As you might know, I work for a medical equipment company. One of the services we provide is home oxygen therapy.
Patients who need assistance with breathing and maintaining a proper oxygen saturation in their bloodstream are provided oxygen via an electric oxygen concentrator. The Concentrator basically takes “room air” and filters it to release pure oxygen that runs through tubing to a nasal cannula. This machine provides great relief and a certain amount of freedom in the patients’ homes.
The main problem with these oxygen concentrators are that they operate on electricity.
That’s Hurricane Gustav entering the Gulf of Mexico.
I looked up the meaning of the name, “Gustav”. It means Staff of the Gods or the Lord’s Cane. Which means if the storm happens to hit Mobile, Alabama or the Mississippi Coast then thousands of people will have their electricity fail due to being hit by a really big “stick” swung by God.
Part of my job for the last few days has been preparing my patients for possible power outages due to the impending storm. So, my co-worker Paul and I have been riding the roads of Lower Alabama and Mississippi delivering supplies and portable oxygen cylinders to all our patients not evacuating for the storm. Amazingly, many(and I mean many) are electing to stay in the area for a variety of reasons.
Paul spent the day in the Gulfport/Biloxi, Mississippi area dropping off racks of these cylinders to patients with the memory of Hurricane Katrina still fresh in their minds. (Today, is the 3-Year Anniversary). Of course with each delivery, was time spent talking and calming the anxieties of these older citizens of the Gulf Coast.
A dewar(pronounced like the fine Scotch whiskey)provides a self-contained refrigerated liquid oxygen that fills a portable unit worn by the patient to provide oxygen therapy. A dewar can fill and refill the portable unit for weeks at a time.
These dewars are the reason why I’m tired.
Besides, climbing in and out of the back of my van to get the smaller cylinders I also delivered 4 of these containers. When they are full, they weigh about 170 pounds. Unlike the photo, mine had no wheels and like an idiot I did not have a moving dolly in my van today. So, after lifting these dewars down out of the van and tilting them slightly and rolling them to the patients’ doors. I also encountered many many thousands of steps and stairs(okay, okay, it wasn’t thousands) in order to get the units into the patients’ homes. Did I mention the weight?
After my last delivery, I headed back to the office to finish preparations for the office, and for the weekend. Paul and I re-stocked all of the vans in case we have emergency deliveries over the weekend and immediately following the storm.
Paul will officially be “on call”; but I could be called in as well, if the volume of calls are extreme.
All this preparation could be for nothing, if Hurricane Gustav decides to move and hit further westward. But an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.
I’m hoping all of the preparations and sweating in the 90 degree heat is for nothing. But, the “overtime” will be nice.
I’ll keep ya informed as Hurricane Gustav moves closer to the coast. Keep your fingers crossed.