New oxygen machine!

Because of my Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension I need extra oxygen, so I use an oxygen concentrator. These miraculous machines take room air, filter out the nitrogen, and feed me the remaining oxygen. My insurance company provides a stationary machine for me to use at home, and I have an Inogen One G3 for when I’m out and about (this is what I took with me to Portland). The at-home machine provided to me by my insurance company is huge, hot, power-hungry, and extremely noisy,  so it lives outdoors in a little cage with the cables fed through my  window.   My old machine only went up to 5 lpm,  which was good for many years but  last year I started to need a higher flow rate, so they sent me a bigger, hotter, louder, noisier machine that goes up to 10 lpm.  Looks like this, though I think my machine was a much older model because the oxygen supply company (CHME) that contracts with my poor-person state health insurance is just awful: Invacare 10. Ugh.

Well!  A couple months ago we doubled one of my hideous medications.  It took a long long time for me to notice any effects, but after I was vaccinated and when I realized I might feel well enough to visit Henry I did some experimenting and discovered that I’d be ok on 5 lpm again, which meant I could get along with just my portable for a couple of weeks.

So, as it seems I’m going to live a bit longer than expected (knock on wood), I decided to buy my own very expensive, very slick, small, quiet, energy efficient, at-home oxygen concentrator, also made by Inogen:  the Inogen At Home machine. (A million thanks to my mom for paying for it!!)

My new machine arrived yesterday and I set it up right away.  I was SHOCKED by how small and quiet it is.  It’s quiet enough to live in my room — I’m accustomed to certain level of medical machine background noise, and it’s well within tolerance. It doesn’t generate much heat.  And it’s so little!

Dreadful old machine: 18.4 x 14.4 x 26.4 and 53 lbs.

Glorious new machine: 7 x 13 x 16.5 in and 18 lbs!!!

Today when I wanted to keep Em company in the living room it was easy for me to scoot my machine closer to the door so my oxygen tubing would reach.

AND it seems to be much better at its job than the dreadful old machine.  I slept comfortably last night on 4 lpm, and in the daytime I’m ok on 2-3 (2 in the morning, 3 when I got tired in the afternoon)

While researching, I learned that one can chain oxygen concentrators together for higher flow needs, so my plan is to buy another Inogen At Home when I need more than 5 lpm, but because I can set it lower it will be longer until I need to do that.

I bought the lifetime warranty for my portable, and thank goodness I did because they’ve needed to replace it four times in six years. So of course I bought the lifetime warranty for my tiny new “big” machine too. I suggest you do likewise, if you’re in the market for oxygen concentrators. There is serious peace of mind when you know that if anything goes wrong, they’ll send a replacement machine almost instantly.

Look at this cute little guy, hanging out under my sewing table, giving me air to breathe!

Oh! And one more awesome thing about it is that it’s user-serviceable, just like my portable. It has a little air filter that’s easy to wash once a week, and the columns that strain out the nitrogen are user-replaceable! It will warn me when they start to get full, and I just order a new set from Inogen and slot them in. $150, but well worth never needing to call surly, obnoxious, cigarette-smoking “did you try turning it off and then on again” techs from CHME (it’s hard to express how horrible my experiences with CHME have been. They seriously suck. You get zero stars, CHME.)

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