Tag Archives: bi-pap

AWAKE – Tonight

AWAKE TONIGHT!    Ever wonder about an increasing sleepiness yourself or life partner?  Well, sleepiness may well mean more than boredom at home – it may mean SLEEP APNEA – a potentially deadly medical condition and fixable.

Thursday, September 15 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

PROGRAM:  C- Pap or Bi-Pap Maintenance and Your Health.

SPEAKER:     Kate Whettam, Resmed

Questions welcome

AWAKE is for people living with sleep disorders and their families and meets the third Thursday of every three months (March, June, September and December).

9/15/2011     7:00pm – 9:00pm

Harrison Annex

750 Lebo Blvd.

Bremerton, WA 98310

Contact Info:   360-479-8022 x4



Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

Good Sleep Health and Sleep Apnea – Tomorrow!

Good Sleep Health and Sleep Apnea

Speaker:  Jess Lackey of Pacific Pulmonary Inc.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

1:00pm – 3:00pm

Rose Room – Harrison Silverdale

1800 NW Myhre Road – Silverdale, WA 98383


Better Breathers Support Group

“Our Better Breathers support group encompasses community members and their caregivers who live with chronic respiratory disease and lung disease. Better Breathers is designed to provide support, education, networking, and tools to improve the daily lives of those living with these health conditions.


We welcome any community member with asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, sarcoidosis, asbestosis, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis and the many more lung diseases affecting our population, pediatric or adult.

Please email or call if you will need assistance with parking at the meeting.”

Contact: Pamela O’Flynn   – 360-744-6687 –  respiratorycare@harrisonmedical.org


My sleep apnea story in short form:  Some ten years ago the Sleep Study and bi-pap machine enabled me to get back into a bed after a few years of sleeping in a chair…I could not breathe lying down so had to sleep in a recliner chair…comfortable though it was, it was not a bed.

During this last year after an at home study I discovered my saturation numbers hit the basement while sleeping – bottoming out into the low 70’s.  100 is normal and nobody knew it…who knows how long that went on?

One of the questions I will be asking tomorrow:  Why don’t the c-pap or bi-pap machines monitor the patient’s blood/oxygen level during sleep to alert the doctor there is a problem.  Hint: After a length of time without oxygen, brain cells die.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001435.htm

During sleep how low can the blood/oxygen levels go and for how long before brain cells die?  Personally, I want to hug and cherish my brain cells from a distance and keep them going as long as possible.

A sharp Harrison Medical Center ER doc caught a problem and had me put on a concentrator that gathers oxygen from the room and bleeds it into my bi-pap – leading to better sleep.  Except when the RLS bounces me right out of bed to move my legs and walk around.

Ignoring Sleep Apnea can lead to serious stuff – we need to be aware.

Tomorrow is the opportunity to ask the questions and have fun at the same time.


See you Wednesday!  If anyone needs a ride, let me know.

Following are photos of my concentrator connected to the bi-pap and connected to the facemask that goes over my nose and blows air into my airway.

Some folks say the c-pap and bi-pap is too noisy.  I call it the sweet song of life.

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

Is Vinegar a Good Disinfectant for Patient Medical Equipment?

So, I said, why do you think vinegar is a disinfectant as effective as chlorine bleach?  It doesn’t claim to disinfect on any vinegar bottle I’ve seen.

She replied everybody knows vinegar is what we use to clean and disinfect face masks and tubes for C-Pap and Bi-Pap machines.  Chlorine bleach smells too much.

That was a recent, not rare exchange between me and another person who also uses respiratory equipment that needs to be disinfected from time to time.

I use dishwashing soap and a mild solution of bleach and let my Bi-Pap hoses and mask soak for a while – 20 minutes or longer.  I don’t use vinegar as a disinfectant because I don’t like the smell and it doesn’t claim to disinfect.

I wonder why some patients are told to use vinegar to clean and disinfect respiratory equipment since it is not a disinfectant.


“…Is Vinegar an Acceptably Safe Alternative for Chlorine Bleach when Disinfecting

It is not safe to use as a disinfectant for any medical equipment. If you are looking for information on cleaning home healthcare items, you must follow your physician’s advice.

