What a busy week!

Living On O2 for Life

Just before New Year’s Day, I get a text from my younger sister. What a great surprise that she’s close by and had asked to meet us for lunch! AWESOME! Before we left, I baked her favorite cookies to take with us. Here’s my special recipe for the cookies! And you’re welcome! haha!

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups of sugar
1/2 stick of butter
3/4 cup of peanut butter (i use smooth.. the original recipe has less PB)
1/2 cup of milk (I’ve used 4 oz. of evaporated milk before when I was out of milk)
1/3 cup cocoa
3 cups of quick oatmeal
1 tsp of vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, stirring constantly, combine sugar, butter, cocoa and milk on MEDIUM heat. Bring to just before it bubbles and then add peanut butter. Heat to a slow boil, stirring constantly, and then boil for about 1 minute or 1 1/2 minutes. Take off heat and quickly add vanilla and then oatmeal.

Stir oatmeal in until all is well coated and then spoon out cookie sized shapes onto waxed paper lined newspaper. Let them cool and when they are hard, store in ziplock or tupperware.

After meeting and having lunch with my younger sister, we drove home and I had a smile on my face the whole way. I had a great time. Though, where we met them for lunch was in a casino. Do you realize that nearly everything except a casino will close on New Year’s Day??? I had a little trouble finding a restaurant to meet them at for lunch. Crazy, I KNOW!!

The weekend was coming up quickly, after New Year’s Day, and my older sister and her family were due to arrive at our house for a stay. How lucky can a girl get to be able to see both sisters in such a short period of time? I know… really lucky! K helped a lot with the cleaning of the tub, the vacuuming and a few various other chores that wear me out. We also had to go grocery shopping before they came. So, rushing through Walmart the Friday night they were to arrive was an adventure. Somehow we found a place for everything we bought. We have very little kitchen cabinet space and K is BIG on rotating the food as we store it. It’s a good practice to have and it keeps everything organized.

It was a weekend filled with Bubble Guppies, Yo Gabba Gabba, and a multitude of tea parties. How do parents handle kid TV programming? I have to say that I now have a greater appreciation for CNN. When my family left to go home, K and I crashed for a 4 hour nap and still didn’t want to get up Sunday night. Though, I had to get up to take my diuretic but lounged around in bed thirty minutes longer than K did. When I finally got my butt out of bed and after taking that dreaded diuretic, I walked down the hall and abruptly stopped as I heard K say to me, “I just want to warn you… I think I’m coming down with something like a cold. So don’t keep asking me if I’m sick.” I’m like, “Oooh crap!” I felt really deflated and worried because he sounded like he was getting sick. Now that it’s Monday and that he’s not feeling better, I’m on high alert. We take him getting sick very seriously. Germs spread. I’ll be pulling out the lysol wipes to clean all the door knobs and whatever else K has touched. I would have done that today but I had a migraine all day. I think I over did it this weekend.. but I sure had fun!

I know I’ve been slow this last week on keeping in contact with those of you who have emailed me. I do apologize for that and I aim to do better. This last month has been extraordinarily busy. I did finally get my bipap replacement parts but they didn’t send me the tube that I use to connect my oxygen to the bipap hose and mask. That’s a very vital part! So, now I’ll have to call them. How can they screw that up? Sometimes, I feel like I have to hold their hand through the whole process of reordering my replacement equipment. My bipap is supplied through a different DME than my oxygen which makes everything such a hairy ordeal to keep organized. I just wish I was a bit better at being organized. It definitely does NOT come natural for me. haha!

Hope everyone is having a great week. Stay warm and well. Don’t forget to FOLLOW my blog!

How I clean my bipap mask…

Living On O2 for Life

So you use a bipap and you want to clean your bipap or you just want to see how someone else cleans their mask. You’re in luck! I finally took some pictures for you. First, let me introduce you to my bipap mask.
bipap mask with tubes and head gear
Here you can see my bipap mask with the head gear attached at the top by slot openings and at the base of the mask by little pegs-n-grooves (my name for this closure type!).

