Getting ready for company..

Living On Oxygen for Life

This is how K looks out for me. He’s awesome. I meant to post this last year. I just wanted to show you that there are some really great spouses out there. There are so many things that are just too hard for me to do and that’s when K steps in and takes over. I love this man.

Me: (finally lying in bed with Bipap & oxygen on totally exhausted from working along side K to super clean the house) Thank you so much for your help K.

K: (while mopping the hallway) Is the music too loud?

Me: No. Right now I don’t care about the music or the light being on. I’m exhausted. What you’re doing is so appreciated.

K: (stops mopping) This is what you wanted done.. What you needed, right?

Me: What you’ve done is awesome. You’ve gone above my expectations. Thank you.

What brought me to think about Suicide…

Living On Oxygen for Life

A good friend of mine wrote this poem and it really spoke to me. It’s about a topic that isn’t talked about enough. Please read this poem and then I’ll begin to outline my experience with this subject.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN

What if we never wake
To see a smiling face
Upon our families lips
What else could take that place?

Your story has yet been told
But your fear is not just yours
That it won’t be heard again
Through your children’s wars

If you join the rested dead
Because the memories hit too hard
Your fable of what could have been
Will end, silent and barred

So do a favor not for you
But for those that stay behind
Never end your silent fight
For what you couldn’t find

Because all that’s lost is right in front
When you awaken a new day
That pistol’s meant to protect
Not take your life away

Be the one that won’t back down
And the parent that won’t say NO
Because when you’re gone it all goes numb
There’s no rewind for that low

The eyes that stare with crazy dreams
As you awaken from your past
Are the ones of the innocent child
That wants their parent back

When the words come out of you
That now is the time to go
Be sure your memories will not fade
When they sink you down so low

So live this life for those that watch
And do it as you should
But don’t be scared to reach a friend
That has been where you have stood.

Levi Bridwell
2-5-2016

Let me take you back to when I was nearly 15 years old and had just underwent a surgery that would change the course of my life forever. It was the most traumatic experience I have ever experienced in my life that left me with some deep emotional scars. The surgery I had, brought me so close to dying that even the doctor was freaking out (professionally, of course). He allowed my sisters, my parents, and my grandmother to come into the ICU two at a time to sit next to my bed for as long as they could bear to. I was a mess. My older sister was so upset that she started crying and had to leave the ICU. Her boyfriend stayed with me holding my hand. My little sister came in with our grandmother. I was so hot from breathing so hard that the doctor relented and allowed a fan to be placed pointed directly at me to attempt to keep me cool. I had a tube up my nose and down my throat to my stomach to pump out the flow of black bile that I was continuously vomiting up. I was dying and everyone knew it. Yet, I struggled to hold on.

When my little sister came in, and sat next to my grandma, she suffered quietly as she was always so sensitive to being cold. She sat in the direct path of my fan which was on its highest fan speed. I looked at her through the bed rail and I felt so bad for her. My heart rate was up to 200 bpm and I was sweating. I couldn’t turn it off for her. So, I did the only thing I could think of… I gave her my bed sheet for her to shield herself from the fan.

I will never forget the look on each of my family members’ face as they came to sit with me. There’s so much more to this story but I’ll leave it for another time. I just want you to remember this moment as I jump you forward a few years to when I was nearly 17 years old.

Life for me changed radically when I was nearing 17 years old. I started having blackouts. I wrecked my car numerous time due to blackouts, I tried working while I went to high school which made me continuously tired. I became hypoxic, forgetting homework assignments and where my classes were within the school. My psychology class assignment was to write an autobiography which pulled me so deep into depression that I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry. I started dropping classes that I didn’t need credit for to graduate because I was so tired and I was going to fail them.

With all of this going on, my parents had been divorced for about 3 to 6 months and we ended up moving outside my school district. We had to drive ourselves to school everyday instead of switching school which I do not think I could handle.

And then…. I got sick. Really sick. Pneumonia. I was so sick that I was carted off in an ambulance from my mom’s house to the hospital in the middle of a snow storm and stayed for 2 1/2 weeks making me even further behind in school. I had incompletes, Ds and an F on my report card with so many absent days reported that I remember thinking that there was NO WAY I was going to graduate from High School since this was my Senior Year. Plus, I had to quit my job.

Among all of that, my doctors realized that I needed supplemental oxygen at home at night. Everyday I thought about killing myself. Every. Single. Day. I doubt even my best friend knew I was thinking about suicide. So, I come home from a second hospital stay from rebound pneumonia and started my attempt to catch up on my school work. I couldn’t do it because I was such a mess. My mother came into my room to ask me if she needed to find some help for me. That’s all she asked and when I said, “No, I can handle my problems,” she didn’t ask anymore.

When I was like this, I closed myself off, became quiet, because any more added pressure would have been just too much for me to handle. I kept thinking back to the last surgery I had and the looks of my family and KNEW that I could never try to kill myself no matter how much I thought about it. I couldn’t do that to them. I didn’t think anyone noticed the turmoil that was going on inside me. Trying to deal with health issues, trying to graduate high school, dealing with a dysfunctional family life and more. I did graduate. My teachers passed me through due to my effort of trying. We moved to Texas.

