Going the extra mile…

Living On Oxygen for Life

I know I’m a lucky person. I have a husband who loves me and takes care of me in ways that I have no idea that he’s doing it. May 26, 2017 was one of those days.

Last year, K found out that U2 was coming to Dallas, Texas in 2017. It’s rare that they come here and they are one of K’s favorite bands of all time, next to Pink Floyd, of course. So, he asked and then begged and told me how important this concert was to him. He said he’d consider it his birthday AND Christmas present if I’d buy these tickets for him. I’m the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of this family. Anything spent, that’s over $100, should be cleared through the CFO. That’s what happens when you’re living with someone who is disabled and has to go to the doctor often and take expensive medicine.

I knew how much K wanted to go to this concert and I won’t lie to you and say that I was really excited about going to the concert at first. I hadn’t been to a concert in YEARS. I didn’t know if I’d be able to last through a whole concert. I mean, how long do concerts last nowadays? That question was the most important question we faced going into planning for this night of fun. Yes, I bought the tickets. In fact, for the first time ever, I bought a seat for the disabled and a companion seat ticket. We decided to use my wheelchair.

The closer we got to the date of the concert, I started getting more and more excited. I asked my younger sister how long concerts last and she thought about 3 hours. So, we thought 2 liquid oxygen portables would be enough. We didn’t want to leave before the end of the concert. Two portables would give me about 4 hours of time safely. Though, when you least expect it, things don’t always go as planned. Do they?

On the day of the concert, I dressed up in my retro dress. It took me a while to figure out what shoes to wear and how to tie the belt around my dress. I’m not a fashionista. At all.. but K kept saying that I looked beautiful. So, how could I NOT wear a dress? How sweet of him!

We finally departed our house and drove to the DeathStar (the new Cowboys stadium) and there was a lot of traffic. I whipped out my handicap placard once we got close to the stadium. I told K to slow down and I rolled down my window. Well, I just pressed a button and it rolled down on it’s own. I stuck my head out the window and waved my handicap placard (like I knew what I was doing!) to a cop directing traffic. Yeah, I’m not shy AT ALL. The policeman walked up to my van and I asked him directions on handicap parking. That’s right. We were going in style! We ended up paying just a little extra (ok.. a bit more than I was comfortable with) to park at the building (a sidewalk away) in the handicap. It was right up there near Valet parking. A parking attendant poked his head in K’s window to scope the inside of our van. I don’t think I need to tell you what they were looking for with what happened in Manchester, UK a few days prior. There were police dogs walking the crowd and police with automatic rifles. Texas is serious with security. No purses allowed unless it was no larger than 5″x8″ in size. I actually took my PH International Conference name ID badge that I got in June 2016. It held my ticket, driver’s license, credit card, insurance card and my cellphone. It was the perfect size!

We got in the building and had no idea where to go. However, we quickly found out that if you are arriving in a wheelchair, not only do you jump through the line to enter the building quicker than anyone else. You get some incredibly friendly help from the Event Staff. It was nothing short of AMAZING! We only had to say we weren’t sure where to go and the Event Staff person we asked not only told us where we needed to be but also, TOOK us there personally. It was awesome! I was all smiles and “Thank YOUs!” I have to say the handicap seating was excellent. We were fairly close and not a single person was in front of us.

U2 concert 2017!

Now the scary part. As K would say, we “GROSSLY” underestimated the amount of oxygen we needed for the concert. I use 6LPM of oxygen 24/7 and my 2 portables would last roughly just over 4 hours. It was already 7pm which was when the concert was scheduled to start. It didn’t start until almost 8pm and it was the Lumineers, not U2. K and I talked about what we would do. I told him that I could turn my oxygen down to 5LPM if I just sit here in my wheelchair but I’d have to turn it back up to use the restroom or if I started feeling bad. He had left me for a little bit to find out about souvenir concert shirts. At least that was part of what he was doing. I didn’t realize he was going down to the police or the Event Agent at the door to see if he could later exit the building to refill my oxygen. He said no. He couldn’t let him back in he building if he left. Well that sucks! Right? So, he next went to the fire department personnel and explained our situation to him. He asked if they had oxygen with them and they said not to worry. If we have problems to bring me straight to them and they would help. Wow! (yes, they had oxygen!)

K came back to his seat without even telling me he had setup a backup plan in case we needed it. He even packed a picnic to leave in the van for after the concert in case we were hungry. We had a lot of fun, with my oxygen turned down to 5LPM, I was able to watch the whole concert from start to finish. We even stayed a little longer to watch some of the breakdown of the stage. That was cool too. It was just after 11:30pm when we finally got back to my van but all was well and we had a great time. Quite a number of the event staff and a police officer asked if we had a good time. I’d like to think this kind of hospitality happens everywhere but being Texan, I’m kinda biased. *hugs* haha!

Waiting for the U2 concert… Lumineers will be first!

Lots of love to y’all!

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Random Picture Day #8

Living On Oxygen for Life

It is so time for another Random Picture Day! What do you all think? I know I’ve been away for a while getting some things done around here but I’m back now. I’m so happy to see you all! *HUGS* This picture was taken at the Gaylord Hotel in Dallas. K and I went with K’s parents to see the ICE! exhibit. And when I say ICE! I mean… brrrrr…. ice! Gracious! They had all these ice sculptures inside within a huge banquet room or rooms. I’m not sure how many rooms it took to hold all these sculptures. There were just so many of them and it was below freezing.

Gaylord Hotel's ICE! exhibit.

Gaylord Hotel’s ICE! exhibit.

As you can see, the hotel provided a heavy coat to us to wear inside the exhibit. I even bundled up wearing layer upon layer of clothing even though the outside’s temperature was really warm for December 2008. So, I was ready to cool down by the time we got to the hotel. I had NO idea how cold it would feel even though I had that blue coat on. I was shivering so hard that I’m surprised that I was able to get any pictures at all from my camera. In fact, it was so cold (9 degrees!) that my camera battery gave out. Apparently, the cold sucks the life out of the batteries. What was difficult for me was that my liquid oxygen was so cold going into my nose. It made me even more cold with all the frigid oxygen entering my lungs. Normally, room temperature would warm the liquid oxygen enough to give me no problems but it was just too cold for that in the exhibit.

Now you all know how much I LOVE ice cream, right? It’s one of my rewards for getting through dreadful doctor appointments. When I saw this ice cream cone, I just had to have my picture taken near it. Mmmm…. ice cream… *drool*

I hope everyone had a wonderful, wonderful Valentine’s Day. It looks like the weather here is on the rise, hitting the 70s now. YEA! No more sleet and no more ice storms… thank you very much. I know most of you feel that you’ve had enough of it too, right? Bring on the beach weather!

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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*