A Long Awaited Update! September/October 2017

Living On Oxygen for Life

Let’s be honest… I’ve missed blogging and I know it’s been since before my birthday (last month) that I’ve posted anything on my blog for you to read. In my defense, the last two months have been incredibly… what’s the word I’m looking for?… trying?…no. Hectic? You could say that. Let’s throw in challenging with a bit of a MacGyver twist and super stressful at times. If you wrap all that up and include my two road trips that I took (one to Oklahoma to see my family & one to South Padre Island for my birthday/25th anniversary), I have to admit, it’s been a pretty awesome adventure.

It all started with my birthday/anniversary vacation that we try to take every year. We both took turns driving down to South Padre Island which took us about 9 hours even while having to stop nearing every two hours (when K was driving) to get out and stretch our legs and walk the dog. Rocco loved sniffing new territory but I hated having to use convenient store or McDonald’s bathrooms. Not just because I never knew what to expect going into one of those things but also because getting in and out of the car and walking to the bathroom now wears me out and makes me short of breath in the worst way. That’s something new.

We made it to Padre and it was overcast but that’s ok because we knew Hurricane Harvey just past by and almost everything was up and running again on the island. Yay for us! Two days after we arrived, a boat washed up on the beach which drew everyone, including the Padre Beach police, to check the boat out. We should have set up a beach chair next to it and charged people for us to take their picture! It took nearly a week for the boat to wash up this far on the beach.

K and I normally go for a nice steak dinner for our anniversary celebration. But who knew that there wasn’t a restaurant on the island, nor close by on the mainland, that sells a good steak? Instead, we had a small party of two at our condo with a gigantic birthday/anniversary cake that K intended to share with the waitstaff had we gone to a restaurant. Thankfully we brought our big ice chest and I had some square foil pans to save the leftover cake to freeze and take home. You better believe that I ate it all once I got home (K had the last piece..darn him!). I LOVE birthday cake!

We really had a lot of fun and took a few goofy pictures. I was even a pirate! Argh! After ten days in Padre, it was time to go home and on the way home, the craziness began. We were north of Austin, Texas when it happened. I was reading and K was driving… thankfully. Our grill from the front of our van broke loose and flew over the hood and smacked our windshield and then continued over the top of the van. It scared us so bad. Thankfully, no one was behind us and we looked but didn’t see it land on the highway. We get home ok and called our mechanic to see what it would cost to get it replaced. $600! Are you kidding me? The thing was made mostly of plastic. K and I had the same idea… look on eBay for the part. K said he could fix it himself and I was, like, “You go Rambo…you get into that MacGyver mode!” Sure enough, it cost us a total of $200 and K attached it with no problems! YAY K!

What K didn’t tell me was that on the way home from Padre was that he was starting to see floaters in his right eye. Then when he went to work, he called his optometrist and they told him to come in RIGHT NOW. He had a detached retina. I was so worried because now he had to have surgery and this was his eyesight!. The first time I went with K to his optometrist, K told me that he had been telling the doctor about me because he has a daughter who has some similar health conditions. Let me tell you that I have no problem that K talked about me. I mean, I blog… so of course I don’t mind. I was really excited about meeting this doctor to learn more if he wanted to talk about it. Naturally, I knew this appointment was about K but I did bring a printed copy of an x-ray showing my scoliosis. This doctor was really neat and very personable. K and I really like him. But what excited me the most was his waiting room. Holy cow… the moment I walked into the building, I was thinking that EVERY waiting room should be like this one. There were crocheted afghans on a blanket rack next to the door and in each waiting area there was a card table with a puzzle to be put together. I immediately zoned in on the puzzle. K knows. I love puzzles and there was an older man sitting there working on the one I noticed. I just blurted out … “Oh yay a puzzle!!!” (I know you’re visualizing that.. aren’t you? haha!) The man heard me and started to get up saying that I could work on it. I told him to please stay and I can work on it with you. I told him that I love puzzles and this reminds me of when I worked on puzzles with my dad. Awww! I know, right? I was so engrossed that I didn’t even hear K’s name called by the nurse. What’s so awesome was that there was ANOTHER puzzle in the waiting room in the back! I was in waiting-room heaven!

