The medical and technical marvels of the world today would lead us to believe that there would be a far better system for oxygen users. But then, like a cure for disease, it would sure cut into profits.
If you qualify – the Doctor will call in a “prescription” to the oxygen supply company who will determine what kind of machine you will get – per the guidelines. As a side note – without a doubt –you will also get a prescription from the doctor for an inhaler. And I bet, even if you don’t qualify for oxygen you would leave with a script for an inhaler. Very big money in those. The people I have talked to are paying anywhere from $200. to $500. per month for them. It truly is a racket.
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People who need oxygen have little choice in the matter. The system knows this and take full advantage of the situation. The medical and technical marvels of the world today would lead us to believe that there would be a far better system for oxygen users. But then, like a cure for disease, it would sure cut into profits.
I am sure we have all seen those ugly silver canisters being packed by oxygen users. What we might not know is that they are only good for a short time. One to three hours, depending on you liter number.
My Mom was on 4 liters and it lasted about an hour or a little more. She could not even go do her own grocery shopping unless she took extra ones with her. In that case she would also need someone along to pack the extra’s. After a couple of close calls with oxygen running short, she finally gave up and had to hire someone to go do her grocery shopping. After that she never left her apartment the rest of her life except for medical appointments.
Important FYI regarding your drivers license. The DMV has a form that you will need filled out by your Doctor stating your oxygen is not an impairment to your driving in order to renew your license. Do it before hand otherwise you will get to the DMV and find this out and then have a long wait while getting that all done. A friend had her license expire during that period.
Before talking about the various machines available let’s understand the two different ways the oxygen is delivered to the patient via these machines. WE have pulse flow and constant flow. Pulse sends timed bursts of oxygen — while constant is just that, the oxygen flows non stop. The big machines and canisters that are provided by a oxygen company all have constant flow oxygen. We will get to the pulse flow portable concentrators in a bit. Note: All oxygen concentrator machines (big and small) require electricity, and/or, battery to run them while the canisters are compressed with an adjustable valve.
If you qualify for night time or full time oxygen, the Oxygen Company will bring a big -constant flow- machine to your home. They typically weight around 50lbs and approximately 30″ tall x 16″ wide. Older models might be even bigger and heavier. They plug in to electricity to operate.
Since they are big, heavy and plugged it – it stands to reason they will stay pretty stationary even thou they are on rollers. NOTE: always a good idea to have a generator available should the power go out. You know, so you don’t die.
Then comes the tubing. You will get a long length that is generally from 25′ to 100′. Then, a shorter 4′ or 7′ piece which has the nasal cannula that you put in your nose and it hooks to that long hose with a little plastic swivel.
There you go. Now your mobile around your house. With limitations of course. You might reach the bathroom but not the kitchen. Or you may make it to bed but not the bathroom. Never fear, they have one of those ugly gray canisters to switch out to in the middle of the night while your still asleep so you can make it in to take a pee. OH.. and be sure to have a flashlight handy so you do not get a foot tangled in all that tubing. My Mom took several spills from getting tangled in it.
Along with the BIG machine they may bring you a back up in case the big machine would break down or you have a power outage. Its a larger version of the ugly little silver canister and it’s on a cart you can pull around. It will only last a few hours depending on what number liter your on so one would only hope that the repair man could fit you into his schedule within that time frame.
My Mom had one and in looking at it I realized you would defiantly need to refer to the instruction manual to figure out how to turn it on and regulate it. The only upside to the canisters is they don’t need electricity. I will again suggest having a generator.
Then we have the portable concentrators that are extremely popular in spit of their issues. You can purchase your own from a small handful of companies that sell them and the prices are nearly exact among them all. I would assume it’s some kind of combined racket going on there that one will not try to undercut the other. Following are photos of two of the most popular models.
The average price is around $2500. It’s more should you want an extra battery or a bundle with several accessories. Sometimes they will have a few used models available for a little less $$. And never fear, these companies are hooked up with a lending company that will give you the credit to purchase. Beware the short term, HIGH payments and high interest rates. They tack on a few hundred right to the total.
Please continue to PART 3
If you missed PART 1 you can find it HERE