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The Blue Monster: Fears About the Porta-Lung

July 4, 2008 on 2:53 pm | In submarinesusie |

In this post, I will try to address potential fears or apprehension that some people may have about the porta-lung. At first sight, it probably looks like a machine from outer space. It might look to some people like a blue monster waiting to consume the one who enters its chamber. Is this a fanciful notion – a figment of the imagination – because of the uncertainty about the Porta-lung? Yes. There is no truth in the Porta-lung being a monster. I have to admit, my reaction to the Iron Lung (3 decades ago) was one of fear and apprehension at having to try a ventilator which seemed like ten times my size. This fear was quickly overcome through my great determination and will to live.

Over the years I have shown people my Porta-lung and inevitably they ask: “How could anyone sleep in a machine like that? I would think you’d feel so cramped inside there. Do you actually like it?”

My answer is: It’s a great machine! I love it. It is so relaxing because it just takes over the breathing and I can sleep like a baby!

One concern people have had upon seeing my porta lung is claustrophobia. They would have to stand way back from the machine for fear of the tight space. God thankfully spared me from claustrophobia so the Porta-lung doesn’t phase me a bit.

One might get the impression that the Porta-lung is barbaric because it seems like you are strangling someone by fastening a collar around their neck. This isn’t true either. The collars need to be fastened tightly so that the machine can reach its set air pressure without too much taxation on the ventilator that runs it. Once the machine is running, I don’t feel that the collar is strangling me. I only feel the machine pushing air into my lungs and through all my airways (nose, mouth and trach). The focus is not on the collar but rather on the breathing of the machine.

No need to complain about a ventilator that helps me. My attitude is: Don’t bite the hand that feeds me. Be grateful that God has blessed me with a gift like the Porta-lung.

With my respiratory problems, my choice is between a non-invasive negative pressure ventilator or a positive pressure ventilator with invasive tubing in my throat. Hands down, negative pressure with the Porta-lung!


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  1. Seems like with any healing process,the first obstacle we face is our own fear. Why fear first? Well, in choosing to heal we must first clearly see and acknowledge the situation AS IT IS. Immediately, whatever fears we have rise up, and we must find a way past them before we’re able to accept help and forge a solution. Many people just freeze up at this point. Your experience with Porta-Lung, and those comments you report,are a great example. If breath is difficult or impossible for me, why oh why would I worry first about comfort? Fear sets in. This thing looks different, it encloses me, it’s around my neck! AAHHH!! I already KNOW the Porta-Lung’s comfortable, roomy enough, and the collar reminds me of wearing a tie with a suit. So prior knowledge may be cheating. I’ve seen so many people come up with so many objections, sometimes it seems they don’t WANT to heal, and their doctors are afraid to try something different. It’s just surrender to fear, which hopefully our will to live overcomes in time(like yours). Blue Monster? Maybe at first. But breath is more vital and basic than anything…in fact, as I manage to breath better, my fears often vanish!

    Comment by Rambler — July 6, 2008 #

  2. We FIRST have to acknowledge the fact that we are sick and need healing. Some of the fear comes in having to accept the sickness and realizing the healing process might take awhile. Right? It is (sometimes) difficult to accept that we may not heal perfectly, that we may not get back to the physical condition we were once in. “Getting past fears” often involves a loved one coaxing you to go beyond those fears and forging a solution for healing. When one is not feeling well, the best thing to do is NOT to panic. Let’s take breathing as an example. When I find that I can’t breathe, the best thing is call (or signal, if you can’t talk) for help to find the solution. In my case, it is usually from congestion in my throat or lungs so I call for help to clear it out WITHOUT panicking. Panicking actually makes the congestion worse. It really doesn’t do much good, although you think panicking will get someone to help you faster when you’re in need. ;-) I have had difficulty in breathing enough times to know that it is STUPID to think of comfort first. Being able to breathe is all the comfort I need! :-D I would gladly put up with a little “discomfort” (this discomfort is hypothetical by the way) around my neck if I know that it will give me the comfort of ventilation. I’m not sure that people don’t WANT to heal…I think that it is more like they feel so awful that it damages their spirits somewhat. They have so many more fears when they are sick and then they are in vulnerable position too. Trying new things is another fear and if they have a solution to the problem (positive pressure for respiratory failure), then why try negative pressure? If positive pressure is giving them air, then they might ask: Why do they need try negative pressure? Well, that’s like saying “Let’s just put bandaids on a HUGE sore and see if it heals” without putting medicated cream on it first. That’s a closed mindset. :-D Do I want the sore to heal completely or do I just want to prevent it from oozing, pussing or bleeding on my clothes. Whether the sore is bleeding or not, the pain is still there! :-) I want the sore to completely heal to get rid of the pain. We can ask the same question with breathing. Do I JUST want to EXIST on positive pressure or do I want to explore negative pressure and possibly improve my life becoming less dependent on a ventilator? I need a ventilator, so the choice is do I want to live on it 24/7 or do I want to use one that I only need half the day? The will to live has to be stronger than the fears which means people need to trust and hope in much more than themselves. Trust and hope help in the healing process too.

