Uncle Jim Goes Boating with his Oxygen Concentrator

James W., is known as “Uncle Jim” to almost everyone who knows him, because he's just like your typical uncle. He loves treating his nieces and nephews to a fun weekend, especially when it involves taking them for rides on his pontoon boat on the lake near his home.

Uncle Jim was diagnosed with COPD 3 years ago, at the age of 59, but that hasn't stopped him and his family boating adventures, or keep him from riding on his jet ski. Other than needing to use oxygen therapy, you would have never guessed that Uncle Jim has any sort of chronic disease. You can always pick him out in a crowd. He's a tall man with a white beard and he always wears his Cleveland Indians cap. Uncle Jim always was, and still is a very lively person with a zest for life, and a love for the great outdoors and water sports.

“I quit smoking. There was no two ways about it.” he says. “As soon as my doctor told me why I have COPD, I threw away my cigarettes. I also cut down on drinking.” Uncle Jim's change in lifestyle seems to be attributing to his steady high energy. He also gives a lot of credit to his portable oxygen concentrator.

“I tried using liquid oxygen tanks for a while, but then I found out about how oxygen concentrators work. I went and got the Respirionics SimplyGo because it does continuous flow, and I need that in 2 LPM. This thing makes me feel like I don't even have COPD, and it's so small, I hardly even notice it anymore until I have to switch out the battery.”

Uncle Jim uses precautions when he is boating, however. Oxygen concentrators shouldn't get wet or even damp, because water droplets entering the vents in the machine can cause it to malfunction or become dangerous to the one using it.

“I only go out when there's a very low chance of rain, and if the clouds start to look dark, I head back for shore. I wait until I'm done using my oxygen therapy before I even think about getting on my jet ski. The carry bag for my concentrator works great to protect it, but when I'm not using it, I put it in the shade in a dry cooler, strapped to the top of the deck to keep it safe. I've done that for the past 2 years and it's doing fine.”

He also makes sure he can spend plenty of time with his nieces and nephews out on his boat by bringing along his battery charger and an extra battery. “I realized I needed to get an extra battery and a charger when I decided to spend a whole day out on the lake. Before it started getting dark and I wanted to go nigh fishing, I had to leave the lake because my battery was about to die.”

When asked about how well he likes his oxygen concentrator: “Using the tanks was a pain. This thing is more convenient.”

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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