LIVING ON AIR
light-hearted tips
from a home oxygen
user

the kit

Vivian Cook

  • Think of supplemental oxygen as an absorbing new hobby that will take up your time with planning and activities.
  • A preliminary weights-training course is recommended to build up muscles for turning stopcocks and for carrying and handling oxygen cylinders.
  • As you walk from room to room, check every ten feet or so that oxygen tubing is not looped around doorknobs, curled round chair feet or stuck under sleeping cats, in order to keep your ears firmly attached to your face.
  • Do not casually drop your small oxygen cylinder onto your bed as your head may follow if the cannula is still attached to you.
  • In hospital, ensure that the drip and the oxygen tube are on the same side of the bed; otherwise you will be unable to get out either side.
  • Persuade your cat that long green tubing is neither an amazing new toy nor a previously unknown species of snake.
  • Do not swear at your oxygen equipment or it will get its revenge.
  • Appreciate the opportunity to re-plan your kitchen for safety, ideally without any heat sources within three metres of you; Levi-Strauss (1964) The Raw and the Cooked may be helpful. Think induction hobs and microwave oven grills.
  • Explain to visitors that wearing minimal clothing in the kitchen reduces the hazardous aura of oxygen that surrounds you.
  • Learn to jump swiftly backwards if someone lights a gas ring near you without thinking.
  • Ensure hourly that the leads for charging and connecting phones/laptops/ipods/hand fans, your cables for powering lights/TV/recliners, your oxygen tubing and cannulas, and your headphones and glasses are not too tangled.
  • Holes made by a rat in internal doors provide useful gaps for tubing when closing doors.
  • Look forward to the hotel that your oxygen supplier promises to put you up in if a power-cut exceeds the backup time for your concentrator.
  • Take pleasure in the exclusive list of 24 hour emergency helplines that is now available to you from health, care and power organizations.
  • Enjoy the arguments with your home insurers about how much oxygen cylinders are worth, so that they can increase your premium.
  • Plan going up the stairs like Everest camps, cylinders for ascent and descent, tubing to keep you breathing at the summit.
  • Shouting on the phone at the oxygen provider who arrives an hour early and so fails to replace the empty cylinders you haven't put out yet is simply squandering your precious oxygen store.
  • Appreciate how planning oxygen deliveries keeps you in touch with the passing months and seasons, particularly weekends and bank holidays, and provides useful cognitive training.
  • Remember that, if you get your oxygen safety precautions badly wrong, you will go out with a bang, not a whimper.

     Vivian Cook