# Sunday, 11 January 2009

Welcome home Oxygen Girl!

After an edge-of-the-seat rush that would have been worthy of a good thriller, we managed to get the Boss and Chaya Devoira home 25 minutes before Shabbos. As I mentioned before, we were expecting the home oxygen people to ring on Friday to arrange to come and assess the house. We thought this meant that they would come and install the system on Monday.

At around 11:30am on Friday, I had a telephone call from them, asking if it was OK to come round and install the system! I replied in the affirmative, and within about ten minutes, there was a chap at the door with cylinders, pipes and a machine. He said it would take about 20 minutes to install, and would then be ready for use. Contrary to our previous understanding, the machine turned out to be a fairly modest, portable affair that sits in the corner of the room, extracting oxygen from the air and pumping it down the outlet tube. This connects to the nasal specs, which are small prongs that go up Chaya Devoira's nostrils, and send oxygen to her lungs. This isn't as unpleasant as it sounds, as the prongs are quite short, but it does involve extra sticky tape on her face to hold them in place, as you can see in this picture...

Chaya Devoira having a cuddle with Grandma

If this were to be a long-term situation, they could plumb tubes around the house, so that she could be plugged in in any room. As we are hoping that this will only be for a few weeks, we opted to have a long piece of tube attached to the machine, so that we can trail it around the house to wherever we want to take her. He also gave us a back-up tank, and a couple of portable tanks, so that we can take her out of the house. These came with a fairly smart carry bag that goes on your back.

Excited with the thought of them coming home, I rang the Boss to tell her the good news, and to get her to ask to be discharged. That's where it all went wrong...

They couldn't find the doctor. I mean, this is a hospital, and they couldn't find the doctor! Unfortunately, without a doctor, Chaya Devoira couldn't be discharged. Furthermore, without a doctor, her medicines couldn't be prescribed.

Whilst trying to be as polite as possible, the Boss nagged them every few minutes until they managed to find the doctor. With that hurdle over, we had to sort out the medicines. Apparently, the pharmacy in the hospital has a turnaround time of four hours, putting it well into Shabbos. Thankfully, the nurses were on our case, and they managed to get this sorted out with about an hour to spare.

So, I set the bath going (as neither of us had managed one yet that day), and shot off to the hospital to pick them up. When I got there, I discovered that there was another hitch. For the last week in hospital, Chaya Devoira was on 0.1 litre/minute of oxygen whilst awake, and 0.2 litre/minute whilst asleep. Apparently you sleep more lightly when asleep, which was news to me as I thought you breathed more deeply, but that shows how much I know eh? Anyway, the doctor had prescribed 0.5 litre/minute, which seemed rather high to us. For those of you thinking that too much isn't a problem as long as she gets enough, it seems that too much can be as dangerous as too little, as if she gets too much, her body thinks that she has plenty of air and slows down her breathing, depriving her of nitrogen, the other main gas in the air we breathe. Apparently this is very dangerous.

So they had to find the doctor, and couldn't! Yup, this is the same hospital, and they couldn't find the doctor again - albeit a different doctor. Time was ticking away, and we were getting somewhat nervous. We tried ringing the home oxygen company, but they referred us back to the doctor. Eventually, we persuaded them to let us go home. The nurse was going to continue to try and see what she could find out.

We dashed to the car, and drove home as fast as the traffic and speed limits allowed. We arrived home 25 minutes before Shabbos, both needing baths, with loads of things to sort out before Shabbos. Unfortunately, in the rush at home, the running bath had been forgotten, so we had a small flood in the ground floor of the house!

Amazingly enough, we somehow managed to sort out Chaya Devoira's vast array of medicines and utensils, mop up the flood, bathe, dress and arrange ourselves in time for Shabbos. I'm still not sure how, but we did it.

Shabbos was wonderful. It was so nice having them both home again, even though we had to watch out for the oxygen tube that trailed around the house. We were never in doubt as to where Chaya Devoira was, you just had to follow the tube!

So, if anyone is feeling oxygen-deprived, just pop round to the Smile Gemach and have a whiff - we've got plenty :-)

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