I am now the proud owner of a little Oximeter – why you might ask. Well it’s all down to an article in the New York Times, highlighted by a good friend of my husband’s Phil who is always looking out for me. He knows that I have Bronchiectasis  which makes me sadly one of the ‘vulnerables,’ as well as my age.

It’s an odd thing this age business. Never have I felt so old before. I have always merrily gone along believing in my head that I was still one of the young ones. Us Boomers  never thought we would get old.   Why do we have to  be called anything?  How about just referring to our lifestyle  or stages of life and if we have to be  labelled ‘older adults’ would be ok. 

This banging on about age is depressing. I AM NOT ELDERLY.  I refuse to answer to being elderly. Can we please find another way of describing us 65 + people. Dr. John Rowe, 67, chairman of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society  talks about the ‘young-old” roughly aged 65 – 75 and the ‘old-old’  being a group of people that tend to have more physical needs and functional impairments.  He says that the problem with the term ‘the elderly’ or ‘seniors’ is that  these two groups are lumped together and the ‘young-old’ don’t want to be identified with the ‘old-old’

Even my lung consultant referred to my age when we had a zoom meeting last Monday. He said that I was probably more vulnerable from my age than from my lung condition. Great way to start the week.

So back to the Oximeter.

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Dr. Richard Levitan who works at Bellevue Hospital in New York noticed that too many patients were showing up at the hospital with perilously low oxygen levels, putting them at risk for severe complications and death. He said that a simple home gadget called a pulse oximeter could help alert patients to seek help sooner. He calls this the silent pneumonia  and went on to explain that patients with COVID-19 can experience a potentially dangerous drop in oxygen saturation without having obvious breathing problems. Without a pulse oximeter they might never know it and they could get used to how they feel, despite very low oxygen levels. By the time they go to the hospital with shortness of breath, their oxygen levels would have dropped significantly, and they could have very advanced Covid pneumonia which would then be difficult to treat.

“They could still be talking and thinking clearly, and not in obvious distress….. but there might be a period of days where they were going silently down, and they didn’t know it,” says Dr Levitan. 

So, I splurged and spent £54 on one of these devices. It’s a lovely little thing and for the first few days I got a bit carried away with my new toy checking rather too frequently on how my oxygen and heart was functioning. Alarm bells rang when I thought my Oxygen levels were 88 (normal is around 95 to 98) until I realised I was reading it upside down. It is designed for someone else to read it for you. If your oxygen levels dips to 92 or lower, then it is time to check in with your doctor.

Note to self: Make sure you read it the right way up before calling 999.

I am wondering when  our proactive government will advise us to wear masks. We know how prepared they have been for this virus after all it was only the beginning of January that we knew that COVID19 would hit are shores. Did we start looking at PPI? Testing? stopping big events? We saw what was happening in Italy, but did we take heed. No, we continued as normal allowing events like The Cheltenham Races, football matches and music events to go ahead. How many thousands became infected by this? We will never know. They advised that shaking hands was ok. We even saw our esteemed Prime Minister Boris doing it. Until it wasn’t a good idea. And I foresee the same will happen with masks. No, we don’t need them is the current advise until we do.

Mask wearing makes a lot of common sense which is why most other countries have adopted this policy. If only to save those people who are not infected from those that are. You can be walking around and be asymptomatic meaning that you feel perfectly ok, but you have the virus and thus can pass it on to others. If you are wearing a mask, then this will give others a much better protection.

And just to finish this rant – which I am allowed as it is my blog. Where has all this money suddenly come from? One moment the government says its austerity austerity austerity,  and now we suddenly have billions – which of course is great news. Have the Tories been hiding it under their beds or are they just printing more money? I am no economist, but it does seem a bit odd. And anybody heard anything about Brexit lately?

In a lighter note we have purchased a ping pong set. I had forgotten just what fun is table tennis. And from the echoes from the surrounding gardens I am not alone. Seems to be the most popular pastime at the moment. It took a few games for my muscle memory to kick in, but I am now reigning champion. It has been added to my daily timetable. I have either Pilates or Yoga, Bridge, Dog Walk, Table Tennis and  then there is the daily Blog (which gets harder each day) and I have 14 Scrabble partners! No wonder I am not getting through the loft boxes or managing to watch  any of the best COVID19 films. By the time I get into bed I am exhausted.

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“Let’s be careful out there”