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Because I have LAM, my lungs don’t work as well as a healthy person’s so I sometimes need supplemental oxygen. I feel lucky that I don’t need to use oxygen 24/7. Some LAM patients do, and I might too at some point. But right now I just need it when I exercise and when I fly. For these tasks, I use what’s called a portable oxygen concentrator (aka “POC” for those of us in the know). It’s a small machine that recycles the air into purer/more concentrated oxygen that I breathe in through a nasal tube. Fun 🙂
For 4 1/2 years, I borrowed a POC for travel from the company that supplied my home oxygen needs. The one we typically got was pretty big and heavy. But Justin, being amazing, took on the job of lugging it all over the world, so I didn’t suffer too much.
Aside: the fact that I can say that we “lugged” a POC all over the world is pretty amazing. I am very lucky that I can fly (some LAM patients can’t). And not too long before I was diagnosed, POCs weren’t allowed on planes.
When the O2 supply company changed their policy and I couldn’t borrow one anymore, we decided to buy our own since we traveled so frequently. After a LOT of research, we bought the Inogen One G3. It was pricey, but it was definitely worth it for us. It’s small! It’s light! It’s quiet! It has worked perfectly every time.
We bought it directly from Inogen and got a lifetime warranty, a carry bag, a power adapter, a car charger, and 3 batteries (one 8-hour and two 4-hour batteries). Its capabilities are 1-4 liters per minute (LPM) and I use it on 2 when I fly and on 4 when I exercise. The carry bag is OK… it holds the machine perfectly and is well-made, but it doesn’t have any pockets. So I purchased the backpack for this trip since there will be times when I want to ride a bike or hike in a more athletic/exercise-y manner. And in fact I just used it successfully in Prague to climb the 162 stairs up to Vyšehrad. It was comfortable and since I only needed to bring 1 battery with me, it also held my camera, wallet, and water bottle.
Having a lung disease sucks. Using oxygen in public can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But you get used to it over time, and having a tool that enables me to live my life to the fullest was a great investment.
Note: I have not been compensated by Inogen – I’m just a happy customer.