There’s a whole genus of bacteria Pseudomonas out there that really don’t give a hoot about vinegar. Is Pseudomonas an issue? Well, for some people, it certainly is. If you have anyone in your home with Cystic Fibrosis, it can cause pneumonia, in patients on chemotherapy it can cause skin infections, etc. Ever heard of hot tub rash? Pseudomonas is the likely culprit. So there are cases where vinegar really isn’t the smart choice. In hospitals, Pseudomonas can be particularly devastating, it’s the cause of Necrotising Entercolitis in NICU patients and devastating skin infections in burn patients.

Dilute solutions of chlorine bleach applied properly is the only agent I feel comfortable recommending when disinfection truly matters. If you use chlorine bleach properly, there should not be a significant source of fumes.


More later…. Sharon O’Hara

Is Cycling Healthier for a Lung Patient with Right Heart Failure Than Walking?

I am a patient with questions and one of them is:

Is cycling better or healthier for a lung patient with Right Heart Failure than walking.

Based on medical terminology I clearly don’t understand – it APPEARS to say so to this patient…based on the paper I blogged on and the paper I found using the Google search for:  oxyhemoglobin desaturation.

“Oxyhemoglobin desaturation can be quite severe and can even lead to damage to vital organs, particularly the heart, to the point of being life-threatening.3”

Identifying Sleep Disordered Breathing in Neuromuscular Disorder Patients

by Joshua Benditt, MD, and Louis Boitano, MS, RRT


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is one thing, add bone on bone left hip and a person has to really fight to move it and I’m doing in the pool what I can’t do ‘on land’ easily – leg up and loosen and build muscle around that hip so I can ride again.  One day the muscling should support it and make it comfortable enough to ride my recumbent trikes again.

I KNOW it will work because when I had physical therapy last year, the personable and talented Anna Marx at Kitsap Physical Therapy in Silverdale put me on a machine I could not only tolerate – a recumbent elliptical – over time I actually loosened up enough where I could and did – close my eyes and built speed and a rhythm on that machine – exactly like riding a recumbent trike, a horse…without the pain of the bone on bone left hip!

I’ve begun working out four days a week with an amazing professional swim instructor and I hope and expect to regain much of the function I lost.  There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. It appears to be working – a ‘study’ in itself.  More later.

That said, what about my question:

Is cycling better or healthier for a lung patient with right heart failure than walking?


BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exhibit greater oxyhemoglobin desaturation during walking than with cycling. The purpose of this investigation was to investigate differences in ventilatory responses and gas exchange as proposed mechanisms for this observation.


Read more: http://pugetsoundblogs.com/copd-and-other-stuff/#ixzz1DTzzcGaW

Read more: http://pugetsoundblogs.com/copd-and-other-stuff/#ixzz1DTzg8nOT

“Oxyhemoglobin desaturation can be quite severe and can even lead to damage to vital organs, particularly the heart, to the point of being life-threatening.3”

Identifying Sleep Disordered Breathing in Neuromuscular Disorder Patients

by Joshua Benditt, MD, and Louis Boitano, MS, RRT

Joshua Benditt, MD, is a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. He is also director of respiratory care services, Northwest Assisted Breathing Center, University of Washington Medical Center. He can be reached at benditt@u.washington.edu. Louis Boitano, MS, RRT, is codirector of the Northwest Assisted Breathing Center, University of Washington Medical Center. Boitano can be reached at boitano@u.washington.edu.

The symptoms of sleep disordered breathing in patients with neuromuscular disease can be subtle, but once recognized and treated, symptoms can improve.


I don’t know how this all fits together for us – I also have sleep apnea and sleep with a bi-pap and concentrator bleed in to the bi-pap.

More later… Sharon O’Hara

Emergency Preparedness Seminar for Respiratory Folks in Silverdale

Learning Respiratory Emergency Care —including folks dependent on the c-pap, bi-pap, concentrators and their caregivers—yes!

Right here in Silverdale, thanks to Harrison Medical Center, learn how best to take care of ourselves during an emergency on Wednesday, 19 January 2011.

My husband and I have already learned how ill-prepared we were when every safeguard we had failed, one after the other.
Heat pumps, propane insert stove and generator.

If anyone needs a ride to the seminar in Silverdale, let me know.

Patients, caregivers and those who help us help ourselves—working together for a common goal!

Emergency Preparedness

It’s time for us to get prepared!  We’ve had a rough winter already and there may be more to come.

Let’s make a New Years commitment to ourselves and to our health; to be as prepared as possible to take care of our needs during extreme weather conditions or other local emergencies.

