• Ravneet Kaur

Hypoxia

When I was shifted out of the observation ward, I was feeling a bit happy. I was moved into a private room in the medical ward. I was still very weak and when the nurses came over to check my vitals my SpO2 readings were lower than 90%.


In layman terms, the Oxygen saturation (SpO2) is a measurement of how much oxygen your blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum it could carry. For a healthy individual, the normal SpO2 should be between 96% to 99%. The nurse asked me to put on oxygen until my reading comes up. 



By this time, I was getting a bit agitated that something else might be up with me now so they won't discharge me. So I said to him that I have been laying down a lot probably that's the reason my oxygen levels were low. I so wanted to go home to my cats.

My friend Alex visited me that night after she finished her work. I asked her to get me some clothes. As she got into the room, I started complaining to her about how cold the room was the aircon vent was right on top of the bed and it was freezing. She sat there for hours with me talking as we were catching up after a long time. I told her how my chest feels heavy because of the cold.

As I tried turning over, the cannula from my insulin pump sprung out and I groaned. I asked Alex if she can make a quick trip home and get me a new cannula set because I cannot stay more than an hour without my pump as my levels start to rise. So she went back to my home to get me the cannula. It was almost night time when my aunty brought me dinner and while she was leaving, Alex came over with the cannulas. She sat with me for a couple more minutes and said she needs to leave as she had to feed her dog. She left telling me she will see me soon.

I had my dinner and was getting ready to sleep. I felt a bit better, so I took off the oxygen and went to bed. They still had one cannula hooked up to me for my antibiotics. I started lucid dreaming again. Vivid patterns and animals of various species were dancing all over the ceiling. I was not sure about the time when a nurse woke me up. While still confusing dreams from reality,  I extended my arm to her so that she can check my sugar levels. My sugar levels and ketones were fine.

As she was leaving, she turned around and said while she was at it, she should also check up my blood pressure. She was told that I was doing fine but she wanted to make sure. I said okay, still looking at the shapes and animals on the floor and the ceiling.

As she checked my levels my SpO2 came out to be 70%. She looked horrified and asked me if I was okay. I said I am hallucinating things. She said that's because your body and brain are getting very low oxygen. She quickly put oxygen again and raises the amount that was going in before. She asked me if I was feeling funny. I said I am not sure. She said I will be okay and left the room.

A few moments had passed, when I had a sudden urge to use the toilet. I pushed the button for help and another nurse showed up. I told her that I needed to pee so she hooked me up to an oxygen cylinder and helped me to go to the toilet. While I was in the bathroom, I could still see different shapes and animals on the floor. As I came out the nurse was waiting for me, I started crying uncontrollably asking her what is happening to me, she said they are not sure but I might have just made a lucky escape.

I asked her what she meant, she said it was sheer luck that the other nurse ran a check on my oxygen level or else, I could have died in my sleep as Hypoxia can kill you. When your body doesn't have enough oxygen, you could get hypoxemia or hypoxia. These are dangerous conditions. Without sufficient oxygen, your brain, liver, and other organs can be damaged just within a matter of minutes after the symptoms start. Hypoxemia, which is the low oxygen in your blood can cause hypoxia, which is the low oxygen in your tissues. When your blood doesn't carry enough oxygen to your tissues to meet your body's needs, the body eventually gives in and the term hypoxia is used to describe both the problems.

I asked her if I can have an apple, my uncle brought some fruits for me. She cut me an apple and I sat on the chair eating it. The room felt so cold. In my head, I was trying to tell myself that its nothing it's just the damn cold that is making my chest feels heavy and have affected my breathing as being in cold for too long makes me sick. I asked her for another warm blanket and some heat packs as I finally got into the bed. I put on the clothes and the socks Alex got for me and felt a bit better.

Before I went to sleep I hoped everything is okay and that I do get discharged the next day.

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ravneet2105@gmail.com

NSW, Australia