The Year of the Oximeter

Teresatalk

The Year of the Oximeter

Teresatalk
pulse-oximeter-719153_640Last year was the year of The Blood Pressure Cuff. That was my husband's main health concern, even with a broken ankle (and two months in a nursing facility), followed by a week-long hospital scare with sepsis in ICU.

One of the main concerns through it all was keeping his blood pressure at a tolerable level, calling for multiple cuff readings throughout the day. After several med changes, the doctors finally have it sorted out. But now another monster rears its head.

This is turning out to be the year of The Oximeter, that little thing they put on your finger in the emergency room to check your oxygen saturation. It started when he was diagnosed with sleep apnea last summer. This shouldn't be so hard, but when someone has a traumatic brain injury, with senile dementia setting in, there is no easy fix.

It should be easier in this household though. I've been a pulmonary outpatient myself for about ten years now, so I pride myself on knowing the ropes a little bit. I've been through at least two bi-paps and oxygen concentrators in my home, have taken pulmonary rehab twice, and know why pursed lip breathing helps. I know what ABGs are, without looking it up (arterial blood gases), and even what your CO2 level should be. And yes, I already have an oximeter right here to check his O2 level.

I should have a real handle on this area of care. But I'm discovering more resistance than I expected from my reluctant caregivee.

After last night's refusal to wear his oxygen cannula before falling asleep again, it dawned on me that I have to be doubly careful not to make him feel controlled in all this. Since I automatically know what I'm talking about, I have to keep that professional tone out of my voice, so he doesn't feel pushed or beaten into submission.

Therefore, I'm determined to dumb myself down and hopefully he'll be more willing to comply next time...

Or not.