Come and meet with us for our first 2011 meeting and share you own personal experiences and ideas as well.

Speaker:  Laura Jull Emergency Preparedness Manager

Harrison Medical Center

Topics: One Month Preparedness Calendar

Medication, Oxygen, Extended Power Outages & Additional Tips.


Speaker: Pamela O’Flynn, Respiratory Therapy Department Director

Harrison Medical Center

Director O’Flynn has first hand experience with the importance of
emergency response and services.

Date: 01-19-2011
Time: 1:00PM
Location: Harrison Medical Center – Silverdale Campus – Rose Room

Harrison Medical Center
Phone:  360 744-6685

Harrison Respiratory Care

Dedicated To Every Breath You Take

See you Wednesday!

More later…. Sharon O’Hara

When the Power Goes Out – Is Kitsap County a Cold and Lonely Place For COPDers?

When the Power Goes Out – Is Kitsap County a Cold and Lonely Place For COPDers?

We had one battery charged lantern and I kept the box handy on the counter because I knew the lights would come on any minute and I could quickly put it away again. Two days later, the lights came on and I put it away.  The laptop puddled in place – a good reminder that better power days were ahead…same with the lamp.  The two drawers full of old candles were not lit…I do not want to inhale candle fumes.

The little shortwave radio was meant as a Christmas present but I’ve kept it – the so welcome sound and information was my connection to the world.

I didn’t know it when I shot this photo but less than two hours later, the tireless power wonders will have restored our power.  It was so very cold….and it felt balmy when the temperature inside finally came up to 50 degrees.

No, only for those on life giving machines such as the C-Pap and Bi-Pap machines – they have nowhere to go to plug in their life sustaining machines.   Seniors on a concentrator bleed-in usually can’t carry the heavy machines.

The plus during the last two day power outage was to discover all the people helping others in a tight fix.

My husband, the Old Guy, spent most of the two days out in the cold trying to fix the generator.

The discovery that the tube he thought would fix it, didn’t,  led to more cell calls to the generator tech folks and ultimately to another  Kitsap County Angel –Ward’s Radiator Shop in Chico.

It turned out that all we needed was an expandable plug that Wards said should work temporarily until he can solder it in this summer.  It worked and is still working!  But not until after the wonderful power workers fixed our power and we went on the emergency source heat pump. Thank you, Ward’s Radiator Shop in Chico!

Our inside temperature dropped to 40 degrees and by the second night the Old Guy fixed our old portable Honda generator and asked if I wanted it hooked to a portable heater or use it on my bi-pap and concentrator.

Well.  Having taken the Mountaineering course at Olympic College some 35 years ago and learning some survival skills,  I didn’t see the sense of blowing 41 degree air into the 98 degree body I’d carefully kept warm by layering.  And, once in bed, I stayed warm and didn’t need a heater.

Question:  Was my concern and decision against blowing 41 degree cold air into my airway wrong?

Would the cold air have been warmed enough by a warm core or would my core have begun to cool to reflect the cold air blowing in?

As it was, many of us went without the machines that keep our airway open and (for some) that keep our vital blood/oxygen numbers up.

Funny thing: With good reason, the Old Guy complains, moans, and groans whenever I ask him to get something out of the freezer and puts on heavy gloves to do it – he has Raynaud’s Disease in his fingers.

During the two day power outage, he spent hours in the below freezing weather working on the generator and never said a word…just went to work trying to fix it…and couldn’t wear the thick, warm gloves.  ‘Caregivers’ is an overdue story for another time.

Bainbridge Seniors at the Senior Center have plans to provide a place to go and I hope they coordinate with oxygen companies to assist those on machines to keep their airways open and for those on concentrators and oxygen.


My bi-pap was ordered after a Sleep Apnea study in 2001and Lincare supplied my Respironics Duet on 3 August 2001, according to Mike DiMatteo of Lincare, and our insurance paid it off in February 2002.

In 2010, my secure sense of well-being went to the bottom of rattlesnake canyon in a hand basket when a home study showed my sats dropped into the basement while asleep, way below good oxygen levels.  I fell through the cracks in our system and I can’t be the only one.

We have stuff – serious stuff that needs fixing and that is another story for another time.

As I see it, oxygen companies are caught in the bind of Medicare, Medicaid and patients and one flaw has been lack of communication between patient, physician and Oxygen Company.

