Get Yourself Back Out There. People Are Waiting to Meet You!
When we are on a Sea Puffer cruise, the respiratory therapists bring oxygen equipment for travelers to see and try out. One recently unnamed passenger was short of breath while walking. She had told her physician she would rather not use oxygen. Her oxygen saturations showed she would benefit. When given a portable oxygen con- centrator to use, she exclaimed “Wow, I can walk and breathe at the same time!”
Jim Nelson from Arizona (affectionately known as Uncle Jim on the EFFORTS web- site) received a lung transplant and no longer needs to use oxygen. He is still very involved in helping others cope with living with lung disease. One of the main complaints he hears all the time is that people do not want to be seen in public using their oxygen. He has suggestions for them.
- Plan a trip to a favorite restaurant, a mall, a big-box store or to a Set a date for your excursion, and enlist a caregiver, family member or friend to go with you.
- plan ahead. Gather enough oxygen to last the trip plus some. If you are using a portable concentrator, put a spare oxygen tank and regulator in the car, just in case. Make sure that you have your inhalers and any other medication you need to take.
- Find something nice to wear – some- thing that you like, something that you think makes you look
- When the big day comes, face it with You are actually going to go out and do something! You are go- ing to act like a normal human person, rather than a victim.
- Wouhreach your destination, park as close as you can to the entrance. There is no use in wasting your energy trudging across 40 acres of parking lot. If you have a handicapped sticker on your car, use it. If not, have your companion drop you off at the door.
- Walk into the store, restaurant or theater like you own the place! Keep your head up and walk proudly. If someone catches your eye, SMILE at them! Maintain an appearance of hap- piness, If nothing else, it will make people wonder what you have been up to!
- Keep track of how many people stare at you. Remember, these are the same people who will stare at someone in a wheelchair or who is wearing a cast. That first time, you will be very sen- sitive to those If you find that a lot of people stare at you, or turn away with looks of disgust, or say really outlandish things like, “You are obviously going to die soon, can I have your coat?” Our little experiment will then have failed. You probably should consider going back home and going back into hiding.
- On the other hand, if you find that the stares are few and totally harmless, that most people ignore you completely, that a few people are actually nice to you, then maybe, just maybe, you might want to try it again!
- If you choose to try this, and I pray that you will, my hope is that you will get over your reluctance to be seen with your cannula, be able to relax and start to live like real people, rather than like a hermit!
- Let me be the first to welcome you to your new life!
Instead of dreading the thought of people no- ticing you, why not go the opposite way and embrace it! We know many people who dress up their oxygen tanks like animals for every holiday. Who doesn’t want a little bling on their portable oxygen concentrator? We have seen sparkles of all colors, bumper stickers and pictures of grandchildren.
Make it fun to go out! A new product called Oxy Couture can be seen at www. oxycouture.org. This organization will make a wrap for your cannulamaybe even in your favorite team colors or logo! This can be a real conversation starter!
If you would still prefer people not notice your oxygen, call 1-877-699-8439 or visit www.oxyview.com to order your pair of OxyView glasses!