Nobody told me that my mother's concentrator had a filter.

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My mother has COPD. She is on oxygen most of the time. We moved her in with us two years ago. At that point she had already had an oxygen concentrator for a couple of years. She got it when I lived out of town. Well, I just stumbled over information about it having a filter that is supposed to be cleaned once a week. I should have thought of that, but this whole caretaker thing is often overwhelming and I'm always playing catch-up since my mother is not a fountain of information. Even my little sister, who is often the one who sorts out care issues (long distance), didn't realize about the filter. I feel like an idiot. The oxygen people never told me either. Now I'm thinking that the concentrator has been working harder, wearing out faster, and being less efficient because I never realized it needed its filter cleaned. Who knows where the original product info is. Mom used to keep product info for appliances all in the same place, but the concentrator info is not in that pile, and I don't recall seeing it when we moved her out of her place and into ours.
So this morning I'm trying to stop kicking myself because that doesn't really help, and as soon as my mother gets up I'm going to drag that concentrator out of her room and look it over. And I'll have to call the oxygen people because I don't think it has been serviced in the last couple of years. Sigh.


It sucks air, but you don't have to. Glad you solved that problem. Don't be so hard on yourself. You're still a hero.
Thank you. I'm not having a good morning. I hate feeling stupid. My husband already told me to stop beating myself up, because nobody else realized either.
Grace, grace, wonderful grace. May I congratulate you on being a loving, caring daughter? I give you permission to not have to be perfect. In the scheme of things, we all have stuff to learn. Now we all know something about oxygen concentrators, and you're the teacher. You get the teacher of the day award! (And we don't have to learn the hard way.) Thank you. You may have even saved a couple lives. You really are a hero. Hope the rest of your day was better.
I dragged the concentrator out of mom's room and gave it a good cleaning, washed the filter, and asked mom if she knew there was one and if the unit had been serviced recently. Yes, she knew about the filter and said she "occasionally" washed it. I told her it is supposed to be cleaned once a week. She said the oxygen people had serviced the unit a few months ago. I asked her PLEASE would she tell me these things because I am TRYING to keep comprehensive track of all her medical needs and I can't do that if she never bothers to tell me things. Today i have to ask her WHEN are the last visits by the home health people, because she won't tell me unless I ask.
Long before she ever needed help with her life she was always annoyed by what she calls "the sleazy mundane." That includes everything from record keeping to cleaning house, to taking a bath, to doing laundry. Back when she could still do all those things, she rarely bothered. Now she doesn't have the energy to do much of anything, but getting her to do something as simple as passing on information to me is like pulling teeth. And her room is a disaster zone. I refuse to clean it. I finally took pictures of it and sent them to my little sister, who said, "OMG, NOW I understand!" I change her sheets once a week and remove dirty dishes and empty her trash basket. The clothes I wash for her are piled on top of the clothes I washed from the previous week, which are piled on top of the ones from the week before that. I took the doors off her closet so she would have easy access without shoving heavy doors. He dresser is so full she bought a couple of little shelf cupboard things, but then just piles stuff on top of them. I really need to clean her curtains and mini blinds, but I can't get to them. Too much stuff piled in the way.
That's the way her entire apartment was before we moved her in with us. I won't let her do that to the rest of the house. She has her easy-reach open shelves in the kitchen (huge amount of space, all at no-bend level), her lazy susan on the dishwasher with her daily supplements, her little paper/mail pile at the end of the table, her little stack of books at the end of the couch, and her odds and ends basket near the hall. When she tries to expand her zones, I contract them. She also has her own computer, with lots of convenient storage next to it. She has 2/3 of the shelf space in the bathroom.
Every morning I get up and tell myself that I'm going to have that conversation with her about going to Alaska for a couple of months to stay with my sister. Every day I chicken out because we have trouble talking about issues now without fighting. I hate snapping at her, but any time something besides tv or weather comes up, I end up getting hopelessly annoyed at her.
I NEED her to go to my sister's place for a couple of months. I need the break and it is the only way I will be able to clean and organize her room. She won't leave the house long enough for me to do it, and we can't work together on it because she has to fuss over each and every item and decision.
We used to get along pretty good before she started needing so much help and then moved in, though I've always thought of her as a rationalizer. I wish I could get along with her better, but I just mostly avoid her because she makes me want to scream. At least she's not mean like some of the moms I've seen described on here.
My Mom is one of those mean Moms you hear about-but just because yours is not doesn't make it any easier. My sister and brother will not have anything to do with her other than a few phone calls. She lives in a 3 room apartment in our home. Some days she is completely clueless, others sharp enough to really sting. I can not be around her more than a few minutes without getting so annoyed, and really, almost sick. I am also on Chemo (2 years) every 3 weeks, sometimes I pray for space from her. She is in fairly good health, drives (but shouldn't) I do her Meds. She has no friends, no interests, no hobbies and sucks the life out of me. When I asked for one day, yesterday, for her to please not call me or come pounding on my door(unless an emergency) my husband asked her , my sister asked her and she call ed 6 times, the last call calling me insane and hanging up. I just wanted to have a break from her, just one day. Oh , boy, I was supposed to support you and I end up with this. sorry, I will do better!! YOU HANG IN!!
seaglass, don't you worry about not supporting me. Just hearing that so many people go through the same thing, some much worse, does help me. I don't give enough support here, would like to be more positive, but some weeks positive is hard to come by. I found out this is the last week for home care. But I get to leave for two weeks starting next week, leaving poor hubby to deal. I couldn't do any of this without him. I stopped by his work yesterday because of my frustration with mom. I told him I was either going to kill her or tell her to move out. He said I wouldn't do well in jail, and that we will do what we have to do. Then he handed out hugs.
Virtual hugs to all of you.
I am laughing!! My poor husband comes home from work and takes one look at me and KNOWS. He loves to say to me "let the Feng Shui, shui" easier said than done. I have said the same thing you have, and jail is not good, however do you sometimes think it might be? It helps me too, so much, to not feel like I am the worst daughter that lived for thinking such things-thank you
My Mom living with us is also on oxygen 24 hours a day and has a concentrator. There is a lot that we don't know about all this, but don't beat yourself up over the filter deal. I was really nervous about all this equipment, the concentrator, the portable tanks, the regulators, etc. It has almost become second nature now. Sure takes a lot more effort to get her off to church, short shopping trips, or Dr. appointments. Hang in there!
mytripod and grandog4kids, you both sound like great caregivers. Unless a person receives a lesson or two about each piece of equipment, how would one know about all the technicalities? Like grandog4kids said, mytripod, don't beat yourself up. Mytripod, maybe you can tell grandog4kids what arrangements you have made so that your mother is looked after when you want a bit of time to yourself. I can understand grandog4kids and her husband definitely needing some off-duty time so that their own relationship isn't permanently damaged.
You are not the only one. I had no idea there was a filter in the concentrator. I'll have to go look at Mom's and see what I can discover. Thank you for the alert!

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