Oxygen Mobility was created out of love and the desire to help others. My mom, who developed pneumonia in the spring of 2016, was prior to that illness a very healthy 70+ person. She was active in gardening, traveling, bee keeping, you name it and she did it. However this illness hit her hard, and as a result, she was diagnosed with several issues. One being a respiratory issue (they think linked to her childhood polio) which required her to be on Oxygen Therapy (or OT for short) from then on. She also, at that point on, required a CPAP. Not for sleep apnea but for another reason, so there are multiple areas of oxygen maintenance we gained vast knowledge in healthy maintenance.
After watching her struggle to just get around the house, and after coming home and seeing how frustrated she was, it wasn’t long before she started to work on ways to regain her independence. And that meant she had to find alternatives to the large cumbersome bottle (aka tank) and cart she had to be able to leave the house. Still physically weak from the pneumonia (as some know it takes nearly a year to recover physically and in some ways mentally – as the oxygen deprivation and strain takes a toll on mental capacity), she had a hard time carting her oxygen.
So that the spurred the search for alternatives. Inquiries started, and as a result it was amazing how little the “experts” knew and therefore you have to know to know what to ask. The pulmonologists order the oxygen. The vendor who supplies the oxygen provides the in-home concentrator and cannulas, but what if you want to go outside and sit in your garden, or get out and about to go to dinner? What if you have family out of town or out of state and you want to visit them? How do you manage? The Doctors often don’t know, as their job is to prescribe the Liters of oxygen needed, not now to get back to your regular activities. And the company who supplied the concentrator rental to mom was more concerned about her health and less about options. They work with the pulmonologists to make sure the settings are correct. Pulmonologists tend to be more focused on in-home nursing and rehab, and less about getting back to life. How does one get back to gardening and getting around town? Additionally, the more active you are, the faster you recover, and longevity dramatically improves!! Well if you are like my mom and not great with anything “internet”, it takes some time to figure it out.
I happened to be out of town that spring, and by the time I had returned (my sister was doing the in-home care and she had to go back to her home a few states away), I was behind the curve in understanding what was needed. How frustrating is that to be the adult child, not able to help my mom who has always been there for me. My learning curve was just about as great as hers was but in a different way. Meanwhile, in the process of all of her research, she found breathing exercises that were tremendously helpful. The breathing exercises are there to help in case you get caught with out Oxygen support. She practiced them every day, and to the amazement of the pulmonologist, after a while she no longer required OT during the day. She was able to keep her Oxygen saturation up in the low to mid 90s all day. Well, except for bad weather days. Those required support. But that was a first! No one had seen that happen before. Life was good. She still needed a CPAP at night while sleeping but it was great to see her get back to doing what she loved, working in the garden, tending her bees, and travel if she chose.
In fact, one summer she went to Ireland with my sister. We learned a lot about traveling with oxygen support with that trip. It was on that trip that we discovered that not all vendor battery information is entirely correct. But crisis averted, she made it through customs, car rental and to the car using her breathing exercises and she was fine. Travel resumed and the trip was wonderful.
So it was even more frustrating in the spring of 2019 to again see her struggle with another round of pneumonia. This time it was a week in the ER, 3 weeks in the hospital, and 2 weeks of rehab before she could get home. Thankfully we had the tools for her to not have to be tripping over her cannulas, and with a small backpack tank, she could do her in-home rehab with the Physical Therapist who wanted her to walk down the sidewalk as part of the regiment for getting her strength back. About a later, and one of the things I said I would do is try to figure out a way to help others. Sure you can look for yourself but I wanted to bring it all together, the ability to connect, share, access to supplies, information, all of it.
I am not a doctor. Nor am I expressing anything to be a cure. I am a daughter who cares, and a mom of 3 beautiful children who have watched their grandmother struggle and have been good sports to help run errands for her. I want to make it easier on most importantly those who are not so great at navigating the internet. I am trying to design this to be easy to use. A tool for not just information but also bringing vendors to all of you who might not know where to go.
Right now, I am working on vendor links to connect you to suppliers of portable concentrators, or CPAP options or supplies. I am however able to help via blog, email, or if needed I can set up a phone session or Webex (live video meeting). The most important thing is to share what we have learned in hopes that others can be spared the trials and tribulations of navigating through a new situation. It is hard enough to deal with health issues, but then to have to be “tied to a machine”, can be even more frustrating. Let me know what you need and I will do my best to, at minimum, point you in the right direction.
In time there will be links to help get you there. Please be patient. I am also figuring out the nuances of making a user friendly site, as my mom has exclaimed on more than one occasion, “how am I supposed to know that is what I am supposed to click on” [to order something or see the product, etc.]. The most important thing is that the information is here. I can direct you to vendors and suppliers. But I hope to get them set up soon. Let me know via blog or email, what you are looking for, and we can go from there.
UPDATES Dec. 2021: Mom passed in June of this year. She was happy to be able to stay home right up until the end, and that is where she wanted to be. My sister and I were granted the ability to sit with her and hold her hands at her request (the Covid restrictions had lightened just enough), so that she wasn’t alone. And the nursing staff and doctors were great to help her be comfortable, for that I am grateful.
AND in keeping with the goals mom and I made, I am moving forward with some things we wanted to do. Therefore I have developed an oxygen tank backpack that has better features. I am trying to get it listed on Amazon and Instagram. Let me know if you have questions… I am always here for you.
You can email any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy (and safe) travels!