Big surprises often come in small packages that can make a huge difference in a person’s life. Read one patient’s personal story…
For Cathy Work, a happy-go-lucky grandmother and resident of Sandusky, Ohio, life changed for the better when she found out about OxyGo® POCs. A small OxyGo POC gave her back a sense of independence and the opportunity to once again live a happy and meaningful life. This is Cathy’s story.
When health issues related to scarred lungs forced Cathy to be put on continuous flow oxygen in her home, her life changed from happy to sad. Used to coming and going as she pleased, the restrictions of being tethered to oxygen tanks 24/7 sent her spiraling into a hurtful depression. It tested her will power and those of the loving family around her.
Home HealthCare TODAY (HHCT) editor-in-chief Victoria Marquard interviewed Cathy and her daughter, Angela, in their suburban Sandusky home this past February. It was Angela who discovered that an OxyGo POC unit was available to help free her mom from the monotony and confinement of oxygen tanks. So gratified were Cathy and Angela with the freedom OxyGo gave them that they happily agreed to the interview with the hope it would encourage other home oxygen patients and providers to make the switch to OxyGo POCs.
HHCT: Cathy, It’s obvious you are not a fan of having to use oxygen tanks. Please tell the home healthcare providers who read this article what life was like on oxygen tanks and why you recommend OxyGo POCs so highly.
Cathy: The tanks I used before OxyGo were bulky and very restrictive. I used tanks for almost a year before finding out about OxyGo. The tanks were a lot of work and I often found them exhausting to use and set up. The older you get, the harder it is to use them. I just didn’t want to go anywhere on tanks. It was so bad that my family was worried I was going to turn into a recluse.
HHCT: What happened when you depended on oxygen tanks?
Cathy: The tanks took so much fun out of my life and I was very self-conscious about them. And the number of tanks I needed just kept growing. I started out being given two tanks by my provider. I worked up to four tanks and then eight tanks. It was too much bother. I would only make the trips I had to. I would often not be able to go where I wanted to go because I had to wait to fill tanks. The tanks put me on a time limit. It was very traumatic having tanks all around me.
HHCT: Why did you have to be on the tanks? How did they impact your health?
Cathy: I could not sleep well or do anything with them. Not being able to breathe is difficult. I need my oxygen because of scarring of my lungs. If I had known OxyGo was available when I was so stubborn I would not have gone off oxygen before my levels got so low.
It took a lot for me to realize I had to stay on oxygen. I just didn’t want those damn tanks. I used tanks for almost a year and looking back on it I would not wish that on anyone. When I first heard I had to be on oxygen I was devastated.
HHCT: What has the OxyGo POC unit done for you?
Cathy: Where do I start? For one thing I am a lot less self-conscious now. I remember going to a football game for one of my grandchildren. I dropped a tank at one of his games and I could tell people wanted to get away from me. They saw me as a fire hazard. OxyGo gave me my life back. Now I want to go places. I can take OxyGo to the pool, beach, grocery store, shopping. I am often gone 8-10 hours a day. I love to shop. If I want to, I can spend 4 hours a day in Walmart.
HHCT: How easy and reliable is OxyGo to use?
Cathy: OxyGo reliability is 100% vs. tanks. I have had tanks that ran out on me and I had to rush back home. I am not mechanically inclined at all and even some kitchen appliances are a challenge for me. But OxyGo isn’t. I have my OxyGo charger in my car plus a backup charger. The batteries are easy to snap into place. My need is for things that are easy to use. OxyGo is easier for me to use than my kitchen appliances. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
HHCT: Who is your provider and how does the cost of using an OxyGo unit compare with tanks?
Cathy: They are no more expensive than tanks and I think they may actually be costing me less. OE Meyer is my provider in the Sandusky area. They put me on OxyGo and hooked me up to an OxyGo unit. My former provider did not offer me that type of machine.
My advice to people who need oxygen is to ask their provider about OxyGo. If they want to go places they should invest in an OxyGo. It will help them want to go places. You know, I was in a Kroger’s and a lady asked me about my OxyGo unit. She said her mother-in-law had passed and had led a life where she stayed home with tanks. It made me cry because I know how much better that person’s life would have been with an OxyGo.
HHCT: Angela, you are Cathy’s daughter and the person who discovered OxyGo for your mom’s use. Tell us how you learned about OxyGo and what OxyGo has meant to you.
Angela: When we found out mom had to be on continuous oxygen it was a blow. I found out about OxyGo from someone using one. I am a server at a local restaurant—people come in all the time with oxygen tanks and say they are on a time limit and need fast service— they tell me they have restrictions and need to be in and out quickly.
A lady came in one day on oxygen with no tank. I asked her about it—then researched it online. Since using oxygen from OxyGo my mom’s depression has lessened. OxyGo gave my mom her freedom back. It has affected my life because it has made my mom happier.
Tubing always makes always make the user feel self-conscious—but OxyGo makes it 90% easier to accept changes—not as self-conscious.
OxyGo has given my mom her life back and mine too. Freedom to be the type of person she was before. The extra double battery is even more amazing. Before OxyGo she could not go to Columbus, two hours away to see my sister. Now she can see her grandkids.
HHCT: Your mom talked about feeling self-conscious when tethered to the tanks. Has OxyGo truly helped her feel less self-conscious about being on oxygen?
Angela: Yes, very much so. When she dropped a tank at a football game, people fled. Tubing always makes always makes the user feel self-conscious—but OxyGo has made it 90% easier to accept. Mom is just not as self-conscious with OxyGo.
HHCT: What has been the biggest impact OxyGo has made in your life as a caregiver?
Angela: I can’t say enough about OxyGo because it has given my mom her life back. Now she can do things she wasn’t able to do before. She has used OxyGo all night even with CPAP. It’s a product that has definitely made her life a lot happier.
NOTE: This interview was conducted on February 8, 2017 and has been edited for conciseness and continuity. The complete interview can be seen as a video on the OxyGo website.