Neither papapoo or the other staff members of "Living With COPD" can accept responsibility for these "inventions".  Neither do we get any remuneration if you buy one of these items that might be for sale.  They are presented for your information and do have a practical application.  If while using them, they scare your grandchildren, then you should have prepared them better.

The most famous gadget that I am aware of is Ron Peterson's "Straw Mask".  Now the first time I heard the term, I thought it was some kind of mask made out of straw.  Wrong!  Ron's mask was developed to help filter out bad air and odors that cause problems for lungers.  You can see the straw mask by clicking here.  Now here are some others:

The Breather® was invented by a pulmonary rehabilitation therapist who has been marketing the item for some time now to individuals, hospitals, rehab facilities and other places that need such a device.  The device is made of plastic and has a variable adjustment wheel to adjust the amount of back pressure for both inhalation and exhalation.  Sound familiar?  You bet - this is a device to help you do pursed lip breathing properly.  Literature that comes with the device, advocates its use to "optimize lung power, train more consciously, improve cardiovascular endurance, and boost stamina". They definitely have the right idea telling us, "Breathing comes first, everything else follows".  The device has FDA approval for its intended use but no prescription is required. Remember that we do not get a kickback if you buy one but be sure you tell them that Papapoo sent you.  Check out their web site and more informaton by clicking here

Trans Tracheal Oxygen (Scoop)

I am a 64 yr. female that was diagnosed with emphysema about ten years ago.  I have managed very well until  last 24 Months, That is when I went on 02.  I have been in the National Emphysema Treatment Trials for a year and was randomized to the medical arm of the program. I am in an aggressive exercise  program through the McLaren Medical Center Rehab in Flint, Michigan.

I am presently on 2 liters of oxygen 24 hours a day. I have been very discouraged with cannula as I know everyone is. There are two ladies in my pulmonary rehab class that are wearing the Trans-Tracheal Oxygen (Scoop) and I knew when I had to be on 02 -24 hours, that is the way I would go. I had the procedure 2 weeks ago and the freedom from wearing this cannula is great. The procedure took about 20 minutes.  The doctor has you sitting in a chair  and they freeze the surrounding area and then the trachea. It was a simple and pain free experience. First they put a stint in for a week and then yougo back and they remove and insert the real thing and attach the 02. They are very patient with you and teach you how to clean the trach. I willbe making several trips to the doctor until the sight is mature, and that will take about 6 more weeks. We wear the tubing under our clothes and it fastens to our waist band. There is no danger of it pulling on your neck. It is fastened to our neck with a chain that we can replace with a chain of our choice after the sight is mature.
Jo Jo Barnes
Flint, Michigan
September 1999

The MotivAider®

This device is about the size of a pager and will vibrate, and automatically repeat,  according to the time interval that you set for it.  It was developed for reminding folks that have panic attacks to breathe properly on a schedule in order to lessen the possibility of panic attack.  Other applications might be to remind you to take certain meds, etc.  It can be set for any time between one minute and 23 hours-59 minutes.  Cost is about $70.  More information can be obtained by clicking on the photograph of the device. (August 1999).

Volumetric Exerciser 
This device is also one that was developed to assist the patient in developing better breathing skills.  It is frequently used in hospitals to help patients improve and maintain their respiratory fitness after surgery or when admitted for a respiratory problem.  The idea is to practice using this device and it will help you increase your breath volume and slow down your breathing pattern.  All of these things help relieve shortness of breath.  This device sells for about $25 and is further described on the same web site as the The MotivAider® above.  Click on the graphic for more information. (August 1999).

The Flutter®
This device is used to loosen mucus in your lungs so that it may be expectorated (us southerners say, "spit out").  While it was developed for individuals with cystic fibrosis, some pulmonary specialists now feel that it is effective enough for those that need it to prescribe for COPD patients.  You can obtain more information regarding The Flutter® by clicking on the graphic to the right.  About $50 worth of hardware but some pulmonary doctors have a sample in their desk drawer that they have forgotten.  (August 1999).

Finger Pulse Oximeter

There is a lot of controversy concerning whether this gadget is necessary for the individual patient.  At $350 plus, I would want to be sure that it is something that I would understand and use or have Santa deliver it.  The oximeter gives the Oxygen Saturation level on top and the pulse rate on top.  It is battery operated and not intended for "continuous monitoring" whatever that means but many COPD folks find it particularly useful when exercising at home to monitor the SaO2 and pulse rate so that oxygen levels may be maintained and the target heart rate may be reached to get the optimum results for the exercise session.  Some insurance companies (Not medicare) will listen to reason to a well written letter from your doctor and pay for the device.  Olivija's web site normally has the cheapest price going as well as a sample letter to submit to your insurance company. For Olivija's information Click Here and then use the Find  function on your browser (normally under edit) by putting in the word plymouth (in the address of the vendor) and you will go to the information you want.  To get more information on the oximeter itself, click on the graphic. (August 1999).

Peak Flow Meter
The peak flow meter is often provided to asthma patients because by taking a reading daily, the lung volume will help predict an oncoming asthma attack.   Since some COPD patients have an asthma element, the peak flow meter can also be very useful for the COPD patient.  Directions come with the meter but one should not be tempted to try and compare their readings with those shown for the "normal" individual.  COPD patients have obstructions and actual lung loss and are seldom anywhere near the norm. This device can be obtained from most any pharmacy for about $20 but sometimes professional samples may be available from either your doctor or your pharmacist. (August 1999).

Most authorities recommend using a spacer with all Measured Dose inhalers.  They cause the mist to function in such a way as to provide optimum results.  They also are very effective when using steroid puffers to assist in preventing thrush or that sore throat feeling coupled with a loss of the voice.  There are several types and doctors often have the latest styles as professional samples. (August 1999).

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