For someone who is supposedly fairly bright, well educated, and has an adequate amount of life experience, I can be rather dim. I was having one of my puffy moments – when breathing itself seems like the most tiring and strenuous activity, and every breath in takes concentration to lift my ribcage (you know that feeling when your leg muscles are burning because you have been walking too far or standing for too long or something, that but in your chest muscles). I recently had a new Claire (O2 machine) installed and she is (supposedly) superdooper powerful and goes up to 8litres, allowing me to have more oxygen when I need it. At the same time, the nice man fitted a little bottle which is filled with water and then humidifies the oxygen, as well as providing a nice little bubbling noise which I like to imagine is a zen-type water feature like celebrities might install in their house or similar.
I figured this was quite a good opportunity to road test new higher flow O2 and decided to switch to my higher concentration mask and turn the flow rate up. As I went to do so I noticed that the humidifier was on empty, so idly wandered over to the kettle which had some relatively cool water in, took it over to the oxygen machine, and unscrewed the bottle. What I hadn’t quite accounted for was the minute I did that my oxygen flow stopped. And I wasn’t feeling particularly fabulous in the first place. I have the somewhat amusing logic that when I am doing something which makes me breathless or that I have to take my oxygen off for, for some reason best known to myself (actually I am not even sure why) I rush through said thing even faster, in order to make it “be over” quicker I suppose, when of course pacing myself would be a much more sensible option. so sure enough, I felt the oxygen flow stop, and true to form started rushing to pick up the kettle and fill the bottle, making my heart thump harder, and I could feel my oxygen saturations dropping (fairly unsurprising as I had just upped my physical exertion whilst receiving no supplementary oxygen at all). I managed to get myself in a bit of a state and after leaning against the wall gasping like a fish and trying to calm down, had the prudence to connect up my portable oxygen to relieve my poor little lungs which were by now on absolute overdrive.
Needless to say, both heart and lungs are absolutely furious with me for my silly antics and have been having a strop ever since. Sadly it turns out the superdooper powerful Claire apparently doesn’t like being turned up to her maximum 8 litre capacity and starts alarming crossly at me, so I have had to resort to my lower % mask and have called out an engineer who will be with me some time this evening. Not quite sure what the point of an 8 litre machine is if she won’t run at 8 litres but hopefully it is a minor problem and easily rectifiable.
Mummy has been here all afternoon, lying next to me whilst I puff away, chatting incessantly in my ear and saying medically inept things like “would something to eat help?” In other words (though don’t tell her as she is impossible when praised) being a mummy in a million and just being “there”. She has also been keeping me amused with tales from the classroom. My mother is a teacher of very small people (roughly aged 6 I think) which is the perfect job for her as she is on the same wavelength as them so they get along rather well. My favourite tales of late have been about her “mad as a badger” child in her class, let’s call him H. My mum has a tendency to exaggerate so when she first proclaimed that this child was a tad unstable none of us really batted an eyelid, however when she offered the evidence that “he has eaten four pritt sticks (non toxic glue, but am still fairly sure it shouldn't be consumed) since starting in September” it seemed that perhaps this label is more justified than previously assumed. It turns out that H likes to chew things. Anything really. What amuses me more is my mothers concerns and disciplinary measures seem to follow along the lines of moving him away from the book corner on discovering that he was working his way through the classroom’s reading resources. Amusement factor increased when she described how having taken them swimming, H was marched out to the changing rooms by the instructor holding a float with bite sized chunks missing round the edge, only to be sternly reprimanded “too much float H!!”. Clearly the amount consumed is the problem here...