A little thing about shopping carts.

Living On Oxygen for Life

A tragic accident happened yesterday. *sniff* *gulp* I was hot-footing after K in Lowe’s last night, reminding him to please slow down. You see, even after all this time together with each other, he will sometimes forget that I’m slower than he is. “What?!?” You ask. I know, I know. I’m stunned by that revelation myself but it’s true.

K “needed” more garden supplies. I swear for a man who originally didn’t want a yard when we were house shopping years ago, he sure has taken up gardening as if it’s a lifeline. Honestly, it can be and has been. Even though it’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of joy and even a bit of escapism to it. He’s made our yard it our little project that is never finished and that’s ok because we love every change we bring to it each year.

Now, back to Lowe’s. Right. Where was I? Ok I remember. “Slow down,” and he turns around to look back at me while turning the cart filled with bags of dirt. “K, I’m not made for this speed anymore.” I smiled at him and that’s when my life goes into slow motion. I see K about to say something and then I caught something flying out of the corner of my eye.

Have you ever experienced something happening that you knew wasn’t right but you weren’t in the position to stop it from happening? Well, that was K and I. I was too far away and K was still looking at me when the dirt shifted in the cart that he was still pushing around a corner. There wasn’t a darn thing we could do. My portable liquid oxygen tank got squeezed out of the cart’s seat and flew out and smacked the concrete floor. The plastic casing came wide open and top was tilted out way wrong. Oh crude buckets! I gently picked it up, trying to squeeze it back together, when my mind was wondering if these things blowup. Apparently not this time. However, K’s first thought was, “Is it still flowing oxygen?” Isn’t he so sweet???

Miraculously, the darn thing was still working but I asked him what her would do if it didn’t. He said, “We’d figure it out. We always do.” What a guy, right? It wasn’t until we got back to home that we tossed around some ideas of what to do in that scenario. It’s always good to have a plan in place for such things because I can not be without oxygen for very long before I start to suffer badly and that’s if I’m just sitting somewhere without talking or moving to conserve my body’s oxygen supply.

When we got home we discussed what we could have done if my portable had stopped working. I’m a little nervous to tell my oxygen provider that my portable is broken. But hey, these things happen, right? A lesson has been learned here for us. We will never forget to strap in my portable tank using the child safety belt in the shopping cart. I mean, we took the time to connect it through my purse strap but didn’t do it this time for my portable.

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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

We are a strange couple…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Sorry! I started writing this on November 8th and I’m just now finishing it up for y’all. Enjoy!

Yesterday was amazing! I got up early. No, I am talking EARLY, like, before the worms wake up to be eaten by the birds kind of early. K and I are complete opposites. He calls us ying and yang. We are opposites but we fit together in a weird way. He’s OCD and I’m ADD which can cause some problems if you can well imagine but we have this special quirkiness that makes us work.

You see, the day before yesterday (Thursday), I had to take K to his eye exam where he had his eyes dilated so he needed a ride home. I spent the time (boring time) waiting in the lobby of the optometrist wondering just how long it takes to do an eye exam. That’s when a little boy walks over to me and ask what was in my nose (referring to my tubing). I told him simply that I have this tubing that gives me oxygen from this tank. It helps me breathe better. I then, of course, complimented him on getting some Superman stickers on his shirt. Later, I overheard one of the receptionist talking about her son having respiratory problems. She didn’t get her son a flu shot last year and she was planning on getting him one this year and the pertussis vaccine. She was telling the other receptionist that her son can get a simple sore throat and then overnight she’s having to take him into the emergency room with something so much worse. I told her that I was the same way especially as a child. (I know… I butted in and it’s probably a rude thing to do.) I have to catch a sore throat early to prevent getting worse since I also have respiratory problems. We talked about 20 minutes and then K came out ready to check out. That’s when we saw one other receptionist’s nifty watch which we oooh’d and ahhh’d over. The optometrist told him that he needed progressive bifocals. He feels old now. Poor guy.

Anyway, before I get way off subject, let me steer back to what I’m trying to tell you. Ok, let me regroup my thoughts for a second…. Oh yes! I woke up early on Friday, took K to work because his car was left at his mom’s house and I needed my van to go get my monthly labs done. Oh the joys of taking Tracleer. Just before he got out of the van at work, he said, Chris (that’s what he calls me), let’s have a great day. And I was like…. Okaaaay… In my mind, I was thinking of all the things I had to do that day but then he did something fun. He raised his fist and told me to fist bump to seal the deal but I went one step further… haha! It makes me laugh just thinking about it. I said we have to “Wonder Twin activate or it won’t count with the explosion sound and fingers spread out afterwards. You know what? He did it and that made the beginning of my day SO awesome!

