When I have a surprise burst of energy…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Happy November everyone! I’ve been busy the past week. For the last 3 days I’ve had a burst of energy. I took advantage of it and did some cooking everyday. I started the first day with my trusty crockpot and cooked 2 whole chickens at once! The peeling & chopping of carrots, garlic cloves, & celery took a while but it was the chicken pickin time that took the longest and wore me out. I saved the broth and cut up the rest of my carrots and celery and put those in the fridge for later.

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The next day, I decided to make a Canadian Bacon and Swiss quiche that my older sister had made for us when K had his eye surgery and she came down to help me. She told me she used the Betty Crocker recipe for Quiche Lorraine but used Canadian Bacon instead. I tweaked that recipe by using 5 eggs and only 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Plus I used dehydrated onion flakes. My stomach handles the dehydrated onions better than the fresh onions sautéed. Don’t use pre-shredded Swiss cheese. Get an 8 oz block of Swiss and shred nearly half of it. Prepackaged shredded cheese has an additive in it to keep the cheese from sticking together. The quiche was awesome. I believe the secret ingredient is the 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper.

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The next day I made homemade chicken noodle soup with the chicken stock from my crockpot. I skimmed off the solid fat from the top of the jellied stock and used about 2 T of it to sauté the carrots and celery that I had already chopped up. I then heated back up the stock to a liquid state in the microwave to strain through a fine mesh strainer. I used the stock plus a 32 oz carton of Swanson’s chicken stock and one can of Swanson’s chicken broth. No water added! It really turned out excellent with egg noodles (thrown in during the last 10 minutes of boiling), salt, pepper, cumin, & thyme.

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Today I was hoping to make something easy I have a recipe from a friend that uses a carrot cake mix and one can of pure pumpkin to make muffins. Sounds yummy! But I feel extra tired today. Boo… I’ve been on such a roll!

I’m freezing half the chicken noodle soup in 2 separate serving sized containers and I already froze the crockpot chicken in 2- 10.3 ounce packages for later when I feel the urge to cook.

I’m starting to think of cooking as what can I make for tonight’s dinner that I can make extra to freeze for the days I’m not up to cooking. Meatloaf is handy, chicken enchiladas or just the meat mixture prepared and froze that can be used for tacos or burritos. Beef tips and gravy freezes well too (see below) and K loves it with rice that we make the night we eat it. On the days that I know we have leftovers to eat for dinner, I’ll sometimes prep a meatloaf to freeze before baking and that way it saves me time and energy when I just don’t have a lot of on bad breathing days.

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So, maybe later I’ll get up from my nap and make those muffins which will be baked in my mini muffin pan OR I’ll make Rice Krispie treats. Either way… yum!

Remember… November is PULMONARY HYPERTENSION AWARENESS MONTH. So, Be Aware for those of us who have PH that we are RARE! For more information about Pulmonary Hypertension go to Pulmonary Hypertension Association Organization

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What’s an Oxygen Concentrator??

Living On Oxygen for Life

I am about to explain the basics of an oxygen concentrator for all of you who are confused about this machine. (click on the pictures to see a bigger view) First, let me mention that there are different types of machines or forms of oxygen. There is an oxygen concentrator (what I’m about to show you), there is compressed oxygen that comes in a metal cylinder, liquid oxygen which is pressurized and contained in a metal reservoir, and then there are battery powered oxygen concentrators which are mainly used for portable use. I hope with this list, I didn’t confuse you.

In the pictures below is a Respironics Oxygen Concentrator. It provides up to 5 Liters per Minute of oxygen to a patient. You can see that I do not use a white humidifier bottle with this machine. A humidifier bottle contains distilled water which the oxygen flows through a little tube and bubbles up through the water which hydrates the oxygen that you receive. However, I connect my oxygen tubing straight to the machine. It’s recommended to use the humidifier when using oxygen at a higher flow, such as what I do (6LPM).