K’s surgery went well but I wore myself out having to drive him to appointments and waking up to check to see if he wasn’t sleeping on his back for the first week after surgery. That was stressful but after the first week, he could sleep on his side but NOT on his back. You would think that it wouldn’t be a big deal but people move around while they sleep and K is accustomed to sleeping on his back. So, I had a lot of waking up to do to check on him. With everything that was going on with K, I truly had an eye opening experience about how much he does for me without complaining. He drives me to doctor appointments that are an hour away, he pushes me in a wheelchair when I need it, he takes care of everything in the background when I have migraines, not to mention doing most of the chores and all of the grocery shopping now…and most of this is done without me having to ask. I got a taste of what he does for me when I needed to take care of him for a change. I was definitely humbled and I gained a new appreciation for what he does for me. Not that I never appreciated it but my health is changing faster now, requiring K to do more and I don’t always see what he does for me.

Lots of love to you all! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to follow along! Leave a comment too! Have a great day!!!


Planning a road trip…

Living On Oxygen for Life

One of the most important things people do not tend to think about when planning for a road trip while having lung issues, is the how the path you decide to drive will affect your breathing. When I turned 40 years old (nearly 6 years ago!), I begged my husband to take me to Las Vegas. Nearly everyone I knew has been there and had fun. I just haven’t been there and I wanted to go so badly. So, I made it my Birthday wish. Over the years leading up to my 40th birthday, K would always tell me we couldn’t go because it’s a LONG drive and there would be just us driving. He also didn’t think I would do that well on the road driving through the mountains.

Eventually, I wore K down and he started thinking about going since it would be my big 4-0 birthday and he wanted to make it special. We needed someone to go with us. Not just anyone. We ended up taking my MacGyver-like brother-in-law and my older sister, who just happens to be a Physician’s Associate. I asked all my doctors how they felt about me going to Las Vegas (and then on to California) and they all said the same thing. Stay out of the mountains.

Mountains and any altitude that you are not acclimated to can create a big problem for those of us who have breathing problems. Things like increased shortness of breath, sleepiness, chest pain, head aches, and nauseation are just a few of the things that I experience in altitude that is within the range of 3000 feet or higher. It doesn’t take long for the effects of altitude to effect me. It’s a distinct and highly recognizable feeling and it can not only make you feel miserable, it will make you sick.

So, what did we do? First, let me tell you, you must have a back up emergency plan if you truly decide to go… which I don’t recommend doing without a backup plan and talking with your doctor first. Your life and health are too important to not be overly cautious. I then started charting the route that we took. K and I only drive 10-hour days while on a road trip (and yes we took our road trip mascot.. my rubber chicken!).. so we needed to make sure we stopped in locations that, not only have a lower altitude level, but also a place to refill my oxygen if it is time to refill my liquid oxygen reservoir. Wouldn’t want to run out of oxygen while on the road, right? That would be bad as I started using a tad bit more of oxygen while in the car.

Since I live in Fort Worth, Texas, I had to pick a route that skirted most of the mountains and stayed within the lower altitude range. I live in an area that is at around 700 feet above sea level. So, I was guessing that my maximum tolerable altitude would be 3000 feet. Yes I would still have trouble but I would be able to go since my sister was going with us to keep an eye on me. Yes, she’s an awesome sister. I only wished that my little sister could’ve gone too.

I bet you are wondering how I planned the route. First, there’s an app for that but most importantly, there is a really great altitude website that lets you click on any given area and it will tell you the altitude. You can use this map for locations anywhere around the world. Using this, I was able to figure out which highways to use to make my roaodtrip the safest route possible. It wasn’t fool-proof. I still had serious headaches and I was really tired. However, I had the foresight to have purchase a wheel chair through Amazon.com and I took my pulse oximeter to monitor my oxygen saturation.

I hope this helps you plan your road trips. I posted this information in hopes that you remain healthy while on vacation and have all the fun you deserve.

Random Picture Day #5

I was waiting for K to setup the camera timer and it took my picture too early. Hence, no smile!

