A man meditating with his oxygen tank in a room full of plants

Oxygen and me!

Last updated: August 2019

Once in a while, I find myself acting as if I was still living in my pre-COPD days.

That’s a bit difficult to explain but let me try...

Things I can do without oxygen

When the air is clear and cool, I can walk for a number of steps without getting winded. I can travel from the front steps of the house down the driveway to my parked car, get in and drive off.

I can also enter a store, walk a few yards to get whatever it is I’m looking for, pay for it and walk back to the car without O2.

And then I remember.

But I think it’s OK except that once in a while, especially in that cool, clear air, I’ll drive away without my backpack and oxygen.

And that’s definitely not good.

Sometimes, this also happens in the evenings at home where I’ve been sitting watching a movie, without oxygen, finish it and head for bed.

I snuggle under the comforter (the AC is on 365 days a year to fight humidity). I plump the pillow to just the right size – resistance and then I begin to realize something is not right.

Sometimes I’m baffled but then I can feel my chest heaving and realize – I don’t have the damned cannula stuck up my nose! (lol)

Wishful thinking to not have to use oxygen

I think it’s more wishful thinking than forgetfulness.

I use oxygen a little bit more every year. And my settings seem to change as well.

Eight years ago, I started at 3 lps. and am now at 4 lps. If I’m at pulmonary rehab, the setting is at 5 lps.

I need oxygen most in heat and humidity

But I need it most in this hot, humid weather.

This has been a particularly warm and humid summer here in the Northeast.

I find myself seeking places to go that have guaranteed air conditioning.

I’ve been to the movies 4 times which is a lot for me. But sitting inside theater AC, I don’t need my oxygen and it’s a wonderful feeling breathing air directly through my nostrils.

It’s not a wise thing – I should be making sure that I’m getting the proper oxygen saturation levels.

Brain hypoxia (a new word for me!) occurs when the brain isn't getting enough oxygen. The condition can be serious because brain cells need an uninterrupted flow of oxygen to function properly.

I think these oxygen blood increasing tips from the Lung Institute are wonderful:

  • When the weather allows, open your windows. And monitor your local air quality.
  • Grow green things. Introducing live plants into your home.
  • Exercise. (Pulmonary Rehab!) Check with your doctor about the type and amount of exercise you should be doing each day.
  • Practice mindfulness. Begin a daily meditation or prayer routine that emphasizes deep breathing. Five to ten minutes per day of relaxed and focused breathing can improve your oxygen intake and reduce stress.
  • Certain foods can help improve your oxygen levels in the blood. Focus on iron-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, legumes and green leafy vegetables. Stock up on green vegetables like kale, broccoli and celery.1

I’ll just have to remember!

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