Communication tools for tracheostomy patients,online courses for sonography,dream team book jack mccallum - 2016 Feature

This month marks my first anniversary of life on a vent — a tracheostomy tube and mechanical ventilator.
The effects of the vent on my health — oxygen levels that prevent headaches and give me energy, stamina, appetite, and pink cheeks — are equaled by improvements in my quality of life. Even if the BiPAP machine had fit on my wheelchair, the mask and headgear were too bizarre-looking for me to want to go out. People talk about the horror of being “tied to a machine” when they talk about vents, but they’ve got it all wrong. Now with the vent I’m out for hours shopping, sitting outside chatting with neighbors, supervising outdoor projects, even accompanying my husband to his part-time job and staying up too late!
Of all of the improvements the vent has made, the greatest is the feeling of safety it has given me.
Suctioning seemed like a big deal at first but quickly became fast and easy for my caregivers — a mere annoyance, not a medical event! I expected a general ache or sore-throat feeling from the presence of the trach tube, but I’m aware of it only if it gets tugged sideways or needs repositioning. There are about two hours a week of equipment maintenance and an occasional nebulizer treatment to be done. All that doesn’t add up to a lot of extra time, but when added to the hours of care I already require it does count. Thanks to having a live-in helper who, although she has a full-time job, allows my husband to get away in the evenings and on weekends, being available is now only annoyingly restrictive to him. Thanks to the vent, today I’m enjoying holding our newborn granddaughter, scanning the pages of children’s books so I’ll be able to read to our 14-month-old granddaughter, working on Web sites. In [the article above], I stated that the cost of vent rental and supplies was $300 to $400 a month. Apparently it is common practice for equipment providers to write off any amount not paid by Medicare and any supplemental insurance.


The goal of this website is to provide information, educational videos, materials and recommendations from The Norris Center’s multidisciplinary-team of experts for the daily challenges faced by people living with ALS. The tools and materials on this site were developed to be shared and may be used or reproduced by educators, people living with ALS and the dedicated loved ones and professionals who work with them. As I look back over this year and try to sum up my feelings, the words that come to my mind are “safe harbor.” I have found a shelter, a place where I can literally and figuratively catch my breath, get my bearings, and even make some repairs to my storm-battered body. My days are no longer dominated by shortness of breath, tiredness, and fear of the next episode of lung congestion.
BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure, a noninvasive form of ventilation) was fine for relieving nighttime breathing problems, but as my daytime use of it increased, my world shrank. I already was tied to another machine, my wheelchair, and like the wheelchair, the vent has only increased my freedom, not tied me down.
I feel I’m representing the physically disabled and showing able people that, vent and all, we’re still more like them than different.
There are no more horrible episodes of not being able to reach my call button when I can’t breathe because of congestion or disconnected tubing. Suctioning makes me cough hard so it probably looks like a miserable experience, but it isn’t at all. On the positive side, it is easier, faster, and much less frightening and frustrating to suction me than to assist me through a bad coughing spell. And with two wonderful friends and my daughters, who were also trained in the basics of vent care, he gets time to run errands on weekdays and even take a full day off once in a while. Even though we have to pack a laundry basket of “just in case” equipment to leave home, I’m a lot more portable than before simply because I feel good again. It’s so much easier to focus on the positives when breathing isn’t a moment-to-moment battle!
She retired from her position as Neuroscience Clinical Educator at Parkview Hospital in 1995 and has since become involved in computer work including Web site design.


I received only four replies but all said they were not billed for any amount Medicare didn’t pay. I cannot guarantee that everyone on Medicare will have the same experience but I didn’t want anyone to worry about the cost before checking with their local respiratory care company.
That little rattle in my chest that once heralded the onset of an exhausting and frightening hour of trying to cough out congestion is now just a signal that I need suctioning. My vent costs include vent, nebulizer (to deliver medicine) and suction machine rental, disposable supplies (hoses, filters, suction catheters and gloves, trach dressings) and monthly trach insert changes. However, after not getting any bills for the last several months, I checked with my equipment provider and was told I had no outstanding balance.
It’s far more dependable than my own body was and, unlike my body, comes with a backup unit. It’s an incredible improvement over swigging expectorant cough medicine and then trying to hack up congestion using a cough-assist device or a series of Heimlichlike belly bruisers!
No feeling of air being forced on me, no arguments with the vent over the rate and depth of my breathing. The cost of those supplies has gone down as we became more comfortable with less frequent hose, filter and trach changes, and switched to plain old soap and water for trach care. Actually, it was probably every bit as dangerous for me to be alone for the last several years, but it’s “officially” dangerous now! There will come a day when I’ll need to decide if it’s time to abandon ship, but that could be years from now. As far as we can figure from the slow Medicare process, we now pay about $300 to $400 a month.



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