Cleaning the Bipap Mask: I first take apart the connected tubes and head gear. I inspect each part for wear and tear which is very important. You don’t want to end up having the mask break in the middle of the night. Trust me.. this has happened to me several times. Some of the weakest parts on a Bipap mask, that I’ve noticed over the years, are the top forehead bridge section – where it’s adjustable and the places where you connect the bottom portion of the mask to the head gear.

bipap swivel tube

Here is a swivel tube that I connect to the end of the Bipap tubes. It allows the mask and the big hose, coming off the Bipap machine, to swivel. Allowing more freedom to move your head without having to adjust the hose at night.

bipap oxygen port tube

This is the tube used as the oxygen port for my Bipap mask. The arm on it is where I attach my oxygen tubing and it also swivels around for convenience of movement.

I clean all these pieces of my Bipap in mild liquid dishwashing soap. I don’t use antibacterial soap. I fear that the chemicals used in these soaps could harden the silicone in the mask making it weaker and fall apart. Remember, most insurance will pay for replacement masks & tubing every SIX months. but you have to call to request them from the DME company that services your Bipap.

wash bipap mask

When I wash my Bipap mask, I use just my hands in warm sudsy water in a small basin (NOT MY SINK!). I gently bend down the inner soft blue silicon cushion and rub my finger tip down the inside between the thin outer membrane of the mask and the gel cushion. Don’t push or use fingernails to scratch anything. You don’t want to tear any part of the silicone gel cushion. When I’m done cleaning the mask and tubes, I rinse each piece in cold water. Make sure all soap is rinsed off. Use a paper towel to dry off each part. The mask is the hardest to dry. I have to bend the blue gel cushion down gently and slide the paper towel in the space to absorb most of the moisture. You won’t be able to get it all. Today, I used my hair dryer on COLD air and on the LOWEST setting to dry the inside of the mask. Make sure, if you try this, that the air from the hair dryer remains cold. You can also let it air dry. For me, I tend to need my mask for naps. So, air drying is ok but it is time consuming. Thus, the reason for the hair dryer. It’s really important to get the Bipap mask dry. You don’t want to have mold or mildew growing somewhere where you breathe from.

To disinfect the bipap mask: Soak the mask in a solution of one part white distilled vinegar to four parts water for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse in cold water and then dry with paper towel and then air dry. I do this every so often.

I know this is bad of me to admit this but I don’t clean my mask as often as the guidelines suggest (once daily). I’m not neurotic about cleaning my mask. If I see that it not clean, then I wash it. My best advice is to keep your mask and Bipap machine clean and in good working order. Keep everything dust-free and off the floor. Check your filters often so you know when to replace the paper filter and wash the sponge filter. Keep yourself healthy!

Sleeping with a Bipap Machine

Living On O2 for Life

Bipap Machine

This is a machine that pretty much saved my life! I can no longer sleep without it. It’s called a Bipap machine. I wear the mask over my whole nose and the machine forces room air mixed with oxygen into my lungs and then only allows me to exhale a small amount. This keeps my lungs filled with air at all times. I started using this machine in 1993. The models of this machine has greatly improved over the years. Mine has a small memory card that when the doctor pulls it out (It looks like a credit card), he can use his computer to read how much I actually use the machine. Last week, the doctor looked at the card and it showed that I use my bipap on average of 12 hours a day. Granted, some days I use less and some days I use more due to not feeling well. This is a pretty neat machine. On the front of this machine is a water reservoir that acts as a humidifier. The water is warmed (if you want to turn on the heater) by the plate that the machine sits on. This comes in handy during the winter time when the air is cold. It will warm up the air that flows through the humidifier before you inhale. That really helped when I had bronchitis last September.

When I first started using the bipap, my husband had a hard time looking at me. He was a little scared because this was yet another step in my health declining. The mask wasn’t a very sexy thing to wear to bed.. I must admit. But, it gave me back my energy during the daytime. I could sleep at night without feeling like I was falling into a deep dark hole and not able to wake up. Before using this machine, I would nearly stop breathing and my CO2 went sky high. My breathing was so shallow that sleeping with just my oxygen on wasn’t enough anymore. I had to use the bipap.

It was really hard to get use to the force of air going through my nose. At times, it would blow out my sinuses and make me extremely miserable. Other times, I have trouble with stuffed up nose when I lie down to sleep.