I Don't Want to Wear Oxygen Because I Don't Want to Get Dependent on it
Someday your doctor may prescribe oxygen therapy for you if or when your lung function starts to decline. Some patients don't want to start on oxygen because they think that they will get dependent on it. I have heard this many times over the past 10 years that I have been on oxygen. I have even had the thought myself, but we are all dependent on oxygen. We all need it to survive. Some just need more help getting it than others.
I have also heard others say they don't want to get addicted to oxygen. Which kind of goes along the same lines - we are addicted. We all need it to survive, but I have learned a lot from years from going to National Alpha-1 and COPD conferences and hearing what the experts have to say. I learned more about why my body needs oxygen: my lungs don’t breathe in the oxygen that it needs as easily as someone with healthy lungs.
At one of those conferences that I attended, a pulmonary doctor did a talk on oxygen therapy and had mentioned a study from the past that showed using oxygen therapy prolonged COPD patients' lives by many more years than those who didn't use oxygen when prescribed. This was enough for me to start using my oxygen as directed and not just when I felt like it.
Symptoms and stares
Shortness of breath
Another thing that I learned after being put on oxygen is that the oxygen didn't help me with being short of breath. I was still short of breath at times but my body was getting the oxygen that it needed. My brain, my heart, and the rest of my organs, etc.
I hate to say it, but one thing that I did like when I got put on oxygen was that people could see that my lungs were sick now. I used to park in a handicapped spot before I got my oxygen and would get the staredown. That happened so many times. At least now I didn't feel like I needed to explain myself. It's terrible when you are made to feel that way. I shouldn't have worried about what others had thought. We should remember that not all diseases or sicknesses are visible.
How they know me
My grandkids don’t know me any other way than with oxygen. I have babysat them all over the years and they have all teethed on my hose, learned to walk around it, or lift a foot while walking to not get tangled (even though I have myself, way too many times to count). It’s so amazing to think that not one of my grandkids has tripped over my hose learning to walk or otherwise. They also know that I may need to take a minute from time to time to untangle a hose, change a battery, switch a tank, and will even help me do it.
Helping their Nana
They are all so caring and loving and all say that they want to help me breathe better. For example, one time my granddaughter was worried about me because I couldn’t catch my breath. She cupped up her sweet little hands, put them to her mouth, blew into them, and then put her hands up to my mouth to share her breath with me. She said, "Here Nana, you can have mine." Of course, I cried at the gesture which even made me more out of breath. I just love all of them so much. They are always trying to do something to help their Nana.
Adjustment and information
It took a while to get used to wearing oxygen. I still have days that I just want to throw my whole concentrator and hose out the door never to return, but then I realize how much it has helped me live longer, breathe better, and provide my body with what it needs.
I hope this has helped those who question oxygen use or not. There are many articles and websites to help you if you need more information on oxygen. I would also suggest talking to your doctor or even your pulmonary rehab therapist if you have one. The more you know, the more I think you will realize that oxygen therapy is a good thing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how your oxygen therapy is going.
Do you have a COPD exacerbation tool kit?