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My Mother had COPD and was on oxygen for her last 5 years, make sure what ever system you get make sure it has an oxygen humidifier, my mother got bloody noses until we figured it out.


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My wife has been on oxygen for about 5 years, and we've had to figure out how to make things work for her.

For home, Medicare will furnish a concentrator that you will probably run continuously. That, and a 50 ft. tube, and you're set. If the patient is on a CPAP, the concentrator hooks into that for night use.

Trying to be mobile presents a bunch of other problems.

Unless you do something about it, Medicare will put the patient on tanks, which are a PIA to lug around. The answer is a portable oyxgen concentrator. After some experience, I can say that the one to get is the Inogen One G4 in most cases (2 liters per minute, no trips to high elevation). It makes a huge difference in the patient's life style. My wife is able to move around and pretty much go wherever she wants. You can get them with a 2 hour battery, our a 4 hour battery. The 4 hour is the right ticket in most cases.

The portable concentrators are pulse machines, as opposed to the home concentrator which is continuous flow. The pulse untis give a little puff of oxygen when the patient inhales. That dramatically reduces the amount of oxygen needed, by about 4-5X, and allows the concentrator to be small and portable. However, pulse machines are not compatible with CPAPS. If the patient uses a CPAP, and if you want to travel overnight, it takes a bit more inventiveness.

When my wife started oxygen, Medicare was no help with the cost of the portable concentrator. But Inogen ads now hint that that may have changed. It is important to call Inogen headquarters ASAP, and start asking those questions. Five years ago, if we would have been a little quicker, I think we would have gotten some financial help. The key is calling Inogen HQ right away. In our case, we were on our own because we waited a while. I don't know what the current situation is. Could be no help, could be lots, but if you wait a month, you definitely won't get help.

I just got an unsolicited ad from a place where we get cannulas, Direct Home Medical, offering 25% off everything. They are an Inogen dealer. Use the code BLACK22.

One more thing: We still have a little pony tank and a couple of big tanks leftover from the days before we had Inogen. We keep a little tank under the seat of the car, just in case something goes haywire. The little concentrators are very reliable, and you can run them of the cigarette lighter in the car, but they are not quite perfectly reliable. One thing that I bought early on was an EasyPulse5 pulse regulator, $75 used off Ebay. It goes on a tank, just like the one that they will supply you with. But, like the pulse system on concentrators, it greatly reduces the amount of oxygen needed. A little 2 hour tank will go for 8-10 hours. That's good to have in case the power goes out.

I'm glad to answer a PM.

Last edited by denton; 11/26/22.

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Originally Posted by Jim_Conrad
When is somebody gonna talk about the dangerous flammability of oxygen?

Actually Jim, oxygen can’t burn on its own…it needs a fuel source. It’s an oxidizer.

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Originally Posted by Middlefork_Miner
Originally Posted by Jim_Conrad
When is somebody gonna talk about the dangerous flammability of oxygen?

Actually Jim, oxygen can’t burn on its own…it needs a fuel source. It’s an oxidizer.


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Originally Posted by Jim_Conrad
When is somebody gonna talk about the dangerous flammability of oxygen?

Oxygen is not flammable, but it does intensify the combustion process and can cause fire to burn hotter and faster. It does not act as fuel for the fire to burn, it does however act as the oxidizing part of the fire triangle.
https://firefighterinsider.com/is-oxygen-o2-flammable-actually-no/

O2 makes burning things burn much faster and hotter. Ever blow onto embers trying to make a campfire or wood stove catch? Same idea.

Many years ago, one of my first jobs was delivering medical gas to various places such as hospitals, dentist offices, and home care. Filled up countless liquid O2 containers too. When we filled the liquid O2, we had to vent the pure gaseous O2 from the tank. Pure O2 works wonders on hangovers...so I've been told.

The machines people plug in for 02 are called "Concentrators". The premise is the machine brings in air from the atmosphere and forces it through a sieve bed (fancy filter). The O2 is separated and concentrated and it goes to the patient. The excess gases are vented out. No oxygen is produced. These machines worked great for people using 2 liters or less. The machine had efficiency of mor than 98% O2. The machine loses efficiency as the rate of delivery goes up. I'm sure the newer machines are more efficient.

