Friday, April 10, 2009

Adventures with the oxygen tube

oxygentube As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I am on oxygen a good deal of the time now. Having oxygen blown into your nose is a lot easier to get used to than you might think. Getting used to having a 50’ hose dragging around behind me from the compressor - well, that is another matter.

You see, I have a compressor set up in the living room, from which a 50’ tube extends. This way I can reach pretty much anywhere in the house that I need to get to without having to drag oxygen tanks around (which get pretty heavy after a while). We also have a lot of stairs in our house and so, this system works pretty good, even though the compressor constantly makes wheezing and breathing sounds like those of Darth Vadar.

But we have had some adventures with this tube in the past few weeks.

First of all, our dog hates it! Mindy is a small, black Shih Tzu-Poodle cross. Quite frankly, she has issues. Nervous, high-strung and hopelessly attached to my wife, this dog seriously needs counselling. She’s about 10 years old and her eyesight is failing some. I suspect that she has also fallen on the stairs from time to time, which has resulted in her being scared to climb up them. Each time she wants to do so, she has to work up the courage to do it. As she prepares, she longingly looks up the stairs, then spins around and runs up a stair or two and then retreats back down again. She does it again and again and again and again. Sometimes she gets up an extra step or two before coming back down. Often we have to cheer her on - “Come on, Mindy! You can do it” or (in my case) threaten her with a swat in the rear end. Eventually she gets up, but what a show she puts on in the process!

Now, that was before the oxygen tube was in the house. It’s even worse now. If the tube is running up the same set of stairs that she wants to go up, she simply won’t even try but sits at the bottom of the stairs and whines. Oh fun!

In a way, you have to feel sorry for the poor dog. The other day, the tube was caught up on the leg of a chair in the living room and so I gave it a flick to free it up. In the process, the tube hit our cat , startling her. She leapt up, spun around and without warning, yowled and attacked the dog who was standing behind her. The poor thing yelped and took off, probably wondering why the whole world hates her so much.

Of course, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, one of the real fun things of having a tube up your nose is accidently stepping on your oxygen line while you are sitting down and then trying to stand up. The feeling of your ears being pulled down to your shoulders is something you never really get used to! Nor do you ever really get used to having your wife’s foot get caught up in the tubing on the floor as she walks by and instantly receiving a free and unexpected neck adjustment. Talk about getting led around by the nose!

Going to the washroom is fun too, especially when you wait too long. Inevitably that will be the time when the tube gets caught on something or under the washroom door. So here you are pulling and flicking the tube, desperately try to get free before you wet yourself. Of course, as the panic rises, it never dawns on you just to take the stupid thing out of your nose, leave it behind and run. At least it never dawns on me at the time. In a turnabout, this morning, I actually couldn’t get out of the washroom, as the hose got caught under the door. It’s hard for me to get down on my knees to free the thing up, so there I was, stranded, mewling for help, caught by the nose and, of course, never even considering that I should take it off and walk away. Duh!

So, as you can see, life at the Penner home is a little entertaining at the moment. Whoever would have thought that breathing problems could present so many unexpected adventures and reveal me to be just a little slow on the uptake?


Matthew said...

Again, you never realize how much a simple thing like home oxygen can affect someone's life so profoundly when you learn about in school... posts like this are really insightful for me, at least! Please keep it up.

Joel Penner said...


Twyla said...

Priceless! You describe it all so well. It's reassuring that you have pity on poor little Mindy. :)

I thought I'd let you in on a rather memorable event out here in Alberta. Monday (April 6) was blood clinic at Olds College. As I walked in, there were the college kids, trying to fit in their donation between homework and classes. I was warned by one of the nurses checking me in to watch the bottle of water at the snack counter; it was actually vodka. One of the fellows setting people up with needles, bags and vials to squeeze was plastered with tattoos and was garnished with piercings. (I saw him at the Didsbury clinic as well; he's a regular nurse.) After a short chat with the other nurses who were bustling about as they took my little donation, I headed to the snack table. I shared the recommended sugar binge with a bar maid, a party girl and a guy that looked like he might be a biker dude. (I felt right at home.) Some of the volunteer Kinsmen came and visited with us, making sure none of us would keel over. The Kinsmen were passionate about what they were doing. There were people there of every imaginable personality type. I looked around and thought, "What an awesome crew".

For those Didsburians that are reading this and don't know it, there's another clinic coming. It's right here at the Memorial Complex on June 1. Please make an appointment. I asked the nurse if there might be some stats available online so I could do some research. She freely offered some. She said that they can't keep the blood on the shelves any longer than three days, generally. They really are in short supply. I'm pretty sure that most people reading this have safe blood. Call 1-888-2-DONATE.