CaroleHammett Posted September 7, 2008 Share Posted September 7, 2008 The O2 percentage of those whose lungs are healthy tends to range between 97 and 99%. It is when our O2 percentage drops below 91% that we tend to be prescribed supplemental O2 to bring us up to 91-94% (generally not higher because there is a danger of carbon dioxide poisoning if we let our levels reach maximum percentages; i.e., 97-99%). Most of us who are on supplemental O2 do not have our own oximeters (which measure both O2 percentage and pulse), but in my case I purchased my own out of pocket due to the facts that that (1) mine tends to fluctuate significantlyu; and (2) when I'm at sea level I can often cease using supplemental entirely (as vs. here at home in mile high country). I've been on supplemental O2 since May of '07, primarily due to a bout of radiation pneumonitis that inflamed my lung tissue, primarily in my right lower lobe, the location of my primary tumor. At home, I use an electric oxygen concentrator; when away from home, I've used--variously--compressed oxygen, liquid pulse oxygen, liquid continuous feed oxygen; and a portable oxygen concentrator when flying. Most of the time I've been able to keep it down to 1 liter (2 liters on exertion), which also means that most of the time when I'm in California (at sea level), I've actually been able to forego its use entirely. There have also been a number of occasions during the last year and a half when my supplemental O2 needs have risen drastically (as high as 4-5 liters)--usually due to a return bout of radiation pneumonitis (which also requires an increase in Prednisone dosage), but sometimes for inexplicable reasons. This past week I had another "scare;" i.e., I awoke one morning and measured my oxygen just after getting up to go to the bathroom and back to bed, whereupon I discovered it was at only 76%. Over the next couple days, it continued to fluctuate drastically and, needless to say, based on my current situation, I jumped to the "logical" conclusion that my lungs were deteriorating (presumably due to a growth in size and number of new nodules). I cannot deny that this thought was depressing and when I put it together with the fact that I've been tiring more easily last couple weeks, I have to admit to becoming anxious, with the result that my ever-present tendency to insomnia also worsened (aided of course by the Prednisone). Then, this Friday, my hospice RN came to check my vitals, etc., and according to her, my lungs sounded as good as ever; i.e., the right lower lobe, location of the primary tumor, has always been bad, but according to her, the remainning four lobes continue to be clear. I mentioned to her that my insomnia had been worse of late and asked if fatigue could be the cause, but she said fatigue should have no effect on my O2. That's when my own light bulb went off (despite chemo fog!) and we both now believe that I may have spolved the mystery; that is: I have always had a tendency to breath through my mouth (adenoidal) rather than my nostrils and when I went on supplemental O2 last year, initially I had to work at remembering to breathe through my nose (where the cannula is). HOWEVER, when I am tired, I tend to fall back to mouth breathing and last week I was particularly tired (having only had 10 hrsnd. sleep in three days the first part of the week). And, according to my RN, everyone tends to breathe through their mouth when tired (a primary reason for snoring as well). And, I had had two good night's sleep in a row when she came by Friday and my supplemental O2 was back down to 1-2 liters (from 3-4 liters earlier in the week). I have been paying close attention since Friday and have caught myself "mouth breatihing" several times, have corrected the problem and had no more severe fluctuations (I was even able to stay at 1-2 liters at the Rockies-Astros game in Denver last night! ) Anyway, I just thought I'd pass this info along to those of you who are also on supplemental O2 in case it might be of help. Affectionately, Carole PS Check out my new (first ever) tatoo below! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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