I drove all the way to get my labs done and found out that my standing orders were NOT in their system. They were NOT faxed according to their computer. I had emailed my nurse just 2 days prior to confirm that they were faxed and she said yes they were and that I didn’t need to take the paper orders in. Just go get my labs done. Big, big mistake. Next time I will take my paper orders. Phone calls had to be made from the lab and I ended up sitting around there for over an hour. However, I rewarded myself with a Egg McMuffin and a hash brown from McDonalds and all was much better afterwards. I went home watched a Netflix movie, ate lunch and took a power nap because I still had to go pick K up from work. By the time I was ready to go at 2:30 o’clock, K texted me saying start heading his way and, of course, there was a major traffic jam. Typical! Once I got through the traffic, I burned rubber down the highway, but safely! I arrived right on time! Wheww! Then, he informed me that the place we were ordering his glasses was located in the mall. UGH! The mall???? I really wanted to stomp my foot but remembered that were suppose to have a Wonder Twin power good day. So, I put on my happy face and said, “Love to! Let’s go!”

K was pretty sure the Lens Crafters store was located near Dillard’s. So, that’s where we parked my van. We decided to not use my wheelchair because, hey, the store is just right there, right? Oh heck no. We breeze through Dillard’s to only find out from the directory that the store is on the other side of the freaking mall. I told him that I could do this but we may have to stop here and there. As we’re walking through the mall, we were looking in each store and I pointing out the boots and outfits I like or thought would look good on me. I’m not a shopper. I don’t like buying clothes for myself until I’m in clothes buying mood which is not very often and then on top of that, I’m pretty frugal. K hates that. hehe! We were walking and walking and walking… *sigh* I would stop to look at the clothes in the window of a stop to give myself a break from walking. I get short of breath while walking the mall. I was saying in my head that this outfit looks good and that one over there was awesome but then we get to a store that made us both ask each other if we were getting old… I mean, what were those designers thinking or smoking? Ugh!

Finally, we get to Lens Crafters and it took forever for K to pick some frames. We sit down with a sweet young lady and we got to talking. I don’t know what it is about us that brings out the fun side of people but this woman was telling us that she just adopted a stray kitten that she named Ms. Tickles who happens to be a boy kitty. The poor thing is going to grow up having some sort of complex. We had a good laugh in that store. That is until the sticker shock freaked me out. Yikes! We took so long in the store that I darn near ran out of oxygen in my portable but I made it back to the van. It would have taken K longer to go get the van and drive it around the mall to pick me up than for me to just walk back.

It was a good day but busy. Home Depot was our next stop and I think we scared a woman at first because we were in the “self checkout” lane because nothing else was open. Typical! Anyway, there was a security camera screen right there where you scan your purchases. I pointed it out to K and I was waving and smiling at it like a looney person, I’m sure! That’s when K stepped behind me and strangled me like Homer does with Bart Simpson. I was playing it up good too. I should’ve gotten an Oscar! It was so funny. Well, until we realized we had an audience. The poor lady. I looked at her laughing and then pointed at her saying, “Witness! I have a witness!” Of course, she realized that we were playing and so she told us that she didn’t see a thing. haha! We are a strange couple. I mean, K lets me stand on the end of the shopping cart to push me around the store so I won’t get overly tired. The only thing that could have been better was if my portable wouldn’t have frozen up when K refilled it from the reservoir that I keep in my van just before we went to eat dinner. Life sure is crazy. Isn’t it?

Little successes…

Living On Oxygen for Life

In February or so, my older sister came to visit us. She brought with her an order form for her daughter’s fundraiser project and being the awesome aunt that I am, I ordered a few things. haha! One of the things I bought is a hanging strawberry planter and today I finally opened the package and planted the little strawberry plants. It was a little more difficult for me to do than I thought it would be. I had to get my portable oxygen on and walk out to the barn (which is really a small shed). I didn’t have enough dirt…errr planting soil in the garage from my last gardening adventure. So, out I went with everything I needed in my hands. I had my oxygen and strawberry planter (careful not to spill what dirt I had already put in the bag) in my hands approaching the barn.

