So, How’s Your O2?

The last two weeks have been all about oxygen. O2. Breathing stuff. Not that important until you’re not getting enough. Two weeks ago is when the first oxygen supplies arrived. (In case you missed it, the reason for my oxygen is spelled out in Pulmonary Fibrosis and Me.) We now have the constant drone and rhythmic ptoosh of a big oxygen concentrator, which sits centrally located in our apartment and sends supplemental oxygen through a network of green tubes laid out through the house: one to the bedroom, one through the bedroom and up through a hole in the closet ceiling to my office, overhead, and one that I just snake around behind me as I move about. I’m on the O2 most of the time, to keep my blood saturation levels up. I can go off for short periods, but if I’m active, my O2 percentage will drop right into the 80s, percentage-wise, which isn’t great. Most people are pretty stable around 97-98, as I used to be. Also, staying on the O2 seems to reduce my coughing. Here’s the big guy.

Also, I bought a secondhand portable concentrator that I can wear in a backpack when I’m out doing things like walking the dogs.

I never knew walking the dogs was such an aerobic activity! I really have to pace myself. But as promised, I have increased my daily exercising—leg lifts, crunches, etc., before getting out of bed. The highlight is forty squats and forty pushups while the coffee is brewing. That’s something to look forward to every morning! (Not really.) Stopping between sets to breathe really hard and wait for the O2 to come back up, that’s the ticket. Here’s my cool ring oximeter.

Sometimes I get sick of the cannula in my nose and I switch over to Darth Jeff mode. I sound just like the guy in the black suit.

Weird thing about in-home oxygen supplies: It apparently has never occurred to any of these companies that people might need to split their O2 feed into different rooms. They’ll give you the hoses and connectors and cannulas that you need, but when you ask about a splitter valve, they wonder what language you’re speaking. Well, okay, I thought, you can get anything on Amazon, right? Um… After much searching online, I did eventually find a link to a really overpriced two-way plastic valve that works (the gray one on top of the machine). A week later I realized I needed more, and eventually I found the brass gizmo with the yellow knobs. I had to MacGyver a connector between them, because no one seems to make an O2 connector that’s female on both ends. It’s not rocket science, people! Lots of folks are out there looking for the same solutions as I was, but you can’t get it off the shelf. Victory to those who can think outside the box. I feel like I’m controlling a submarine here.

But how am I doing? you ask. Well, some days I feel kind of discouraged. Most days I soldier on. You’re not taking me without a fight, dammit. I’ve got stuff to do!

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3 Responses

  1. Frances B Giuffre
    | Reply

    Hooray for Darth Jeff! Glad you are able to 02 your rooms. Inventor people need to get on the connectors you need instead of inventing new ways to entertain your cat (although Theo likes new toys…) Hope this is one of your more uplifting days, my friend

  2. Sue Rockwell
    | Reply

    Dear Jeff, so sorry you are having this health problem.

    It has been a few years since I messaged you on your old blog about how I returned to reading Sci-Fi after a long hiatus because of randomly buying one of your books. I have bought a few more and also read what I could get of yours from the library, as well as plenty of other contemporary Sci-Fi.

    I hope you have good doctors and advocates. Lets hope they can find a treatment.

    Sue Rockwell

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