Some of the patients had issues with the O2 causing their nose to dry out. The last thing you want to use for relief is petroleum jelly. The petroleum and pure O2 can be a dangerous combination. Make sure to use the humidifier on whatever O2 delivery system you use.

If you go the concentrator route, get a backup of O2 tanks. E size made from aluminum. They won't go bad and shouldn't leak. Talk to your utility company and if they know you have it hopefully you'll be a priority if an outage occurs. The E tanks can sometime be used on flights. However, many airlines will require you to use their systems and won't allow your tanks. Make sure you contact them before you fly.

Liquid is ok, but needs refilling regularly. The tank is essentially a big thermos bottle. Even if you fill it and don't use the O2, the unit will gradually vent off the gaseous O2 as the liquid turns to gas. You can also get portable units to fill from your main tank for outside the house. A big plus is it doesn't use electricity.

The big tanks are a pain. The upside is they rarely leak. The tanks are heavy and awkward. You can't fill the tanks yourself. Changing the gauges can be tedious.

Ended up quitting that job for various reasons. One of the primary reasons was it got too hard to pick up equipment from the houses of people who passed away. Another was many of these people were very lonely and I was the only one they saw on a regular basis and I just couldn't keep my route current and spend time to chat.

Good luck


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Don't even think about the Boost bottle That is not what he needs.

I an on oxygen. Medicare will pay for about any commercially supplied oxygen with standard concentrators and portable bottles and some portable battery operated ones. Most Medicare Advantage plans will also, with a copay.

Two type of units for the home, both are pretty noisy. One he gets the big concentrator and a supply of smaller bottles with cart for outside the home. These are good for 3 hours or so and he sets up a monthly delivery the small bottles. Not very handy. He should also get a big bottle that is for emergency use if power goes out.The other is a concentrator along with a compressor that could fill a smaller bottle at home for outside the home. It usually comes with a carry strap or back pack.The compressor is nosier yet.

I believe there are also battery operated ones for portability that Medciacre will pay for.

There are also programs administered by the Department Of Labor that will pay for everything depending on where he worked. See Ecomp.dol.gov.com. I am on one as a past nuclear worker. PM me if you would like more info on this

Then there is the option for your dad to buy a system out right if he has the money. It still takes a doctor's order to buy one.

The best on the market is by Inogen.The home concentrator is about 1/2 the size of other and is very quiet. About 47 DB. In a closet you can barely hear. it.

The portable battery operated one, the G4, is quieter too and very small. It will run 3-4 hours depending on usage.It comes with a backpack, a carrying strap bag, AC charger, and a 12V charger.

Approx cost for both units including a Lifetime warranty is about $5,000. Pricey. I am sure there are less expensive units on the market.I also bought a stand alone battery charger and extra battery.

Maintenance cost is: batteries last about a year or more depending on usage. $500each. The home units needs a part replaced every year called a Column. About $100. Cannulas can be bought or the O2 suppler usually supplies them free. He will need two 25 ft hoses or a 50ft, and cannulas comes in 4 ft, 7 ft, 25 ft length.They should be changed out every 2 weeks or so. 4 ft cost about $1.50each.

Some people require a humidifier bottle on the concentrator because the O2 is dry, less than $25.

He will probably also need an Oximetry night time test to se if he requires different settings for day and night time (sleep)

Be careful of buying any Inogen product from a secondary supplier. They told me, within the next year,they will not warrant any Inogen product unless it was bought thru Inogen.I bought an Inogen battery charger last year that failed and they would not replace it. I was lucky Amazon did.

Last edited by saddlesore; 11/26/22.

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I very much appreciate all the advice here, tks. Thanks to the info here him and his wife are much better informed going forward.

Originally Posted by poboy
I on was oxygen at night for awhile.

I’m happy to hear it was temporary, I’m hoping my cousin can get off of it too at some point.

Emphysema, COPD, two heart surgeries/three stints, impaired kidney function. The guy was an outlaw biker for a while, drove a truck most of his life, retired Teamster now, great insurance. Dedicated Alcoholics Anonymous member, quit smoking about ten years back.

I’d say it was a misspent youth catching up to him but lots of guys did all of that and are just fine now.