An oxygen concentrator is an electrical machine that plugs into a electrical wall outlet. When you turn on the machine, it intakes room air through a filtered vent. It filters the room air through it’s sieve beds, separating everything from the oxygen; which is then flowed out to you through the oxygen tubing connected to the machine. All the other “air” is expelled through another vent usually located at the bottom of the machine. You can feel it. It’s the warm air coming out of the machine.

Respironics Oxygen Concentrator

Respironics Oxygen Concentrator

It’s VERY important to NOT block the vent that expels the air from the vent. The Oxygen Concentrator should be located in a central area of your home allowing you to reach everywhere you want to go. Also, do NOT enclose the machine in a small room like a bathroom or a bedroom. This machine needs air and ventilation to keep it cool and functioning properly.

The next important thing about an oxygen concentrator is about keeping the vents and filters (some have just one that needs to be changed) clean. As you can see from the pictures below, my vents are gross. But don’t worry, I cleaned them with a dry cotton sock. (The sock went straight into the washing machine!) You can change the filter if you know what you’re doing or have been taught by the DME (Durable Medical Equipment) company who provided the machine for your use. Some oxygen concentrators need to have their filters changed more often than others. Some older machines have more than one filter to change. My one filter is located behind the little panel in the upper right corner in the picture below. It’s REALLY important that you contact your DME company and ask them to come out and change the filter of your machine if you haven’t had it done within 6 months. Ask them how often it needs to be done on your particular machine.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT try to open your machine or try to fix it if it is having problems. Call your DME immediately.

Very dirty vents! Eww!!

Very dirty vents! Eww!!

Oxygen Tube Splitter

Oxygen Tube Splitter


As you may have noticed, my oxygen concentrator is sitting beside my liquid oxygen reservoirs. I use both the concentrator and liquid oxygen at the same time with a very handy device called a splitter. The splitter in the picture is made of brass but I also have an emergency backup splitter made from plastic. Remember, I always have a backup. When a person has to use oxygen 24/7 as I do and many of you do too, it is so important to have back ups of things like 50ft tubing, the nasal canula for your portable, tubing connectors, bipap supplies (mask, hose, head gear, filters, & memory card). You don’t want to be caught on a weekend or a vacation when something breaks and you need another part. Been there, done that… but no more! Hey, don’t forget that duct tape! Trust me… you’ll thank me later. haha!

I hope I’ve explained the basics of an oxygen concentrator in an easy-to-understand way. As always, you can email me at goredrider@gmail.com *hugs* I hope you are making your HAPPY JARS for 2015! Read about it here.

Do I need to worry about this?

Living On Oxygen for Life

Every month I have lab work done because I take a medication called Tracleer for a disease I was born with, Pulmonary Hypertension. These two tests listed below help my doctors monitor how I’m tolerating the medication, especially my liver.

  • CBC with Differential
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

And every 3 months, I have a different blood test that monitors my thyroid.

  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

Well,  I had my lab work done yesterday and I already have the results. Which in itself is pretty amazingly fast! Though, I was worried about the TSH results I read. It’s 5.05 which is higher than normal. So, the nurse contacted me to say that the doctor wants me to repeat this test again next time I get my labs done. Then I was thinking back to my last annual physical I had where my Primary Physician also ordered a TSH test (back in Spring of 2012). I vaguely remember those TSH results were a little high too. So, should I worry about this?

If I start worrying about this, I’m just wasting valuable mental energy because I know I can not possible do anything to physically change the results. I’m just going to have to wait until next month when the new TSH results come back from the lab. I still haven’t heard back from the insurance company about taking Tyvaso. Is it suppose to take this long to get approved? Good grief… can I find anything else to worry about?? *grin*

In other news.. something more cheery.. I’ve applied to volunteer my sewing and crocheting abilities for a Children’s Hospital. I’ve always wanted to volunteer but it’s pretty hard to find volunteer positions for people on oxygen. I especially want to do this volunteering for children. I once received a small pillow sewn by a ladies church group while I was in the hospital at the age of 13 years old. That little pillow has remained with me throughout my life. It’s amazing how something like a little pillow or blanket could add happiness to a child in the hospital.

You can find me on Facebook at: LivingOnO2forLife