My Nasal Cannula Won’t Keep Me From Canoodling With My Love

Ann Reynoso avatar

by Ann Reynoso |

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Most of us crave intimacy. Not only on a physical level, but more importantly on an emotional, intellectual, experiential, and spiritual level.

I am a very emotional person; it’s easy to see in my writing. I wear my heart on my sleeve. My mother always said I was the “emotional one.” I never minded that and it never was a problem for me. Until now.

The nose cannula strikes back

As I have written about before, I am oxygen-dependent, and I have given names to all my oxygen companions to learn to feel more comfortable about all these new attachments to my body. Somehow, in learning to be comfortable with my new attachments, I found that I lost the want for intimacy.

I have become self-conscious and self-aware of my breathing. I know this sounds silly, but breathing with a nose cannula on sounds like Darth Vader. I always want to say, “Luke, I am your father,” every time I am near someone. This does not make for an intimate moment when I am with my husband.

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Of course, he insists that it does not bother him, but I cannot see how it wouldn’t. When we are in silence, I can’t help but hear the loud breathing sound coming from my pulse oxygen concentrator. It is so loud! Disastrously loud! It just ruins any romantic and intimate moment. Right when you are going in for that sweet kiss, and all you hear is Darth Vader.

I can honestly say that my husband and I enjoy a sweet and emotional intimate relationship. It’s just that at times I allow my illness to take charge and it can ruin the harmony of our intimacy. What I need is to throw Darth Vader out the window and let Princess Leia in. But how can I make myself comfortable with my oxygen and all its attachments to feel that I am worthy and capable of being a Princess Leia?

Expressing myself with my nasal cannula

I have decided to make some changes to the appearance of my nose cannula, to become creative and make different styles with it. Who said that we could not become cannula fashionistas?

After searching the internet for colored nose cannulas, I found that no one has come up with the idea of safely creating different fashions. So I decided to create fun ways of expressing my illness by dressing up my nose cannulas.

intimacy | Pulmonary Fibrosis News | Ann Reynoso shows off the butterfly ornaments she's placed on her nasal cannula

Columnist Ann Reynoso shows off her butterfly-decorated nasal cannula. (Courtesy of Ann Reynoso)

intimacy | Pulmonary Fibrosis News | Columnist Ann Reynoso shows off a romantic face mask

Columnist Ann Reynoso shows off a face mask she could wear with her nasal cannula during a romantic dinner for two. (Courtesy of Ann Reynoso)

intimacy | Pulmonary Fibrosis News | Columnist Ann Reynoso shows off a necktie she would wear to complement her nasal cannula

Columnist Ann Reynoso shows off an expressive necktie that complements her nasal cannula. (Photo Courtesy of Ann Reynoso)

intimacy | Pulmonary Fibrosis News | Columnist Ann Reynoso wears a festive holiday face mask with her nasal cannula

Columnist Ann Reynoso wears a festive holiday face mask with her nasal cannula. (Courtesy of Ann Reynoso)

Feeling better about intimacy

Since romance has taken on a new meaning for me, it is important that it feels genuine. I like the inhibition of emotional intimacy, but I always feel as if I let my illness become that third wheel.

Sometimes, resetting our emotions requires stepping away from our negative thoughts. If my husband thinks I am beautiful, then why should I have a hard time believing it myself? He sees me beyond my illness.

At the beginning of this year, I began to work on my physical health, and I have been feeling stronger because of it. Now it is time to work on expressing myself intimately. I know that I am a beautiful woman inside and out. I have no reason to believe otherwise. It is time I use this knowledge and not be afraid of intimacy. So, what if Betty, my oxygen concentrator, is wailing away on the other side of the room? She is just proving to me that life is pouring into my lungs so that I can enjoy my life.

I cannot allow my illness to hinder my romantic life. I want to create a romantic story that I someday can write about.

Sometimes, chronic illness causes us to give up on the thought of romance. We suffer, and so does our partner. Each day I wake up, I am thankful that I get to see my husband for another day. I don’t want to let my life pass me by just because I have an illness. It is what I make of this illness. I can either let it suffocate me, or I can allow myself to breathe life into it. I choose the latter. Romance is still alive, and I am going to take it by the cannula and enjoy it.


Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.


Sally Schofield avatar

Sally Schofield

You're a beautiful writer and a beautiful woman. I think naming your medical paraphernalia is inspired and I particularly love your butterfly canula! Best wishes.

Ann Reynoso avatar

Ann Reynoso

Thank you Sally Schofield. It makes me happy and grateful that i can reach out to others through my columns. Wishing you smiles, kindness and happy days.

Nilda Townsend avatar

Nilda Townsend

Ann, you have echoed so many of my feelings. Thanks for expressing your thoughts in such a beautiful way, especially when you say, "life is pouring into my lungs so that I can enjoy my life." That's what I will continue to focus on, enjoying my life and improving where I can.
Sending grateful and positive thoughts your way.

Ann Reynoso avatar

Ann Reynoso

Thank you Nilda for your kind comment. I am grateful that my story has reached out to you. So many times we take for granted that we are healthy, until a serious, rare and chronic disease invades our bodies, but it does not have to invade our souls, our happiness, and our joy.
Stay strong, healthy, and happy. Wishing you joy.


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