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Those boost tanks are a joke. I got one fuguring it might help hunting at 11000. I don't know what pilots oxgen is but it had no affect.

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Mike the only advice I have-if someone hasn't' already mentioned it-is to be sure the oxygen machine has a humidifier in it, otherwise you tend to dry out quickly and cough like crazy.


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Originally Posted by Birdwatcher
I very much appreciate all the advice here, tks. Thanks to the info here him and his wife are much better informed going forward.

Originally Posted by poboy
I on was oxygen at night for awhile.

I’m happy to hear it was temporary, I’m hoping my cousin can get off of it too at some point.

Emphysema, COPD, two heart surgeries/three stints, impaired kidney function. The guy was an outlaw biker for a while, drove a truck most of his life, retired Teamster now, great insurance. Dedicated Alcoholics Anonymous member, quit smoking about ten years back.

I’d say it was a misspent youth catching up to him but lots of guys did all of that and are just fine now.
Why don't you encourage him to go to junior high schools and tell the kids where they will end up if they accept a cigarette from a friend? Let them see for themselves. I have had two close fiends and several acquaintances die from emphysema/COPD and it is a terrible way to go.


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Originally Posted by ingwe
Mike the only advice I have-if someone hasn't' already mentioned it-is to be sure the oxygen machine has a humidifier in it, otherwise you tend to dry out quickly and cough like crazy.

Usually supplied separately. Less than $10 for bottle and short adapter hose.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=concentrator+humidifier+bottle&crid=O2GDK9TW932H&sprefix=concentrator+humidifier%2Caps%2C147&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_23

https://www.amazon.com/Salter-Labs-Humidifier-Connector-Concentrator/dp/B06XH3VYP2/ref=sr_1_8?crid=O2GDK9TW932H&keywords=concentrator+humidifier+bottle&qid=1669561590&sprefix=concentrator+humidifier%2Caps%2C147&sr=8-8

Last edited by saddlesore; 11/27/22.

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Originally Posted by Birdwatcher
A sad part about getting older is watching the people around you get older too.

A cousin, mid 60’s, has been in poor health for a while, including emphysema. He’s been in the hospital this week and has been told he’s gonna need to be on O2 from here on in.

This is new for him and his wife. I’m told they want to sent him home with an oxygen tank.

Any advice welcome, particularly pertaining to mobile devices that can be used outside the house.
Tell them to start the paperwork to get one of the portable O2 generators. My FIL has one and it allows him some freedom to go places easier. It is an Inogen brand and works well. Insurance paid for it mostly. It comes with two batteries so one can be charged at all times.

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Originally Posted by ingwe
Mike the only advice I have-if someone hasn't' already mentioned it-is to be sure the oxygen machine has a humidifier in it, otherwise you tend to dry out quickly and cough like crazy.
I'm fairly certain you must use distilled water with the oxygen


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Originally Posted by tdbob
If you're going to be on a concentrator (generator), talk to the electric company and see if you can get a break on their rate. Those things can be electric hogs if run 24/7.

They might be able to get an exemption too from rolling blackouts if they do that in his 'hood.


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Tell him to stop smoking!



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Originally Posted by Hastings
Originally Posted by Birdwatcher
I very much appreciate all the advice here, tks. Thanks to the info here him and his wife are much better informed going forward.

Originally Posted by poboy
I on was oxygen at night for awhile.

I’m happy to hear it was temporary, I’m hoping my cousin can get off of it too at some point.

Emphysema, COPD, two heart surgeries/three stints, impaired kidney function. The guy was an outlaw biker for a while, drove a truck most of his life, retired Teamster now, great insurance. Dedicated Alcoholics Anonymous member, quit smoking about ten years back.

I’d say it was a misspent youth catching up to him but lots of guys did all of that and are just fine now.
Why don't you encourage him to go to junior high schools and tell the kids where they will end up if they accept a cigarette from a friend? Let them see for themselves. I have had two close fiends and several acquaintances die from emphysema/COPD and it is a terrible way to go.

Agreed that COPD is awful. Sucks bigly. The best idea is don’t get it. Stop smoking. Help others to stop. You REALLY don’t want it. Unless you’ve seen it up close you don’t even know how much you don’t want it. I wouldn’t wish it on a Democrat.

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