Thursday, April 16, 2009

Learniing to Live as a Lunger, Part 2, & New Bunny Sightings

Shorty after I was prescribed oxygen therapy, I wrote a blog post entitled Learning to Live as a Lunger:

That post was the most extensive one I have written on how the need for oxygen therapy has affected my life. Today's post in another.

A couple of events yesterday exhausted me and following them I napped way too much. The first happening was a couple of electricity outages that required me to access the huge emergency oxygen tank. That may not sound problematic, but it becomes so when (1) one is gasping for oxygen, (2) the room where the tank is located is dark, and (3) the connection and controls of the tank are difficult to access.

Emergency Oxygen Tank

The tank I am talking about is the big green thing in the photograph above. It took me a while to get to it and when I did I found that when the service guy from the oxygen supply company last refilled the tank after the electrical outages earlier this year, he placed the tank so that the connection to my nose hose and the controls are facing away from me and I found it difficult get to them, especially since I couldn't breath, because of the stuff around the tank. By the time I was able to make the connection, I felt exhausted and close to passing out.

The second of yesterday's happenings was less traumatic (for me) but no less tiring. As you probably know, I have given the kitchen table to Alex for his dining pleasure primarily because it is easier for me to refill his food bowls and water dish if they are not on the floor. Also, I can sit beside the furball, watch him eat, pet and cuddle him and groom his beautiful coat.

While the electric power was out, I heard a crash in the kitchen. I didn't have the energy to investigate. Anyway, because I heard a cat squeal and Alex came running from the kitchen jumped up on my desk and into my arms, I deduced that the furball had knocked something off the table.

After the electricity came back on, I waited from about 20 minutes to be sure than it was going to remain on for a while before turning off the emergency oxygen and reconnecting my nose hose to the oxygen generator. Then I hobbled into the kitchen where I found a mess on the floor.

Alex must have leaped on the kitchen table, caught his claws in the table cloth, and yanked the cloth and his dinner and water dish (plus his brush and jar of cat treats) onto the floor, probably on top of him. It took me 15 minutes to clean up the mess and fill Alex's bowls.

It probably should have taken that long, but I was worn out by the earlier oxygen crisis and still suffering a bit from oxygen starvation. So, after the clean up, I went straight to my (our) bedroom, transfered the nosehose from my nostrils to the C-PAP, and napped. Alex joined me in bed and we napped a very long time.

Today I have been thinking about yesterday's experiences. Just a few years ago neither would have been the crisis that they were for me yesterday. Nor would have have been a crisis if another person were here with me or I could count on someone to respond to my telephoning for help.

Life brings change-lots of change. My life situation has changed dramatically over the past few years. I need to adjust to it. The quandary for me at the moment is: what adjustments need I make?

Bunny Sighting: Last evening, after Alex and I arose from our long nap, I came in the closest contact yet to my rabbit guest. I was at the doorway of the guest room when I looked down and saw the little fellow within a couple of feet of my feet. The little fellow is gray in color and has teh cutest little white cotton tail! Before I could see more, he/she scampered away and disappeared beneath the bed:

Rabbit Dwelling Beneath Bed in Guest Room

Earlier yesterday Tasha had gotten a look at my rabbit guest for the first time, after which she said that she is no longer afraid of assisting in capturing him. She almost captured the little fellow then, before he scampered beneath the bed in my guest room. Tasha commented on the rabbit, "He's a little fatty." After my later sighting of the baby rabbit, I agree, which suggests to me that the bunny is doing well with my hospitality:

Rabbit Feeding Station in Guest Bedroom


  1. I worry about you Nick, I've only ever been unable to breathe properly during a bout of bronchitis many years ago and it was very scary.

    Methinks you're looking after the bunny too well - he doesn't want to go home to his mummy! :)

  2. Nick, it's worrisome that you're hooked on oxygen and you live alone. I hope you don't have another situation like the power outage again. It would be nice if there were something you could do to help you be able to breathe better on your own.

  3. Lordy, Nick, after that lot I think you should have a part time carer...just to check on you, especially during power cuts. Would your organisation put up the ready for that? I have asthma and I know how frightening it can be to fight for breath. But I really feel you should qualify for someone to assist you daily.

    I didn't realise you had a real rabbit in your house. I wondered about this bunny you kept posting about. How on earth did it get in? I'm surprised Alex hasn't had him for dinner.

    Take care, Nick, I'm really concerned about you. I wish I were closer and I could help you out.

  4. I can relate to feeding the cat on the table. When my back was at it's worst, I did the same thing. If something fell on the floor, I'd just kick it to the side.