Slowly my life started to change once I picked up an old Pentax camera, took long walks (finding a Pecan tree!), and learning to cook a few things for myself. I spent nearly a year just finding myself. Getting use to having my lungs needing supplemental nightly oxygen and learning to accept the future changes that will come. I know life will be ok for me but every-now-and-then I think of that surgery that very nearly ended my life. If I could survive THAT, then I could most likely handle the rest of this mess in my life. But, not everyone can, there are people out there truly struggling thinking that the only way out is through suicide. That’s not the answer. Getting help is the first step to finding your way through whatever life has thrown at you. Find a school nurse or counselor, a pastor of a church, a close friend or call one of the hotlines listed below and tell someone what’s going on that’s making you feel this way. Do it today.

Thanks to Lifeline Website, you can find information about what to expect when calling the Hotline.
National hotlines:

In the USA: you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline free from anywhere at 1-800-273-TALK.

In the UK: you can call the Samaritans anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 08457 90 90 90.

In Scotland: you can call the Breathing Space phoneline, which is available 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday – 6am Monday), and 6pm – 2am on weekdays (Monday – Thursday), on 0800 83 85 87.

Q & A video?

Living On Oxygen for Life

Most of you know that I’ve done YouTube videos about my Bipap or the “Meet Christine”, right? If you’d like for me to make another one, I’ll do a Q&A video if you send me your questions. They can be about me or about oxygen or just silly stuff. Keep them clean questions. Just message me or email your questions at goredrider@gmail.com when I get enough for a video, I’ll make one. Sound like fun?

I finally figured out what I wanted to do with the 3 large lemons my dwarf Meyer lemon tree produced. What’s better than freshly squeezed lemonade? It was so delicious! If only my tree grew more than 3 lemons!

I made lemonade from the lemons I grew!

I made lemonade from the lemons I grew!

Here’s the updated picture of my January’s Need a Hug afghan. Get yourself on the list of recipients if you feel in need of a hug because you’re having a tough time breathing.

January Need a Hug afghan Update

January Need a Hug afghan Update

GO Broncos!!! Need I say more? hehe!

Yes, I'm supporting Peyton Manning for the Super Bowl.

Yes, I’m supporting Peyton Manning for the Super Bowl.

I’ll be attempting more gardening this year. K is building me a raised garden bed that will be about 16″ high. The size of it will hopefully end up being 2’x 6′ and 16″ tall on the ground. I’ll be growing potatoes, Bibb lettuce, cilantro, and spinach this time. Also, the chives and basil are what I grow every year. I hope like crazy that I’m successful and that it doesn’t make me too tired. K is going to build this extra garden next to the tall raised bed. That way my oxygen tubing will reach just fine. He’s so thoughtful. He had to move all my half whiskey barrels to make room. Aww… he’s so sweet. He loves me but this is his way of trying to get me motivated and outside so that I don’t become sedentary which would make my lungs weaker. I don’t need them any weaker. Trust me on that. erg! I’ll take pictures of the garden progress and blog about it! It will be fun!

So send in your questions and I’ll try to answer them. Think of it as a way to get to know me and remember, no question is a dumb question. If I can answer it, I will. Just keep in mind that I’m not a doctor. My answers are based on my experience during my life. Have a great week!!!

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

Need a Hug Continues…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Good afternoon everyone! I LOVE to crochet as one of my many hobbies. Last year, [2014], I made it my New Year’s Resolution to crochet many lapghans/afghans to just give away to those who have breathing problems all at my expense. My afghans have reached out to people who live in New Zealand, the UK, Canada, and various places in the U.S.A. My goal with sending these afghans was and still is to give the recipient a HUG and to let them know that someone cares about them. So, I named the project: NEED A HUG giveaway.

Now that it’s 2015, I have decided to continue this project but I need help to buy the yarn and pay for the shipping. That’s where your help comes in. My goal is to make this more of a community feeling of reaching out to give HUGS to those who have trouble breathing. If you’ve experienced breathing problems, you know just how difficult life can be. So, with your help, let’s send warm hugs to them. *hugs* These breathing problem can be anything such as: Asthma, Restrictive Lung Disease, Pulmonary Hypertension, COPD, and so many more that it would take forever to list. Even people who use a Bipap or a CPap can be a recipient. My goal is to make your sad day better, to wrap you in a warm hug with one of my afghans, and to remind you that people care about you.

I have opened a GoFundMe account to help with the cost of only Yarn and Shipping in order to continue the Need a Hug giveaway. So, please tell your friends and family about this project. All money donated will only be spent on the purchase of yarn and shipping expenses. If you feel the urge to donate to this project, you can do so at: Help Need a Hug.

