Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pulse Oximeter and My Funny Uncle Dee

Pulse Oximeter is a medical device that indirectly measures the amount of oxygen in a patients blood. As opposed to measuring oxygen saturation directly through a blood sample. Most monitors also display the heart rate. The meter is very convenient because it is portable and small. It is used usually with a fingertip or an earlobe.

My uncle Dee is hooked up on full oxygen on a continuous basis. He lives in Las Vegas with his daughter Dee Anna and her husband Hugh. Two summers ago while I was there visiting, Dee Anna and Hughie went to their son's house to enjoy an evening out with their son Duke and his family. I stayed at home and Dee spent our time enjoying conversation and watching TV.

After an hour or so, a storm arose and the power went out. Suddenly, Dee and I were sitting in pitch blackness. I could hear him fiddling around with his oxygen tank, and I became alarmed. I was sure there was a back up system (there was) and asked, "how long can you go without oxygen?" His quick wit and response was, "I'll be dead in five minutes."