Patients talk to your doctor – its vital your sats stay up while awake and how much leeway do we have if they drop when we’re asleep?  We need oxygen to our organs and the brain is a vital organ.

While I had the friendly and helpful Mike DiMatteo on the phone, I asked him about offering help with the Bainbridge Senior Center seniors planning a safe haven when the power goes out.  Mike said he would be glad to offer whatever help/advice they needed.  I’m sure most of Kitsap’s oxygen companies who supply these machines will help too.

Someday the rest of Kitsap County will follow the Bainbridge Senior Center seniors lead and provide assistance for those who need help when the power goes out. For some seniors, just a viable power plug can make the difference between life and death.

A super plus is the great event next Wednesday at Harrison Silverdale speaking to this very subject of emergency assistance for those of us on oxygen, concentrators, BiPap and C-Pap – all respiratory folks.

COPDers and caregivers – Mark Wednesday, 19 January on your calendar – Full details tomorrow.

More later… Sharon O’Hara

A Recumbent Trike Legs and Lung Beginning

Chronic patients are lucky, too.

I have a story to tell about this year’s 2009 American Lung Association of Washington’s Trek Tri Island’s three-day bike trip – but to tell it, you need to understand the beginning first.
I hope I am permitted to do this…the story is not about me, it never has been.
It is a story about a person who went from fit and health and physically active into a patient who couldn’t breathe and thought she was dying.
Sharon’s Ride
September 2005
A dream come true. I worked hard for pledge dollars and LOVED EVERY MINUTE of it. For the first time since 1997 I dared to go on a trip… and had no idea how I would manage without my BiPap, my water pills … put up a tent, take it down… carry my stuff around…

At the start I felt like a breathless beached whale… wondering what I was doing with a group of – clearly – fit people on a three day American Lung Association of Washington three day bike ride on a trike I’d never ridden before. It seemed all my exercise work wasn’t enough. EFFORTS – thoughts of EFFORTS – all you – kept me going!

The outstanding help and assistance I received from the volunteer crew enabled me to keep going, but it was a fellow trike rider, Dan… who must have seen I was struggling and rode up behind and asked if he could help. He patiently taught me how to shift gears, including the big gears until I could ‘feel’ the shifting… as well as see the speedometer computer jump to reflect speed… proof to me shifting pays off.

COPD has given me the opportunity to slow down and discover incredible kindness of folks that I never had time to notice before. EFFORTS gave me my life back – exercise lets me function…

Ferry schedules are kept – ferries wait for no one. The outstanding volunteer group helped me ‘keep up’… in particular, Don.

On the last day Don drove me and my trike far enough out to get a head start and I began pedaling the final 19.2 miles into Victoria B.C. and the Victoria Clipper. Pedaling up hills I stopped whenever I needed to – sometimes every couple of feet – for a minute or two. I sat on my trike until I could go again.

Foot by foot I pedaled to the top of the hills and barreled down the other side. Until…close to Victoria – a hill came into sight that appeared almost vertical. I couldn’t see the top. I stopped when I got to the bottom and stared up. I was outfaced. If I started up I couldn’t stop to rest until I got over it. It was steep, yes, but I was too close to stop now. I started up.

The top of the hill got closer until I was just below it my legs shook from the strain and I couldn’t breathe – I labored to keep going. All of a sudden the trike felt light and we raced upward. A voice yelled, “Keep pedaling”!

My feet flew –we hit the summit and started down the other side. I yelled back, “Thank you!” Someone saw I was in trouble and pushed me up! I let the trike race down until I could pedal and breathe again and my heart quit jumping and thumping.

It was Don one of the ALA of WA’s extraordinary volunteers … I’d passed him parked on the side of the road several times during the 19.2 mile ride. He’d ask if I wanted to stop? I”d answer, “No, I’ll keep going for now.”

Thanks to many people I rode my trike 19.2 miles into Victoria and when I got there I couldn’t stop tears from welling behind my sunglasses.

You did it, EFFORTS. You taught me how to live again, gave me my life back. And to see the bright red EFFORTS tee-shirt and meet the man inside, Chris, EFFORTS Ambassador to Canada and his lovely wife was pure joy. Chris is so EFFORTS oriented, so energetic, so giving… he gave me his watch when I said I didn’t have one. And our watch says it is now 3:49pm.

God Bless. Thank you for helping me live again. EXERCISE FOLKS please help yourself…. and join me next time?
Sharon O’Hara

More later… Sharon O’Hara