    I wish there was something I could do for you. It's such a helpless feeling when a friend is suffering.

  5. Akelamalu: I appreciate your concern. Serious breathing problems have been with me for about 20 years, during which I have been hospitalized three (or is it four?) times with pneumonia and twice for chronic bronchitis. I believe that I began having breathing problems when I was a child, but no adult noticed and as a kid one thinks that breathing like that is the way every does it.

    I, too, am surprised that the bunny has not escaped to the outside to join his family. He has had numerous opportunities.

  6. Squirl : Thank you. I suppose I thought I was prepared for a power outage. I think I am in the bedroom with a flashlight and a portable oxygen tank near the bed. I wasn't prepared for the daylight one and I was surprised when I couldn't reach the connection and controls of the huge emergency tank. Today I telephoned the folks who supply the oxygen to come and fix that problem. I am thinking of carrying a small pen light in my pocket just in case I need the light. I have a good pen light, if I can only remember where I put it!

    As for breathing better, I am now taking six prescription medications each day to keep me breathing. So, I am thankful that I can breath as well as I do!

  7. Puss-in-Boots: Thank you. I do have Tasha here for 3 hours a day 3 days a week. The company that employs her is under contract to the Veterans Administration to do so. Tasha was coming 4 hours per day, but the VA cut back on her hours by 25% "due to budget constraints." I feel lucky that I still have her that much; some veterans had that service completely cut off -- "due to budget constraints."

    Yep, the baby bunny is real. Alex carried him into the house by the nap of his neck (the way Alex's mommy carried him). The bunny was squealing loudly. I tell the whole story of in my blog post here: Alex and the Baby Bunny.

  8. Thomas: I'm glad I'm not the only one who has fed his cat on a dining table! I figure that it is much easier for Alex to get on the table top than me getting down to the floor.

    I understand your concern for my health and your desire to help. You are a very good friend, Thomas: your kindness helped me to replace my C-PAP when I had no resources to do it myself. I sincerely appreciate that mitzvah and shall be forever thankful to you.

  9. Nick, I am sorry that you are not breathing good. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Is there anyone that you can call in case of an emergency? May tomorrow be better for you.

    Take care and blessings, Pam

  10. Nick,

    I, too, worry about you and I wish that I lived closer so that I could help. It's got to be hard to be in the situation that you were in yesterday - especially to be in that situation alone.

    I'm not a big prayer person, but you are on my mind, in my heart and the receiver of my good wishes.

  11. Finding Pam: Thank you. I really wish there were someone dependable whom I could call. There isn't. The last (of many) times that I called, I attempted to reach 8 friends, including my 2 sons. I left one message with a secretary and seven on answering machines. It was six hours alter before anyone got back to me. Thankfully, I solved that problem, like yesterday's, on my own.

    I do have 911 programed into my cell phone, which I carry with me all the time, so I can call pushing one button. I have only had to do that once in my life. That was before I was receiving treatment for my breathing probelms and I literally couldn't breath. An emergency team responded and got to my house in about 3 or 4 minutes. They came from the city fire department station that is about 2 blocks from me. It's very nice to know that they are there!

  12. Carol: Thank you. I appreciate and feel your good thoughts. I so wish that you did live nearby, not only for emergencies but for someone with whom I could have some intelligent conversation.

    My greatest concern about situations such as yesterday is that I will panic. When I (and I suppose all folks) panic, breathing becomes more difficult and decision making erratic. I am glad that yesterday I remembered to remain seated and calm until I had a plan. Of course, not being able to initially reach the controls on the huge emergency tank rather threw a monkey wrench into my plans; but I've contacted the folks who supply the oxygen and they are supposed to come by tomorrow to replenish the oxygen I used and, most importantly, set the tank so that I can reach the controls.

  13. I don't know if I'm an intelligent conversationalist, but I'm a good listener. ;-)

    I'm glad that you will get the emergency tank controls in a better position in case you should need to use that tank again.

    A peaceful, restful night to you, Nick.

  14. Wow, not a happy adventure and I'm glad you came out OK. I have been away from blogs a while and had to read back a ways to find out how the baby rabbit got inside - very interesting. ec

  15. I pray that the situation with the oxygen does not repeat!

    Perhaps you need to open a rabbit hostel? :)

  16. Carol: Yes, you are an intelligent conversationalist! (I love being listened to!)

    I had a most restful sleep last night! Alex and I awakened a but before 7:00 AM and I have been bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ever since. Alex has eaten, been outside, and is now (again) napping.

    Mr. Eddie: No, it was not a pleasant experience. I am glad it is over and that I am no worse off because of it.

