Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 10: Why It’s Time To Retire The Oxygen Mask Analogy

hand copy
Even if you haven’t ridden on an airplane in the past decade, you’ve still heard the oxygen mask instruction given that it’s become ubiquitous with self care. Put your oxygen mask before assisting anyone else, including young children, we’re told. The message being: you can’t take care of anyone else if you haven’t first taken care of yourself.

But here the thing – it doesn’t fit.

It never has.

If the air pressure in the cabin did drop, causing the oxygen masks to appear, I know I’d put mine on while simultaneously assisting the child next to me. We all would.

My son’s surgery last week included a digit pollicization or more simply put, making a finger into a thumb. In the recovery room, the surgeon showed me his casted hand and gave me some instructions. “Overnight,” she cautioned, “we want to make sure the thumb is healthy and pink. If it or any of the fingers turn blue, that’s a problem. I need to know about it.”

We spent the night in the hospital. Nurses came in and out of the room throughout the night to swap out the IV bag and check my sons vitals. I knew that they were looking at his fingers too.

But darn if that didn’t stop me from getting up every few hours and tiptoeing over to his bed with my cell phone. I shone the light on each finger, making sure each one was a nice shade of rosy pink.

This is the analogy we should all be following. It’s interesting to note that the surgeon didn’t just say, look to see if the finger that had been operated on was healthy and pink. She wanted to know if the blood flow to any of the fingers was compromised.

Examine your physical, mental, spiritual, social and emotional well-being. Is everything pinked up?

Or is there a lack of blood flow indicating that oxygen has been cut off?

No comments:

Post a Comment