I was waiting for K to setup the camera timer and it took my picture too early. Hence, no smile!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Today I am posting two pictures for you since they come from the same time period and location. As a surprise, I arranged a little vacation getaway for K and my anniversary and my birthday (which happens to be on the same day!). As a child, I liked going camping. K, as a child, did not like to go camping. However, I decided I’d risk it because the place that I selected had a beautiful cabin with an AWESOME hot tub out back. How can you turn down a hot tub??

So, I got everything arranged secretly… He had no idea where we were going. K got the right days off from work and we piled all my stuff in the van. You know.. oxygen, bipap, extra tubing, clothes, food, K’s knives, more food and our rubber chicken (at that time it was Poke Jr.) This all happened in 2005 which is the year before I started Tracleer. I had more energy back then. It was so quiet and no one bothered us. We just showed up and unloaded. There was a pit for a fire and lots of trees. I have to admit.. I was a little worried about snakes! The weather was perfect.

We did have an adventure though. We went off to find a store for something we forgot. I don’t remember what that was but as we got lost, we found a casino! Woohooo! Did we stop in? Of course we did! I even got $10 in credit because we went on my birthday! It was great!!! haha! I even won some money. What a birthday, huh?

We also went out to search for Turner Falls. It’s located really close to where we stayed. It was really beautiful with the waterfall cascading over the rocks. Look at that old fashion cellphone! haha! Even though K isn’t too keen on camping, we had a really good time. Love does that for you. I hope you enjoy looking at photos of my life. Don’t forget to FOLLOW my blog so you can see more of what’s to come!

Turner Falls, OK

Turner Falls, OK

I’m home from New Orleans!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Life is good! You like my festive Christmas background? Well, I’m home from my little road trip to celebrate my husband’s birthday. He chose what he wanted to do which totally surprised me. He considers his birthday as just another day. That is so wrong! Am I right or what? Every birthday is very important! Maybe it’s a guy thing. What do you think?

Well, K chose to return to New Orleans because we kinda fell in love with the place. It’s filled with rich culture and so much history that we couldn’t possibly absorb it all on our previous stop over trips on our way to Destin, Florida last September. This time we visited different locations within the French Quarter and also took a VIP City Bus Tour. The tour alone taught us so much, especially about New Orleans burial process (very interesting!), the effects of the Katrina Hurricane, and some of the history behind the St. Louis Cathedral. So a shout out to Henry our tour guide!! Thanks mister!

It was really humid in New Orleans and I was plagued with shortness of breath and some serious killer headaches periodically. I was wheeled around in my handy-dandy wheelchair. We didn’t get a chance to brave riding the street cars this time but I really want to try it. That is, if we can figure out the schedules of those darn things! Below are four pictures of our vacation.

St. Louis Cathedral

There were candles in the entrance of the St. Louis Cathedral and close to the alter. So, K took my picture there.

Jackson Square

This was taken from within the Jackson Square which was named after the President Andrew Jackson. In the background you can see the St. Louis Cathedral.

Trees in a Park

I love photography but I hate it when I’m tired because I don’t concentrate enough to get the best picture of something so beautiful. This was in a park located near the St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 which we visited while on our VIP City Bus Tour. I got lots of pictures while in there but I didn’t know if you wanted to see those!


Ok, I couldn’t help taking a picture of this guy. The famous Zoltar! He’s like the one from the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks. Who doesn’t like that movie??

On another note, it’s been very, very cold here in Texas. I’m talking below freezing and now K is stuck at his Mom’s house *snicker* because it rained freezing rain and sleet. It’s a mess here. Rocco is missing his daddy something fierce. The poor little guy. Yes, yes, I miss him too but at least I get to talk and text to him. My cat Mary was crying for him this morning around 5am which is when K normally wakes up for work. The poor girl. She’s so loyal. Thankfully, the power has not failed here but K’s mom’s house has been without electricity for a whole day. Man, I am so darn lucky. *Knock on Wood* and *praying to the good Lord above!*

Everyone stay warm! Be well. I’m about to grab this great book I’m reading and dive back into it. I first read Everneath and now I’m reading Everbound. I can’t wait to read the 3rd book! I download ebooks and audiobooks from my local library straight to my cellphone because I read so much that I couldn’t afford it otherwise! Books are expensive! haha! Have a great day!