Sharing Supplemental Oxygen.
I wanted to ask you all a quick question regarding sharing your supplemental oxygen. Before you wonder why on earth I would consider this, please read below for my explanation.
A couple of weeks ago a close friend of mine shared with me that she felt very scared due to feeling short of breath with just basic activities, and having a persistent fever for a few days. Assuming something like pneumonia, because she has never had any issues with her lungs before, I advised her to go to the hospital to be checked out. She went to the ER a day later, and since she has recently been travelling, the ER doctor ordered a CT scan of her lungs to rule out a potential blood clot from her flights. They quickly discovered that her lymph nodes were enlarged and pressing on some of her lungs, reducing her ability to breath and causing her saturations to drop anywhere between 89 – 93/94. She was admitted to hospital that night, and needless to say, was feeling pretty scared!
They ordered a battery of tests for her, including blood work for Sarcoidosis, TB, Lymphoma and a number of other things. She really had to advocate for using oxygen when she felt short of breath, which I can’t really say I understand. Her doctor explained the difference between feeling like you need oxygen (which would of course cause anxiety) and actually needing it, as her sats seemed to recover quickly if they did drop. I couldn’t understand why putting it on even to alleviate her anxiety when feeling like she needed oxygen would be problematic? Anyways, she did get a bit of it from time to time and she said it made an incredible difference, as all of us who use supplemental oxygen can attest to. She said she wasn’t struggling to breath as much, could sleep more comfortably and knew her heart wasn’t working as hard.
It took about 8 days to figure out what was going on, and it turns out she does have Sarcoidosis, which is an autoimmune disease and will flare up periodically throughout her lifetime. It may not always impact her lungs, but will from time to time and could impact other areas of her body as well. It is when there is excessive inflammation in her body, and usually the enlarged lymph nodes become problematic to the lungs. She is doing a lot better now, but still struggling with shortness of breath episodes and fearing that she cannot breathe, even though her doctor said she is getting the oxygen she needs. This leads to my next question: would it be harmful to her if I shared my oxygen with her in the event of an emergency, or when she felt short of breath?
I keep my personal oxygen concentrator with me at all times, with extra cannulas in the carrying case. I also keep a small tank at work in my Manager’s office in the event I needed it. If she were to use one of my new cannulas, and administered my oxygen to her even for a few moments until she felt better, do you think I am putting her more at risk than not? I can’t foresee a problem with this, especially if it is only a very brief period of time that she uses it, until normal breathing returned for her but I know how scary it is to feel like you can’t breathe and therefore, I want to help by offering her even a quick solution. She may end up with supplemental oxygen prescribed to her anyways, but she doesn’t see her doctor as an outpatient for a few weeks yet, so my question really is about this intermediate period.
Can anyone offer me their thoughts on this, and what you might do in this situation? I’d really love to hear from you as I’m torn because I don’t ever want to make her worse, but I also don’t want to see her struggle when I know getting oxygen in hospital, even briefly, eliminated that struggle for her quickly.
Thank you all in advance for reading this long post.
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