Have you ever solved a HUGE problem with a really simple solution?
Didn’t you feel silly?
When that HUGE problem results in lost quality family time,
and even the loss of your quality of life …
it’s more than silly it’s tragic.
Let me tell you a story about an aging loved one who was effected by extreme fatigue that was much more serious than her family suspected!
(If this isn’t a concern in your life, skip to the bottom of the post and see how this might be effecting you even if you are young and active!)
[jbox width=”550″ color=”yellow” border=”10″]Yolanda just hated using oxygen.
She had been hospitalized many times but just couldn’t bring herself to use it on a consistent basis.
When I advised Yolanda that her oxygen levels were so low that they were life threatening, she would become very agitated with me.
“Be serious”, she’d say. “I can’t possibly drag that oxygen tank all over town with me!”
Each time I saw her it was the same story, and each time I saw her she had a recent hospitalization or trip to emergency to tell me about.
It was just ongoing. Yolanda had no quality of life, and neither did her family, because they spent so much time making emergency trips to the hospital.
When I saw Yolanda after a particularly lengthy hospitalization, she was looking defeated and depressed. She said if she had to spend her life at the end of a leash, she may as well just lie down and die.
I challenged her on that!
I got her up out of bed, switched her to portable oxygen and carried the tank to her garden. She was protesting, but I wasn’t having it.
It was a beautiful morning, and the cardinals were socializing, so we were in for a treat. The two of us sat there and lost track of time.
We chatted about her flowers and Yolanda told me hilarious stories about her grand-son. (Don’t worry Kai, your secret is safe with me.)
When Yolanda’s daughter showed up, I figured that was the best possible time to bring up the dreaded subject she had been avoiding all day.
“You know Yolanda, you might be able to enjoy more days like today with the people you care about if you just stop shoving your oxygen in the closet pretending you don’t need it.”
Yolanda was a long time smoker and had very low oxygen levels. I had been advising her that she needed to use supplemental oxygen to meet her oxygen needs, or she was going to lose her eye sight, her short-term memory, and her strength.
I just hadn’t been able to say that in front of her daughter. Her daughter was usually at work, and when I told Yolanda, I’m sure she forgot about it.
(After all, low oxygen levels DO cause short-term-memory loss!)
Of course, memory loss or no, Yolanda WANTED to forget about it, because she felt it was an unreasonable, inconvenience, AND it messed up her make-up!
I hugged Yolanda and apologized for telling on her before I left, but she looked too worn out to protest.
Yolanda did manage to stay out of the hospital for long stretches that following year, but living in denial had really taken its toll. Her heart muscle had been significantly weakened while she was starving herself of oxygen.
Her daughter, Kai’s mom, was happy to be able to care for her mother without turning her life upside down.
“I wish she would have taken better care of herself, but I’m really glad to know that there is a simple way to keep her out of the hospital more of the time”, she said.
Then she pointed at her mom, as a parent would a child and said, “you should be ashamed of yourself. If you can’t take care of yourself for you, could you at least do it for us?”
I have to give Yolanda credit. She really did take the message to heart, at long last, and make an effort to take better care of herself. Her daughter bought a pulse oximeter, so that there was no more arguing about whether or not Yolanda needed oxygen.
It made her nose run, so she was forever putting the prongs in her mouth, or pulling it down below her nose, but hey, she worked with it.
If Yolanda had taken the many years of simple advice, she could have saved herself a lot of suffering. Continue reading article