Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~
Well, miraculously, we seem to be arriving at 2019.
For someone who never thought they would see the turn of the century, it is truly amazing.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy New Year, and to make some suggestions that will help you get to 2020. Most of these are simply reminders, a little memory boost for those things that you know you should be doing anyway. However, maybe we will come up with a couple of new ideas.
First and foremost, as hard as it may be at times, you must put yourself first. If that sounds selfish, you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. If you don’t take care of yourself, as much as you can, that will serve to put more of a burden on those who care for you. Most of us hate the thought of being a worry for our loved ones. Obviously, the more we care for ourselves, the stronger we can stay, the less of a concern we will be.
So, it follows that we should try to stay in the best physical shape that we can. Any of you who have read my writings on other subjects have heard me brag about being on the treadmill for an hour on the morning that they called me for my lung transplant. True story. I was on 9 to 10 liters of oxygen to keep my saturation above 90 percent, but I was on that treadmill. I truly believe that the efforts that I made, all of the miles on that machine helped to qualify me for a double lung transplant at age 70.
It will help a lot if you can communicate with your family and friends regarding the limitations of your disease. They must understand that you still want to do the things that you have always done together. If it involves walking slowly, stopping to admire the flowers along the way, that’s what it will take. If you take the time and effort to really sit down and explain what you are going through, it will help them to understand.
I cannot say this enough. Wear your oxygen! It will help you in more ways than you may know. It will help keep the right side of your heart from swelling which will help prevent congestive heart failure. It will help to preserve your brain cells, so that you can remember stuff. Remembering stuff is important, so there is good reason to maintain that ability as long as possible. That said, get over yourself and brave the outside world wearing your cannula. I know that it’s hard, but once you realize that barely one in a 100 people will even glance at you, it becomes much easier. Having accomplished that, you can actually go out and live your life. It will literally open up a whole new world for you!
Your attitude, your activity level, your quality of life are all tied to your feelings of control. It is very easy to feel trapped by your disability, isolated by the cannula and your inability to engage in some of the activities that you used to enjoy. The answer is to get stubborn. If you can, push yourself to gain strength. It will help to counteract the wimpy lungs. Again, the extra oxygen will help. It will help you accomplish more than you can imagine, if you try.
~ Uncle Jim
Jim Nelson is a double lung transplant recipient and a patient advocate for COPD patients throughout the U.S. and around the world. He and his wife, Mary, are well known patient advocates and brand ambassadors for those organizations who tirelessly endeavor to help those individuals who suffer from a variety of respiratory diseases and the caregivers who support them.
If you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, learn more about CAIRE wearable, portable and stationary oxygen concentrators by visiting www.cairemedical.com or calling 1-877-704-0878 to talk to an oxygen advisor.
When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.