Back in February 2010 the doctors with the agreement of my oxygen deprived body thought it would be a good idea to come home from the hospital with a hose on my face. The coughing fits were getting more severe and any exertion would put my body into frenzy. Just getting dressed, taking a shower, and getting ready for work was like the last lap of a 4 minute 30 second mile. That last bout in the hospital destroyed some more of my lungs.
My greatest struggle was not the lack of oxygen, but with my pride when they told me that I was going to have to have oxygen on my face 24/7. Pride is such a little punk. It can be a little punk and try to dictate your whole life. Reminds me of some little bullies I’ve come across in my day. Tell me, who's proud of the fact that they have to wear a hose on their face. It’s not like a new shirt or a new car. It’s a hose and a tank for crying out loud!! However, it is clear and goes great with every outfit!! As you lady's would say, "It's like a good set of ear rings."
I came home from the hospital and the O2 stuff was delivered to my house the next day. They gave me baby tanks I could wear on my back and large tanks I could roll around in a cart. I was also given an O2 concentrator that plugs into the wall and takes the O2 from the room air and sends it through a hose in a more concentrated form. It was the Ferrari I always wanted- sarcasm included. I like the baby tank for short trips to the store or church but I prefer to take the big tank because it has a longer life on continuous flow. Grant it, I prefer to carry the tank around rather than wheeling it around in its little handy-dandy cart. It makes me feel more macho and tough. It’s another pride issue I’m working on…….one step at a time.
Well, I immediately wanted to take my new toys for a ride. I came home from work and they were there waiting for me. By then I swallowed my pride and decided that I wanted to live a little longer. It’s amazing how a little physical affliction does that. I put my little back pack on with the hose (cannula- I might as well make this educational for you.) under my nose and tucked behind my ears. It felt a little strange at first but I was determined to live, be active and if that meant that I wear a hose on my face, then thank God that He made it possible for me to have this technology at my disposal. Look and stare if you want to but I’m blessed. I think many people probably wonder what a young guy like me has that O2 on my face. The kids are always, I mean always, the brave ones who actually ask. With that curious stare, they pan over my face for a few minutes, they abruptly ask, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Why do you have that on your face?” I respect that about kids. They brutally get straight to the point. It has given me an opportunity to talk to others about Cystic Fibrosis, Lung Transplant, Hope, the Bible, and Jesus. It’s like having a neon sign on your forehead.
What would have happened if I had allowed my pride be the controlling factor in my life? The Scriptures plainly teach that Pride is a sin. Two Bible verses come to mind. First, Proverbs 11:2- When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. And Second, Proverbs 16:18- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It’s defined as thinking higher of yourself than you should. The Transplant Team and others told me that the lack of oxygen can damage other organs in my body. My pride could compound the issue. Not only would I have lung issues but possibly heart, lung, kidney and any variety of other issues. What a fool I would be!! I would be missing out on life, love and helping others.
The O2 delivery man and I had a conversation one day. It was kind of unusual because I’m usually out running around and working when he comes by. He told me that from what he experienced most people when they go on O2 lock themselves up in their homes and don’t come out. He stated that many of them are too embarrassed to come out in public. They slump off into some kind of funk and depression which compounds issues. It is like they’ve accepted their fate of death and the “little punk bully pride” wins.
Shortly after I started wearing the O2, Eden my son, was looking at me out of the corner of his eyes with that curious/mischievous look little boys get. You know the look. He quietly studied me with a smile on his face, and asked, “Daddy, wha dat on your face?” I explained to him that his daddy officially turned into a Hose Head and that he had a Hose Head for a daddy. I tickled him and we just laughed and laughed. Later Angela, my best friend in the whole world, told me that she was proud of me. I asked her why and she told me that I didn’t let it bother me and that I just kept on keeping on and that she was really proud of me for that. I must say, I was one encouraged Hose Head!!!-God Bless, David.