I had a planned vacation to the east coast to meet a new grandchild and to help surprise my mom on her 90th birthday. I planned to be gone a month and took lots of knitting. Halfway through the trip I got sick~
I ignored it for nearly a week, assuming wrongly it was hay fever (the whole east coast was yellow with pollen) or maybe a problem with mold (it never stopped raining). By the time a nurse friend dragged me off to the Urgent Care, I was in trouble. Drastic measures were called for, including putting me on O2 24/7 (at sea level?!) and loading me up with steroids and antibiotics. My pal, bless her, hauled me home with her, rather than taking me back to my mom's, which was a very good thing, otherwise I think the doctor would have stuck me in the hospital. Pays to have a retired nurse as a pal...
I thought about to turning myself in to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) as an index case. (first known case). Yeah. For Mom's 90th birthday present, I managed to put her in the hospital with pneumonia. (She's better, thank all the powers that be.) I rewarded my friend by infecting her too. When she went to the same Urgent Care place she'd taken me, the waiting room was full of people "all sounding like we do" and the receptionist said they'd been seeing a constant stream of cases of the same thing, everyone suddenly down with something that went straight to the chest and made them very ill. When she saw the doctor, he said to thank me for bringing him so much new business~
Now all that was bad enough, but the real problem was that the loaner 50lb liquid O2 tank leaked all of its contents on the trip east and when I really needed it, it was empty! You would not believe the hoops we had to jump through to get a replacement. We eventually did, a 75-pounder, which lived in the back of my car and we ran the tubing up over the porch roof and into the bedroom window. So, the things to be learned from my lack of preparation and planning are:
- Always know who your O2 provider will refer you to when traveling and figure your route out in, say, 4 hours driving from a branch, if possible,
- Always know those branch phone numbers, including an emergency by-pass number to get to a real human,
- Always know if the branch offices along your route have any special limitations, like not providing liquid O2, or only being open on the 2nd Tuesday of the month and whether the closest branch to a stop is still outside their delivery area (yes, it was),
- And last, but not least, figure out who can help you move a big piece of O2 equipment. Silly me, I never even thought about asking the police station/emergency services for help. I got to the point of “gee, everybody I know here is either older, sicker, or blew out their back long ago” and just shut down~ Crying when you are streaming vast quantities of mucus and can't breathe through either your nose or very well through your mouth is not recommended and not a pretty sight.