Going in the barn isn’t something that I usually do because my 50ft tubing is only long enough to get the barn doors stretching from my tanks inside to the barn. I don’t have enough slack to actually go inside the barn which is ok with me because I normally don’t do any of the yard work. But, today, I needed in that barn for dirt. With my portable oxygen tank on, I carefully set everything down on the ground because the first time I attempted to open the door, it was stuck. (Yes, we need to replace the barn… It’s so old!) I’m tugging and tugging and lifting and tugging when suddenly the stupid door opens. I was so happy that I got the door open that I walked right into the barn forgetting one important thing. My portable. I walked off forgetting the oxygen (common thing for me) and it tipped over. Ugh! I picked it up and brought it in the barn and set it down on the floor AGAIN. I lifted the dirt and the darn thing is so heavy! Not only did I have to lift and carry it out of the barn, I had to carry my oxygen out of the barn too. I also needed a little scoop thingy. Where are you now McGyver???

I hitched my tank strap on my shoulder and hefted the bag of dirt out of the barn. Then I returned for the scoop after I set the tank somewhere halfway between my work area outside the barn and inside the barn. Now, I’m good to go. I shoveled in little scoops of dirt and I’m on my way to growing strawberries! The bag is filled and I successfully got everything put away, struggling to get that stupid barn door closed. I got the little strawberry plants inside and it’s time to switch back over to my inside oxygen supply. I turned on the 2 liquid oxygen tanks and put away my portable and then walked off towards the kitchen, forgetting that I didn’t even put my oxygen back on. What am I doing!!! Don’t worry… I put my oxygen right on. I have a lot on my mind and I’m really forgetful. I planted the strawberry plants in the little holes provided in the bag-type planter then I took them outside to water them. That part was tricky because it had to be laid flat (for a few days until the strawberries take root according to the directions). Yes, I’m a direction reader… K is not. haha! I’m finally done with my project for the day and I’m really excited because I accomplished something that I thought I would need K’s help with. Three cheers for me!

Being on oxygen makes doing some things a little harder but I try to find other ways (maybe a little stranger ways) to do them so that I can feel good inside… You know… Happy! I don’t know if I’m doing any of this strawberry stuff right but at least it got me out of bed, off the couch and out the door. That’s what matters… being active doing things that make you happy. For the rest of the day I plan to work on my crochet project that I’m doing for a friend and then I have to vacuum the family room because we are having company later today. I’m sure I’ll find other things to do today around the house. The crocheting helps me wind down and rest enough to battle to vacuum cleaner.

I hope everyone is doing well.

Shout out to Michelle: I’m SOOOOO glad that you are doing better now and are out of the hospital. *HUGS*

strawberries

There’s always HOPE…

Living On Oxygen for Life

photo 2-2

I ordered a very special necklace and received it this week! I am so thrilled with it. Ruthie, the designer of Josephine’s Jewelry has made this Awareness necklace for me. It brings awareness for more than Pulmonary Hypertension. It brings awareness to HOPE itself.

In my email to Ruthie, I said: “You know, there’s only one thing stronger, more powerful than fear and that’s HOPE. So, when I look at my new necklace and see the Hope charm, it reminds me to always have hope for better days with my Pulmonary Hypertension among many other things.”

Because of Ruthie, her generosity and desire to further the Awareness of Pulmonary Hypertension, I have a necklace just like this one to give away to one of my readers. This giveaway will start APRIL 1st, 2014 (and no, this isn’t an April Fools joke!). It will be open to everyone who has a mailing address who is willing to email me their information of name, location, and tell me about the one thing that gives YOU hope the most. Ruth has made the necklace with purple beads for Pulmonary Hypertension. However, she does custom colors for other types of Awarenesses. Just click on the link to see her webstore.

For this giveaway, you DO NOT have to have Pulmonary Hypertension to enter. If you’d like to give the necklace to a girlfriend, daughter, or mother who needs a boost of inspiration and HOPE, enter your information by emailing me at goredrider@gmail.com … Just remember the people who do have PH when you wear it! Let’s all push for a cure! Please follow my blog!

To Ruthie: I am so happy with my necklace and it brings me such joy when I see it in the mirror or reach up and feel it around my neck. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind generosity of offering this wonderful necklace so that we may spread the Awareness of such a silent, incurable disease as Pulmonary Hypertension. Hang tight… there will be a day when a cure comes!