a man walking up the stairs with his oxygen tank and speech bubbles that show a blood pressure cuff, a oximeter, and an inhaler

Be Prepared (Part 2)

Editor's note: Read Be Prepared (Part 1) to see the first installment of this series.

While pharmacies have been classified as “essential” in almost any given region, we had a local drug store close recently because one of the staff had been diagnosed with COVID and the state required them to close for a 10-day period.

Luckily for us, it was not a pharmacy we use.

Order prescriptions in three month supplies

I don’t know if this is true of all pharmacies but the one we belong to allows us (with the cooperation of our health insurance company) to order 3 month supplies of our prescriptive medicines.

If anything happens, I have medication on hand for a little while

In other words, in our medicine closet, I have 3 Symbicort and 3 Spiriva inhalers that, in theory, would enable me to self-medicate for 3 months if - God forbid – anything happened to our pharmacy.

As I say, I don’t know if all health insurance companies and/or pharmacies make this kind of offer.

I’m just glad ours does.

Keep an oximeter in the house

My mother-in-law, Abuela, who is 81 and living with us, has diabetes, high blood pressure and is slightly asthmatic.

My wife became very concerned the other day when her mother’s “regular” cough seemed to be increasing. I say regular because her asthma is pretty pronounced and while she does not get out of breath often, her asthma manifests itself with a periodic cough.

The results could be insightful

According to the description I got from my pulmonologist, the sound of it seemed to be as the kind described as a symptom of COVID-19 – “dry,” and “raspy.” Abuela did not have a high fever and so we would not be able to take her to a “drive through” test that the state was offering. So, I suggested to my wife that we test her oxygen/respiratory system using an old oximeter I had.

Guess what? Her breathing was 98 %Sp02 and 80 PRbpm. Practically perfect! We were all very relieved. Sure enough, the following day the cough abated. May have just been a pollen allergy.

Develop an exercise routine

I’ve never invested in a stationary bike or tread mill. I was never much of a gym rat or exerciser aside from playing racquet ball and taking long walks with Mrs. Davitt.

Besides, I’ve enjoyed the therapists at my Pulmonary Rehab facility and the other patients who go there as well too much to work out at home. It’s a nice mix of Cardio and Respiratory folks.

I can feel the effects in my breathing of not “working out.”

We’ve been asked/ordered to stay indoors as much as possible and I am concerned that I might frighten some folks or your children walking around with an oxygen tank strapped to my back and a cannula stuck up my nose. I even tried putting a surgical face-mask over the cannula but that made it look doubly frightening.

So...it was off to the stairs.

Exercise using what you have available in the home

We have a small 2-story home and now, I try to climb the 15 steps (who’s counting!) up and down 3 times a day – with oxygen.

While I know it doesn’t sound like much, when you have “SEVERE” COPD as I do, you must take your time and space the climbs out. You must also be very aware of your heart rate and whether or not you are putting too much strain on it with this kind of exercise.

So, I use my oximeter and blood pressure monitor each time I climb. A lot of this may seem like overkill now and I will have no problem accepting that it was when all of this passes us by.

P.S. Found both these articles from Popular Science helpful in explaining the do’s and don’ts of facemasks: Buying or Making Facemasks & Cleaning Facemasks

“All things must pass
All things must pass away...”
- George Harrison “All things Must Pass”

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