If you would like to enter the Need a Hug giveaway, please email me at: goredrider@gmail.com and include your name, address, and a brief bio of why you have breathing problems. I will make them and give them away in order I receive the entries. It generally takes me 3 to 4 weeks to make one afghan. So, please have patients. *HUGS* to you all!!!

I just want everyone to know that if you don’t have the funds to donate, please don’t. If you do have the funds, any amount of help is appreciated… whether it’s a $1, $5, or whatever… I’m not doing this to profit. Whether or not you donate, you can still enter yourself in the Need a Hug giveaway.

needahug2015

gofundmepic

photo-7

August & September Need a Hug Giveaway Afghan

August & September Need a Hug Giveaway Afghan

June 2014  Need a Hug giveaway

June 2014
Need a Hug giveaway

January 2014 Giveaway Lapghan Deadline for entries is January 31. Drawing on February 1, 2014.

January 2014 Giveaway Lapghan
Deadline for entries is January 31.
Drawing on February 1, 2014.

AfghanGiveaway

3 inch granny square afghan.

3 inch granny square afghan.

photo-11

SpringAfghan

Afghan for a Friend

Mother-in-Law Afghan

Afghan #1

Better, faster, lasting longer… your portable oxygen system. Don’t we deserve it?

Living On Oxygen for Life

I recently received this comment below about an issue that many… I mean many oxygen users feeling strongly about. Only an oxygen user who uses portable oxygen knows exactly how difficult it is to be active while lugging any form of portable oxygen.

What if there was a way to make these portables lighter and longer lasting? Why isn’t there already any available? Sure, there are the battery powered oxygen concentrators but those batteries don’t last very long and they take a while to recharge. Do we really want to carry around multiple bulky batteries when a battery can be made lighter, smaller and last longer?

What can we, as an oxygen using community, do to further the battery technology and portable systems to become more beneficial for us so that we can lead a more active lifestyle?

Bill wrote this in hopes that we could raise awareness for this much-needed help from the tech world.

“I’m suffering from health issues and I feel like there is some uniquely innovative person who could help. I don’t want money and I really do not want sympathy. I want help solving a special problem….oxygen.

Three years ago I had a health event and since then have required a modest flow of oxygen. Before this I was largely unaware of what it meant to carry a portable oxygen system around. Suddenly, through necessity, I personally became aware of the challenges I faced using these systems. I, like many others, need to carry some form of oxygen with me every moment of every day.

What baffles me the most is that at a time when you’re feeling weaker because of your oxygen deficiency, you’re now saddled with carrying a significant extra weight. There is an array of systems available, but they are all heavy and clumsy. It makes getting around for everyday tasks even harder. I was also surprised at the large number of people using these systems as well as the many that cannot afford help and just suffer silently.

Excessively heavy, and inconsistently reliable power supplies are only a few of the major problems. When combined with clumsy delivery systems it makes for a real challenge.

I have admired the way some have attack problems and find new solutions. I would like someone to take the ball and find a solution to this problem. I know that it would be a great benefit to many people and you’d be giving life and freedom to those of us that are suffering. We need innovation in attacking this problem.

I believe with today’s technology there is no reason the needs for this fast growth health care cannot be improved. As one who will require oxygen for the rest of my life, I ask a small favor. Please take a look at this issue and help us if you can.”

Many people are still using the archaic e-cylinder metal tanks for their portable oxygen system. We, as the oxygen users who are already challenged with our illness, want our independence. Struggling with bulky, heavy portable equipment that may only give us only hours of oxygen does not promote a quality life. It’s frustrating to have to rely on oxygen equipment that could be so much better.

If you know of someone who you can pass this message on to and help solve this problem, you would be helping many people obtain a quality of life they deserve. This is achievable.

Pin this, Facebook this, and Twitter this post. Let’s get this out there.

I am opening this post up for your comments, suggestions, ideas, and ways that we can raise awareness for the need of better portable oxygen delivery systems and lightweight, longer-lasting batteries for portable oxygen. If people can create a computer in a garage, why can’t someone create a better battery for a better oxygen delivery system? Let’s do this for ourselves and better our lives.

Learn about your oxygen concentrator filter

Living On Oxygen for Life

Good morning everyone! Whoops it already noon but it feels like morning to me because I woke up for the day about 30 minutes ago. I was so absorbed in a good book that I didn’t realize that it was already 3:30am when I looked at the time. I even had to struggle to put the book down. It was so good!

This blog entry will be short… Sorry.. Sorry! I know you love my long.. really long blog posts but at least this one has a video! YAY! In this video, on Youtube.com, I talk and show you an oxygen concentrator filter. Bare in mind that my filter may not be exactly like the one that is inside of your concentrator. But that’s ok.. they work the same way. You can watch it and then tell me what you think. Ok?

 

I hope everyone is doing well today. Don’t forget to stay active by finding something exciting and new to try. Like a hobby! I’m about to go outside to look at my elevated raised garden to see how much my veggies have grown already. I have pictures and I can’t wait to show you in my next post.

[April 2015]