Top 10 Worries To Overcome As An Oxygen User

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As one with diminished lung functionality, it is imperative that my supplemental oxygen stay at the desired level (4-5 Liters) and at a constant flow. At home, the electric powered concentrator creates and distributes oxygen through a 100ft cord, giving me reliability and the mobility to carry on home activities. To travel or doing errands, I use oxygen canisters. The tanks are less constraining and give me the opportunity to roam independently around town. The drawback is, baring #7, they are not as dependable as the home machine. One tank only lasts a couple hours, so a long afternoon outing means loading multiple tanks in my car and doing activities in 2-4 hour incriments. Both oxygen systems have advantages and disadvantages. Overcoming the disadvantages forces me to confront life and death fears. Here is my list of real breathing worries I’ve encountered in my daily life.

10. Having enough tanks to last me on an outing. *Each tank lasts me approx. 2 hours so a lunch/movie afternoon is usually a double-duty.* 

9. Remembering to carry the tank “key” with me. *While I’m out, the tank will bump into something or come loose, causing the oxygen to leak and hiss. I need the key to turn it ‘off’, unfasten and re-fasten the nasal. Hopefully that will fix it.*

8. Carrying an extra washer for the O2 tank nasal. *Sometimes the inside washer comes undone and there’s nothing you can do except remove it and snap on a new, undamaged washer.*

7. Black Outs. *Luckily, where I live doesn’t get many blackouts but the first one cut power to the concentrator. I didn’t know what was happening and my mind thought the worst. Would I suffocate to death?? After that, my oxygen company provided me with a MONSTER O2 tank that would last for 8 HOURS! Unless the end of the world came….I’d be fine.*

6. Miscalculating the amount of tanks necessary. (see #10)

5. Remembering to keep an eye on my tank output. * I’ve been with friends and, not wanting to miss the convo to exchange tanks, I’ll turn down my Liter Output a notch, saving time before the tank is empty. Obviously I intended to turn it up a few minutes later but a few times I’ve forgotten, leaving me dizzy and unsociable. Whenever I’d get disagreeable with my parents, they’d ask, “Is your oxygen low??” LOL….jerks. 

4. Wearing oxygen at night. *I used to wear the nose prongs during sleep but somehow would swipe them off my head. What was I dreaming about? I was also what they call a “mouth breather.” Waking up head-achy and dizzy from low oxygen was a pain in the butt…..until I picked up a Bipap machine.* #WINNING!

3. Having a small crack in the tubing- reducing the air pressure and the lower oxygen flow going unnoticed until I’m dizzy and cranky.

2. Forgetting to call the company ahead of time to exchange empty tanks for full ones. Otherwise, I’m stuck at home an extra 1-4 days. 

1. The #1 thing to worry about as an oxygen user is hooking up a lone canister for an outing to find out the company accidentally filled it with Easy Spray Cheese! Good thing I have crackers in my nostrils!

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Quality breathing for a Quality life

IMG_0112 Whether you have breathing issues like me or just seek to get healthy and build endurance, I have a few engaging slide shows that will give you the tools to restore your organs and improve your energy. But about that in a moment…..

It started when I was 5 or 6. After going through a series of corrective heart surgeries, my left lung collapsed and although it regained some functionality, it’s always been a little weak. To make matters more challenging, my scoliosis has slowly obstructed my right lungs functionality, limiting my long-term activity.

A turning point in my life came during highschool. I went for my yearly pulmonary doctor checkup and he suggested going on supplemental oxygen. Like those old people carrying around tanks with plastic up their nose? Yes and No. He prescribed an oxygen concentrator (A plug-in machine that makes oxygen) for home-use. Wearing it at night immediately cured my morning headaches leaving me to attend the few hours of school, untethered to an oxygen tube, like a “normal” kid. FH000015

As I grew older, my breathing became more oxygen dependant and my doctors tried to help by suggesting ways to improve my quality of life. Summarizing one doctor’s prognosis, there’s no magic pill to cure my heart and lung complications but I can work hard to feel good and be happy with the time I have now. Staying positive and motivated, I have discovered a love for cooking and gain a lot of pleasure from trying new creations. Other passions of late are yoga, pottery and gardening.

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Today I was fortunate to come across these highly informative slide shows on how to combat COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This stuff will definitely benefit anyone who has trouble breathing! The last two slide show links help me breathe easier and have more energy to do the things I am passionate about. I hope they can do the same thing for you!

~ Breathe This Life ~ ________________________________________________________

Chronic coughing and wheezing may be early warning signs of lung disease. Our slide show explains the symptoms and treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The more you exercise, the better you’ll feel with COPD. Breathe easier with these 10 exercises.

