How to Deal With a Tangled Oxygen Line
Last updated: October 2023
For those who use oxygen to help manage their COPD, the tube line can often pose a bit of a problem. If you're not careful with your oxygen line, just walking from room to room can become hazardous. Having an extra-long line can be helpful in the house, but it can also present a few problems. There were many times that my mom would be walking through the house only to be jarred to a stop by the long oxygen line either being stepped on or wrapped around something that she didn’t see.
Tips to tame a tangled line
Coil it up
Although you may sometimes need the full extension of the line, it could be easier to shorten the section you will be using by coiling up the excess and placing it near the concentrator until it is needed. Then you can pull off a few extra feet as you need it. This will keep the extra line from following you around the house. For example, my mom used a heavy sculpture to keep the extra line in place. She would lay the extra coil over the sculpture (basically circling the sculpture) so that as she would walk past it, the line extra line would not follow.
Create a collection point
You can create collection points around the house. This would be especially helpful in a big house. You could use the same concept as above with a heavy sculpture, a hook or even a mommy stroller hook would work great. For example, if you were going to be in the kitchen for an extended time and you didn’t want the line in the way of other people in other rooms, you could place the line out of the way in the room you will not be in and attach it to a collection point or “pivot” point when you get to the kitchen. This would keep the line from pulling in different directions as you move around the room.
Find the proper coiling method
This may sound odd, but my background in television production also helped in coiling mom’s line. There were many times that she would ask me to re-coil it to get the twists and kinks out. There is a method to the madness, and it is called “over-under”. It would be very difficult to try to explain this verbally, so I would recommend finding a video online that will show you how to do this.
If the line is coiled correctly, you would literally be able to toss it straight out, and it would land without any kinks. This takes practice, so I understand if this is simply outside of your scope of things to deal with. However, anytime you are going to store the line for an extended time, it would be good to do it this way. Also, sometimes a line needs to be retrained to lay correctly. All types of cables will learn how they are coiled most often.
Create a warning tug
One last thing to consider is finding a way to give yourself a warning tug. My mom would hang the line close to the concentrator. This did two things: It helped to keep water out of the line, but it also gave her a more gentle warning when she was getting to the end of her line. I think the most important thing is to keep trying things until you find what works for you. There are so many different ways to accomplish the same thing, and we would love to hear from you.
Where do you stand with your COPD?