Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oxygen and me, part 2

I went to the pulmonologist on Tuesday morning. The good news is that my lungs look OK. There is still some cloudiness in my left lung from the pneumonia, but he wants to let it rest. So no tap and no antibiotics. Woo hoo!

Bad news is that my blood oxygen level was at 87 when I got to the doctor. And that was with oxygen. Sigh. So I am indefinitely on oxygen 24/7.

I really like the doctor, Dr Campbell. He did the thoracentisis on me in the hospital and was so gentle and kind and competent. I'm clanking around with the big green tanks of oxygen and he said he wanted me to have liquid oxygen. The portable tank is about the size of a loaf of bread and I carry it over my shoulder. Wow!!!

It only weighs 3.5 pounds when filled. I tried it out Tuesday night and it was wonderful. I put it over my shoulder and went out to dinner. No more fussing with the big ole green tank of oxygen.

There is a reservoir of liquid oxygen that is now in my house. It's probably 4 feet tall and 16 inches in diameter. I refill the portable unit from the reservoir, which is pretty easy. Depending upon my use and how much I go out, the reservoir tank lasts at least two weeks.

I'm going to have to experiment and see how long the unit lasts. The brochure says 10 hours at 1 liter per hour and about 8 hours at 2 liters per hour. I may have to request the Marathon unit, which lasts up to 20 hours when I go back to work.

Dr Campbell also wanted me to have my very own pulse oximeter so I can keep track of my blood oxygen level. The oximeters that climbers use run about $200. I called the medical supply place and they can order me one for a mere $850.00!!! There is no insurance coverage. So I went to and found a pulse oximeter for about $52 with free shipping. It should be here on Saturday. It comes with its own carrying case and a cord to wear it around my neck. (I don't think so.) I will be able to monitor the oxygen a lot better with the oximeter. (I have more medical toys now. Goody.)

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. It is my three month checkup for diabetes. I've been having a really hard time keeping my blood sugar levels down the past 10 days. That doesn't make me happy at all. I've been sticking to the lifestyle eating habits change (sounds better than a diet.) I've cut out yogurt for breakfast, which has been fine for the past 3 1/2 years. I'm really careful what fruits I eat, and I've cut out all white stuff (bread, potatoes, rice, sugar, etc.) I'm not a happy camper right now. At least the weight is still coming off, albeit slooooooowly.

Good thing I have an appointment tomorrow, because I have congestion in my chest. Yep, and I'm wheezing. It's a tight cough and not productive at all. And my chest hurts. So.....I'm hoping it is just bronchitis and an antibiotic will clear it up. I'm rather discouraged about this whole thing right now. Of course, if I have an infection then my blood sugars are going to be out of whack. I just took it and it is at 217. Not good at all. I wonder what my a1n will be. Til tomorrow.

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