    I'm glad that you could catch up on the on-going rabbit tale. BTW, I have had no rabbit sighting so far today.

  17. China Girl: Thank you. Open a hostel for rabbits? I'll have to consult Alex on that!

  18. I have two small portable tanks that I refill myself from the concentrator. I use those most of the day when I need oxygen and one is always by my bed at night.
    Medicare covers the cost.

  19. It's kind of hard to put into words what's in my heart Nick. I was touched by your bunny tale, pretty darn cute ;)
    You handled your oxygen emergency very many of us take breathing for granted....just coming out of a bad back pain episode, I have had a chance to be grateful anew for being able to sit again (in my favorite computer chair) for short spurts, dress myself, etc.....what might seem like little things to others.....we just do not know what we have until we lose it. I thought it was sweet that you have (maybe had) a tablecloth on Alex' dinner table too! Sending healing vibes to you along with very best wishes always. Hope you and Alex have another restful and uneventful night.

  20. Dang that must have been scary. I don't know if it's worth it, but perhaps you should write a letter to the oxygen company about the lack of common sense in making the stuff you absolutely need so difficult to access in an emercency.

    I should think the words "emergency oxygen" would be enough to remind someone to make sure you can access it!

  21. Dear Nick ~ ~ I am so sorry you had that emergency and glad you were able to help yourself. I guess there are so many folks needing help, it is hard to cope with it all. And it is difficult to ask for help and to accept it. I have needed a lot of help lately and luckily have a helpful family who helped a lot. It is ddicult to accept that we cannot do it all ourselves.
    Take great care Nick and lookafter yourself. Thanks for your comment about needing more naps these days.
    Very Best Wishes, Merle.

  22. Dr. John: It sounds as if you are fully oxygen-self-reliant. I have a large portable tank near my bed (although Tasha has moved it to the wrong side and I must place it where it belongs). I also have a small portable tank (for travel) which isn't always filled with oxygen. That was the case when the electricity failed!

  23. Patty Szymkowicz: Thank you: Alex and I have a very restful and uneventful night! It was so restful and especially uneventful that when I awakened this morning I thought it was still last night.

    I agree that we humans do take so much for granted that when something goes wrong we are shocked by it. Enough oxygen never concerned me when I was young, except when I was running wind spints during footvall practice.

    No bunny sightings thus far today. I hope the little fellow made it safely through the night.

  24. Travis: Yes, it was perturbing, although I wouldn't say scary. Had I become scared and panicked it may not have had such a good ending. I did one better than write a letter to the oxygen provider: I spoke with the manager, who, like me, is an ex-social worker. She handled the situation well and fast.

  25. Good lord what an ordeal. I really hope you are managing better now. As others have stated here, I'd like to see things remain uneventful in this respect and for a good long time. At least until you can get better. Do you get any in home assistance from anyone? If I lived loser I'd give my my cell phone number and swing by to move the tanks around.

    I have bunny sightings but not those type of bunnies you're talking about ;-)

  26. Bless your heart. I can't imagine much worse than not being able to get your breath. Take it easy this weekend.

    I think it's wonderful that you have a bunny in the house. Good omen,that.

    And regarding your earlier post..... no newt, not now,not ever. Please God.

  27. That's good to hear Nick. I'm headed to see the Thunder Over videos, thanks for sharing those! Hope they shoot some big fireworks way up high for all to see!

  28. Ricardo: Yep, it was a bit of an ordeal. I appreciate your offer to visit if you lived closer. I have many friends who would do that...if they lived closer. Unfortunately, here I have only a couple and both are quite busy: one is a clergyperson and the other is a professor. I suppose I see them about once a month.

    The VA pays for Tasha to do housecleaning and stuff like that 9 hours a week. It was 12 hours, but at the VA cut back because of "budget constraints." I don't believe that I could continue to live on my own without the housekeeping assistance.

    I hope you enjoy your bunny sightings. I used to until just a couple of years ago. (sigh)

  29. Pamela Terry and Edward: Thank you! I don't believe that anyone has said "Bless your heart" to me in years! I really appreciate your words.

    I didn't think of my guest bunny as a good omen. I think you may be right. I've not seen the little fellow in a couple of days. Perhaps he hopped out my open door. I just hope he is OK.

  30. Patty Szymkowicz: I hope that you enjoyed the Thunder Over Louisville videos.

    Alex and I spent quite a bit on time on the deck watching the stuff. We saw quite a few of the planes in the sky; we heard even more of them. We saw that highest fireworks in the sky. I tried taking photos of them, but none came out well because of the lights and trees. Alex went into the house when the fireworks' bangs got too loud for him. All together, it was a fine day.