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February 28th, 2010

The best things in life are free, until one's body begins to give out.  Then they can get enormously expensive and frustrating.  When free air must be replaced by liquid oxygen it can get more expensive than food and shelter for an uninsured person.  Thank goodness for Medicare and a curse on whatever forces are responsible for the cost of medical care.  We have got used, over the years, to liquid oxygen being part of the furniture of our home and lives.  Until recently we have used a "pulse" system that delivers oxygen when the user inhales.  After Dianne's bout with pneumonia in December we have had to go to a "continuous flow" system which is cumbersome and does not give a good indicator of how much oxygen the user is getting.  Fortunately we have an blood oxygenation meter which can warn us ( within minutes and when we bother to use it).  The delivery container is called "the companion" which sounds nice, but would also be a great title for a horror movie.  (Privately, I call it "the stalker.")  Dianne's reserves of  lung capacity are so low right now that a few minutes of oxygen deprivation can cause the sort of problems that led us to dial 911 in December.

Dianne is sleeping now (it is 1:13 pm) because she ran out of oxygen this morning, and neither of us picked up on it for several (many?) minutes.  (the device tells us it has oxygen after it has run out.  Its not like the gas gauge in a car (though it looks like one) which gives plenty of time to get to the gas station after it reads empty.)  Of course, this adds to our frustration, Dianne's fear, and my guilt.  Last night I accidentally froze the delivery cannister while filling it.  (evidently the point at which oxygen liquifies must be very near the point at which it solidifies, given enough pressure)  It is also hard to tell when the cannister is full as opposed to overful.  There is no slackrope system and we must wait several (many?) minutes for it to unfreeze.    Well, free as the air, they say; and things will get back on track when Dianne awakens.  We are doing ok.  Love, peace and joy to you all.

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bobby1933
bobby1933

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