IntroductionYou are here because you or a loved one is on oxygen therapy. At some point a physician tested you to see if your body organs were getting enough oxygen. But, you didn't need to be tested. You already knew that something was wrong. You found yourself out of breath after doing simple tasks. Your coughs were productive with yellow sputum. You got lung infections that required hospitalization. One of two things happened next:
Focus of WebsiteDoes this sound like your story? Then you are in the right place.
This website focuses on the portable equipment you use. It brings together information collected from those who make, distribute, service, and use the equipment. It is the purpose of this website to help you understand yourself and your portable oxygen system so that you can get the full benefit from it. A portable oxygen system provides you with the freedom to leave your home and move about untethered. Its oxygen may be compressed or liquid. For it, you may wear a cannula or mask, or you may have transtracheal delivery. Oxygen may be delivered in a continuous flow or with a pulse that occurs when you inhale.
To keep it operating correctly, you must perform certain maintenance tasks, including monitoring and adjusting flow rates, swapping out tanks, and installing washers and batteries. When your system fails, you must be prepared to take appropriate action. Most important of all, if the portable you first select is not supporting your needs, you must take the steps necessary to change to another system.
You should know how much weight you are capable of carrying. Portable oxygen systems weigh between four and ten pounds, depending on the size of the oxygen tank. If you cannot carry this weight in a shoulder bag for an extended period, you may want the flexibility of choosing a system that is pulled in a cart.
You may find your body’s demand for oxygen is unpredictable due to weather conditions or when you are in unfamiliar surroundings where this new mobility will take you. It would be helpful if you could define in a measurable way your requirements under familiar circumstances and have a portable system that meets these requirements.
is a lot of help out there from physicians,
respiratory therapists, and oxygen providers. They are prepared to
answer the questions you have about portable oxygen. This website will
help you understand yourself and your requirements for portable oxygen,
and prepare you to articulate those questions.
also helps to "know the street talk." To be able to
talk with your doctor and nurses, and even with other similarly
afflicted friends, it helps to know the language. A good source is
provided by the no air
to go website in their acronyms
and abbreviations section.
Understanding Your BreathingUnderstanding your own breathing will help you select the appropriate portable oxygen system and get the greatest benefits from it. The best place to start is to listen and feel your breathing and your body’s reaction to it. You should be able to recognize in advance events that cause shortness of breath and learn to anticipate your body’s need for oxygen when they occur.
You can learn more about your breathing by answering the following questions:
When you compare your answers to these questions with other people, you will find your way of breathing and your lifestyle is uniquely yours. That is the reason there are so many choices of portable oxygen equipment. It is also the reason the portable system that a friend raves about may not be the one for you.
The Good, Bad, & UglyBefore continuing, let us understand the "good, bad, and ugly" about oxygen therapy.
First, the bad. There are several things that will deny you the full benefits of this therapy.
I've been using supplemental oxygen for 2 1/2 years now. Even my bout of lung cancer could not keep me away from dog obedience competition for very long. I do a lot of travelling for dog shows and will be away every weekend this month. If I didn't have my oxygen lifeline I'd never be able to continue. And I've met lots of nice, helpful folks and educated many others. People are delighted to see me still competing and I have been an inspiration to some who would have quit except for my perseverance. I now have a Helios and love it. And when I'm away I get a small portable reservoir to keep in my van. Don't be afraid to get out there and keep on having fun. Oxygen makes it possible for you to get out and go places, make new friends.
And, you maybe confused about who pays for your oxygen therapy. I can help you a little with this. You can get more information from Mark Mangus . (Select "Liquid Oxygen and Medicare" from the bottom of the Table of Contents.) You should also call your insurance company and inquire.
Last year my insurance company was primary. My oxygen provider charged $445 per month for home oxygen and $84 for portable oxygen. Because my insurance company and my provider had an agreement, all was written off except for $113 and $22, respectfully, which my insurance company paid.
This year Medicare is primary for me. My oxygen provider charges the same as last year. After the Medicare write off, the provider gets $219.50 and 36.10, respectively, of which I pay 20 percent.
At this website you will
find much of what you need. You will
also find references and links to other websites which are valuable
I have known that I had emphysema since the early 1980s. I tried every method to stop smoking that was available, with no long-term positive result. My wife joined me in this effort and we attended a stop smoking class in September 1993. She quit, only to develop a cough and be diagnosed with lung cancer a month later. (She is a ten year survivor of lung cancer.) Even though I qualified and received a disability tag for my car because of my condition, I continued to smoke, but secretly.
In late 1996 I was admitted to the hospital with a lung infection. Three months later, I was again admitted for the same reason. I can remember my family doctor and pulmonologist standing a the foot of my hospital bed after a particularly bad night, asking if I was ready to give up smoking. I was and I did.
I was put on oxygen. At
first, it was only at night. It wasn't
long before I was on it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at first at
2 Lpm. Today, I am on 3 Lpm at night, 8 Lpm during the day, and 10-15
Lpm with when I walk or exercise. The bottom line about my condition is
that I have the use of 12 percent of my lungs.
Other than my COPD, I am in good health and have a positive outlook on life. I am enjoying retirement. I am more often out of the house than in. I rely on portable oxygen and a scooter to get me about. I have an RV, and my wife and I travel in it several times a year. This current year we have had trips to Miami, South Dakota, Orlando, and Cape Cod. I have a lift for the scooter in both my car and the RV.
I have a Ph.D. and a background in research and instructional development. My background has given me the instinct to recognize where an educational or training program is needed. When I first went on oxygen and found no information about it, I decided to develop this website.
This website is entirely written, managed and paid for by me. As a courtesy, I provide you with links to the websites of equipment manufacturers, oxygen providers and others who have information that might be of interest to you. The presence of such a link does not mean I personally approve of the website's contents.
I believe in both prayer and self-determination. I believe it my responsibility to manage my health. But, to do so I need the best information. I have discovered what I need to know about oxygen and can now pass that information on to you.
My best wishes,
Impulse is a
registered trademark of AirSep, Inc.
For information about emphysema, see the FDA article Every Breath You Take: Preventing and Treating EMPHYSEMA.
© 2001 & 2003
You have permission to print this document for your own use. You also have permission to print, copy, and distribute this document to oxygen users and their caregivers.
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