A Breath of Fresh Air

In October of 2008, my pulmonologist put me on oxygen to be used during exercise as my saturation levels severely drop with exertion. That same day, delivered to my home was an O2 concentrator, a little machine that pumped O2 through a tube to my nose, and a case of 12 sized oxygen canisters about the size of a 1.5L wine bottle.

The canisters came with a small back pack so I could go hiking etc., but the suckers were heavy, and they often ran out after about an hour and a half, a major inconvenience when you plan to go hiking all day. That meant having to tote along a couple of extra canisters, and to lug around three canisters on a hike is absurd, so on most occasions, I just left the canister at home.

I also began to use the oxygen concentrator at night to sleep, and that little baby would rumble, and pound it’s little heart out so much so that we had to roll it into the bathroom and run an extension breathe tube from it to the bed.

One day, when I went to Pulmonary rehabilitation, one of the other people had a small grey device, about half the size of the oxygen canisters, and she said that it was her new friend. It was a Helios liquid oxygen system, and that small little device stored enough oxygen to last eight to ten hours. I had to have one. And getting one was simpler than I thought.

I called my oxygen supplier who told me all I had to do was contact my doctor and tell him I wanted to be switched to liquid oxygen, and ask for the Helios system in particular, and my doctor would send over a new prescription. I did, and my supplier came, took away the two six backs of oxygen canisters and the good old noisy oxygen concentrator, and left me with a Helios Liquid Oxygen System.

The Helios system consists of two parts, the small portable unit, which weighs a mere three pounds when filled, and the liquid oxygen tank. There are no electrical cords or motors or noise. The storage tank is 15″ wide and about 3 feet tall, and it is estimated that it would need to be exchanged every 10 to 14 days.

I have only been using the system for a short time, but so far I can find no fault with it. The portable unit sits beside my bed at night, and the only noise is the puff of air into my nostril every time I take a breath. No whirring and thumping of the concentrator. I am yet to go on a hike with it, but I am sure that 8 hours of hiking is more than I can handle, and a full Helios will more than carry me through the day.

For more info on the Helios liquid oxygen system, please go to http://www.heliosoxygen.com/

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