for a whole month now with yarn aplenty!

    Now that my cheesecake is done and it took MUCH longer than I thought it would, I’m a little tired. But dinner at the in-laws in in one hour. I’m pretty much ready to go. I’m just writing this blog entry to destress. I tried lying down with my bipap on but my mind was too wound up to relax. Too much worrying about drizzling caramel and hot fudge topping on the cooling cheesecake. Please, please, please let this be edible!

    Here’s a picture of my cheesecake. I hope it looks as good when cut into. hehe!

    photo-16

    May you all have a glorious and Merry Christmas!