Thursday, October 3, 2013

One Less Thing

For years, nap time has involved putting a nasal cannula on Collin and either turning on his oxygen concentrator or opening an oxygen tank if we were away from home. Because his central apnea was so severe, he needed that small stream of concentrated oxygen to signal to his brain to keep breathing and to keep his blood oxygen levels stable whenever he did stop breathing.

But back when Collin virtually stopped having apneas and desaturations at night, I started wondering whether he still really needed oxygen during his naps.

So, I devised an experiment.

For two days, using his pulse oximeter, we watched and recorded Collin's oxygen levels during his nap while he was using his nasal cannula like normal. This established a baseline. Then on the third day, we just removed the cannula and continued to record his levels, looking for any differences.

After nearly two weeks, we had seen him take both long and short naps and had seen no decrease in blood oxygen levels, so we concluded that Collin is now safe to take naps without oxygen therapy.

Voila! One small thing removed from Collin's daily needs!

We will still keep oxygen around for when Collin has a respiratory virus and as backup for his bipap machine, but at least we won't be lugging an oxygen tank with us every time he might be taking a nap somewhere else. Every little bit helps, especially when it points to a generally healthier and more robust Collin.

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