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

Learn about your oxygen concentrator filter

Living On Oxygen for Life

Good morning everyone! Whoops it already noon but it feels like morning to me because I woke up for the day about 30 minutes ago. I was so absorbed in a good book that I didn’t realize that it was already 3:30am when I looked at the time. I even had to struggle to put the book down. It was so good!

This blog entry will be short… Sorry.. Sorry! I know you love my long.. really long blog posts but at least this one has a video! YAY! In this video, on Youtube.com, I talk and show you an oxygen concentrator filter. Bare in mind that my filter may not be exactly like the one that is inside of your concentrator. But that’s ok.. they work the same way. You can watch it and then tell me what you think. Ok?

 

I hope everyone is doing well today. Don’t forget to stay active by finding something exciting and new to try. Like a hobby! I’m about to go outside to look at my elevated raised garden to see how much my veggies have grown already. I have pictures and I can’t wait to show you in my next post.

[April 2015]

New video!!!

Living On Oxygen for Life

For those of you who do not use Facebook, you probably do not know that I just completed and uploaded a video. I’ve been receiving a lot of searches concerning the use of a Bipap machine. I’d like to do a series of videos to answer the questions that I can about the Bipap. If you’ve seen any of my videos, you know it’s hard for me to remember everything I want to say. So with that in mind, have fun watching my video which is almost 8 minutes long. I know! Nearly eight WHOLE minutes of fun-filled excitement! What are you waiting for??? *wink*

Want to know more? Let me know in a comment.

[2015] ** I’ve noticed that my blog doesn’t show the YEAR of each post. That’s why I’m placing the year now at the bottom of the posts. You know… in case you were wondering. haha! I hope you are having sunshine where you are! *love and hugs* to you all. Be well!

Pro or New to Oxygen? Read this…Maybe you didn’t know this.

Living On Oxygen for Life

There are many of you who are new to using oxygen but also those of us who are practically pros at oxygen use. But there is a topic that is important to talk about that even some pros don’t realize at how important it is. I may be saying things that you already know but bare with me. I’ve had a few people who have asked about this topic who just didn’t know that they should be doing this. Ok ok.. I will just jump right in and not prolong this mysterious topic.

If you are reading this blog you either were prescribed to use oxygen, whether it’s 24/7 or just during exertion or with activity, OR, you have a relative who uses oxygen in this way. Ok… I know you are probably thinking.. “Get on with it.. spit it out already!” Whew! I’m getting there.

What I’m leading up to is this: No matter how you were prescribed to use oxygen (24/7 or as needed for activity), taking a shower in my opinion is considered an activity AND in my personal opinion you should use your oxygen while you shower. Think about it. Do you get light headed if you are taking a shower and not using your oxygen? Feeling a little tired and/or woozy? Maybe you feel a bit like you may faint or pass out? Are you feeling like washing your hair is wearing you out? It’s humid in the shower. What would you do if you actually fainted in the tub alone all because you didn’t use your oxygen?

Whatever type of oxygen machine or tank you use, you can still leave your machine or tank in one room and use a 50 foot tubing to run all the way to the bathroom. The tubing can get wet..even submerged. I gather up enough slack in the tubing and drape it over the side of the tub and it lays on the bottom of the tub while I shower. When I’m done, I use a towel to dry it off. It’s that simple. By using oxygen while you shower, you aren’t taxing your heart as you would if you didn’t use it while you showered. After all, it’s all about staying safe and healthy. So be safe.

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Love to you all!

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.

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*

    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!

    My experience with the Bipap machine…

    Bipap

    Living On O2 for Life

    If you use a bipap machine, like I do, this post is for you. I’ve been using a bipap machine since 1993 which is a pretty long time. All sorts of sleep studies had to be done to get qualified for a bipap machine from my medical insurance. Then came the difficulty of getting use to wearing it and breathing with it on. My poor sinuses went through a tough time for a while. Then the whole issue of getting over the thoughts of “Oh my gosh! My health is getting worse!” along with the whole anxiety from the fear of sleep apnea. But once you get use to sleeping with the machine on, you’ll realize when you wake up and go about your day, you’ll find that you will have more energy and feel better.

    Some of the issues I’ve had with my bipap machine are written below along with the things that I do to help me resolve the problems.

    • Feeling claustrophobic while breathing through the mask. I use the mask shown in the above picture. It covers my entire nose. Just above the white tube that has the oxygen port (where you attach the oxygen tubing), there is a vent that allows CO2 to blow out of the mask. Make sure this is not covered while you are sleeping. Also, I have a small 12″x12″ box fan on my dresser pointed directly at my face. This helps with claustrophobia and it seems to help with keeping the air within the bipap hose cool. I personally do not use the humidifier with my bipap. The only time that I have used it was when I was sick with bronchitis. It helped keep me from coughing so much.
    • Too warm or too cold air flowing through the mask. If you have warm air flowing through the mask, check to see if the HEAT button is not pushed. On my machine, it will show HEAT on the screen if it is turned on. Sometimes my cat will walk across the machine and will turn it on without me knowing it. Darn that cat!!! You can also try my fan idea too. However, I keep it pretty cool in my house by running the a/c at 72 degrees. It really helps me breathe easier with cooler air. My husband hates it but he tolerates it because he knows it helps me.  If it is wintertime and the air is too cold, turn on the HEAT on the machine. If you don’t have a heat capability on your bipap (older model machines don’t have this), what I use to do is tuck most of the 6 foot tube under the covers of my bed with me. The covers act as insulation! It helps but it’s not perfect.
    • Stuffy nose problems. This is the worst! The only thing that I’ve found that truly works for me are the Breathe Right Nasal Strips. (no I don’t get paid to suggest these…) If you want to try them, here is a link to request a free sample of them and a coupon: Try Breathe Right Nasal Strips!
    • Anxiety. It was difficult for me to get use to the bipap machine. I have a Synchronized/Timed unit… meaning that it breathes basically at my rate but it has a backup Breaths per Minute setting that if I, for some reason, stop breathing or start to slow down my breathing below my setting of 22 bpm, then my bipap will kick in almost like a respirator. Getting use to the pressures of the air flowing in and out of my lungs was a challenge. For a while I had to use Xanex but now I’m a pro at using my bipap and couldn’t be without it when I sleep or need to do some serious resting while awake to give my lungs a break. The secret to a successful night of sleep with a bipap is relaxation.

    I’d really like to hear from you. What are the experiences you are having with using a bipap machine?  There are different types of masks such as a full mask that covers both nose and mouth for those who like sleeping while breathing through their mouth, nasal pillows (my least favorite… too much direct air pressure into the nose), and the nose mask. I’ve even used my bipap in my car during a roadtrip! Who doesn’t like roadtrips???

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