When you have COPD, eating right may help boost your energy. WebMD shows you how in pictures and words.

Be aware. Be healthy. Breathe.

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Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a good idea for everyone. But as one of more than 12.1 million Americans who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, you need to be especially aware of the ways in which your lifestyle, including your diet, affects your health. The proper diet, along with the physical activity recommended by your health care team, will keep your arm, chest, and leg muscles strong and your heart and lungs well supplied with oxygen.

Why I’m A Weekday Vegitarian

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Back when I was lil runt in elementary school, I had big ideas about saving the world from environmental decay. I remember feeling sheer joy when, on Earth Day, our grade planted a tree on campus.

One afternoon recess when I usually played full court basketball with the boys, I happened to eye the water fountain. The pipe undernieth it was dripping. OK, whatever. The janitor will fix it tomarrow.
The next day; still dripping. And the next; same thing.
I alerted the teacher on playground duty and she ashured me it would be taken care of.
Each night I would obsess and worry in my mind, calculating each drop per second and how much water was wasted each night.
Every day I’d remind the teacher on duty about the leak. Finally a week later, recess came and I went to take a look: A huge bolt was fastened over the area where the leak was…stopping it up. FIXED! That was the first time when I felt that with a little perseverence, anyone could improve our environment.

Ever since, I have been a staunch advocate for Mother Earth. As I grew older and educated myself on our cutlure’s agroculture and meat industres, it became evident that what I was eating was not in line with my environmental ideals. For some ideas of what I’m refering to, check out the film Food,Inc. For that reason and a general betterment of my health, I decided to go vegitarian.

In my last post I explained why it was necesaary for me to decrease my carbohydrate inake. So, now I’m cutting out meat AND pasta.

What’s the catch? I LOVE pasta and while not a HUGE fan of meat, I couldn’t imagine NEVER having it again. I mean, who doesn’t like a good stake and mushrooms with a baked potato on special occations?? My go-to lunch is and has always been ramen soup and a turkey sanwhich. Cutting that out would be like loosing a finger: I could live without it but it’d always feel like something was missing 😦

So how do we start the habit of eating well or keeping to a specific diet? I’m sure you’ve heard that it takes 30 days of repetition to form a habit….so it would stand to reason that the same would hold true for starting a diet, right? Well, if you are like me, you start on a new leaf with good intentions but fall back into old traps of compfort. “I shouldn’t eat pizza….but I’m too tired to cook. I deserve a reward anyway.” Or “I know this pasta dish will make me feel lathargic for hours….but it tastes sooo good. I can get my chores done tomarrow.”

So what’s the solution? How can we maintain a healthy diet without getting discouraged by slip-ups? Graham Hill has powerful philosophy taking the veg-culture by storm! Check out this 4 minute video and post your comments!

What we eat regulates our emotions and our productivity. We need to look at what we eat not simply in items of tastes and textures but as fuel to run this complex machine called the Human Body.

~Breathe Eazy~

A Healthy Diet Can Fight COPD & Breathing Problems

When I was young I would eat anything. Meat, vegetables, fruits, potatos….my favorites were pasta dishes! And my mom was a great cook. Spaghetti, Lasagna, fettuccine Alfredo, a family recipe shell-noodle bake famous to all the neighborhood kids. In fact, the only thing the only thing I didn’t enjoy at dinnertime was broccoli….yuk!

As I matured and nurtured a love of cooking, I studied how certain foods effected my health, specifically my breathing. A few years ago I joined a weekly regimen of lung theropist – monitored exercising called Pulmonary Rehab. One bit of knowledge that shocked me was that pasta is the worst thing for lung patients. As the American Lung Association website notes:

Foods contain three major sources of energy: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The metabolism of each requires a different amount of oxygen and produces a different amount of carbon dioxide. Metabolism of carbohydrates produces the most carbon dioxide for the amount of oxygen used; metabolism of fat produces the least. For some people with COPD, eating a diet with less carbohydrates and more fat helps them to breathe easier.

This is especially troubling for me as my lungs already trap in carbon dioxide. To strengthen my breathing, in addition to cutting carbohydrates, I do yoga, light weights and  use a Volumetric Incentive Spirometer, or as I call it, a “Puffer.”

http://www.activeforever.com/volumetric-incentive-spirometer-by-airlife

It may seem difficult to fight severe illnesses with plain-O-naturally grown food but remember the old saying, “You are what you eat!”

For more about how to beat COPD nutritionally, visit the American Lung Association website at http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/copd/living-with-copd/nutrition.html