A Caregiver’s Story…. Breathe.


I don’t think I have told you. We have a construction project going on.  My cute little house is having a face lift; of sorts. When mom came to live with us she took the existing master suite with the connecting bath. All other areas of the house, except sleeping spaces, are shared. With four adults, one medium sized goat and a tiny cat who stalks through the house like a lioness, our petite house would politely be called, “cozy.” The hubs and I have been sleeping in the den, and we’d like to have space to call our own, and have well, privacy and a little room to breathe. Accordingly, we are adding a second master suite above the garage.

We’ve talked about adding on for quite a while but finally took the plunge in getting the project started last fall. Now that spring has sprung, the construction is progressing quickly. It’s a fascinating and noisy process. Even with the incessant noise, the animals aren’t affected like I thought they’d be and mom takes out her hearing aides and isn’t bothered by the noise at all.

Going into the construction phase, one thing we insisted upon is that any interruption of power, heat or water be told to us in advance so we can plan accordingly. With moms age and medical issues each one of these items is a necessity. Hence, we were told power was going to be out for part of the day. No power, no concentrator. No concentrator means mom uses the portable O2 bottles.  What were we going to do to address this issue?

We decided to take the day, go out for breakfast, head south for some shopping and try and figure out flooring for the addition. However, life had other plans.

We began with our normal prep for a day long trip.  We loaded the car with oxygen bottles, water, shopping bags, ice and any other paraphernalia deemed necessary. Then getting mom into the car proved to be strenuous for her. From there, things took a down turn. Getting into the restaurant was an issue.  Mom walked about twenty feet and was taxed to such a degree that her lips and fingertips were purple. She didn’t have her oximeter with her so I couldn’t see what her saturation levels where; though it was obvious that her saturation wasn’t good.

Usually, given time and rest, mom’s breathing will normalize. We took our time ordering breakfast, having the waiter return numerous times to see if we decided. And we waited. Sure enough, mom’s coloring returned to normal.

Despite our initial concern, we did manage to get through breakfast without further incident but mom was still having a hard time keeping her saturation levels up while on the portable tanks. Consequently, we changed our minds about shopping and went home. When we got home, the electricity was on. Seeing we had power, we quickly got mom back on her concentrator.  By this time, mom was plum tuckered out and chose to take a nap. Gratefully, her breathing and saturation levels were normal for the rest of the day.

I must say, most of the time, mom is fine on her portable oxygen tanks. But then there are those aberrant days when they just don’t work for her. I find that perplexing. I guess that is one more puzzle that I need to figure out.

Life, these days, are made to be flexible, be patient, relax and to breathe.




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  1. #1 by bluestempond on May 2, 2016 - 9:05 am

    Flexibility is the name of the game!


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