    Comment by submarine susie — July 7, 2008 #

  3. Thanks for the reply,S.S.! You often express things better than I…more direct! That comment about how feeling awful damages people’s spirit gave me something to ponder…if all our “levels” are connected, then better breath could strengthen or wake up the spirit just as a strong calm spirit reflects in the breath. More later. Enjoy your days…Rambler

    Comment by Rambler — July 7, 2008 #

  4. Oh, I don’t know about that. You have given much to think about in your posts and I REALLY appreciate that. Do you have any new insights on the porta lung which I have yet to post about? Any fresh ideas you may have are greatly appreciated and welcomed. :-)

    What do you mean by “all our levels”? What levels?

    Comment by submarine susie — July 8, 2008 #

  5. Hiya! Short reply tonight as I promised my self this’d be an “early to bed” night–always a challenge to maintain balance and be a good steward to this “temple”–yet wanted to keep this flow goin’,as this dialogue has a lot to offer others and besides feeds me on “all levels”. Those levels are Physical,Mental,Emotional and Spiritual.Some folks talk about us having a literal “body” for each one(the physical body,the emotional body etc.) that “layer” on top of each other each with its own characteristics.I think it’s just a way of sorting out and expressing our experiences…that really,God’s housed our spirit in this amazing integrated Thang for which there are a million names, and that we’re barely touching its potential.One cool deal is, BREATH permeates and connects all levels…we can use breath to better access each one. AND I believe Porta Lung can become a tool for improving that access! More later…have a rich and full day! Rambler

    Comment by Rambler — July 8, 2008 #

  6. Ok, but as we’ve said before the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual are linked together. We don’t have separate bodies for each; otherwise, we’d have four bodies. The picture of that is a little ludicrous to imagine! :-D How does breath “access” those levels? I mean, what do you by “access”?

    Comment by submarine susie — July 9, 2008 #

  7. I think those who use the “four bodies” image(it IS a funny picture!) are trying to form an understanding of something very real, but that’s hard to wrap one’s mind around. When I say “access”, it’s just like accessing your e-mail account, or using an access door in a building. Your struggle…journey?…to meet your challenges and forge a life have put you very much in touch with all these levels of existence…you HAD to face ‘em or just give up. Beleive it or not, there are lots of people walkin’ around who are completely out of touch with their own bodies….no handle on their emotions…no clue how these things inter-relate. They need help in “accessing” them in order to make progress. But it’s a fun adventure!

    Comment by Rambler — July 16, 2008 #

  8. Well, there are two different types of people - those who can’t cope with the fact there is something wrong with them and those who think they are invincible. We have briefly addressed the first type already. The first type are too ill to cope with having to research the necessary tools to find healing and tend to get discouraged from the mental and emotional exhaustion of having to make a decision about their health. That’s why it is SO IMPORTANT for the patient to have supportive loved ones around to help them make prudent decisions which will improve health. If you will, the loved ones can help them in “accessing” these alternatives. :-)

    The second type believe they are invincible and so when they get sick, it is a total shock to them but also a catastrophe. They turn the illness (as you’ve said before) into a “panic” or “end-of-the-world” situation and delay the necessary healing process through this kind of mental block. A large part of this mental barrier is due to lack of knowledge about their particular health problem. With the lack of knowledge, one tends to think the problem is worse than it is and depression sets in. Some know there is a problem but choose to avoid addressing it (until it gets really bad) because they are out of touch with their bodies and don’t believe anything can go wrong. The best but hardest thing to do is face the problem head on and research all the alternatives for healing.

    Comment by submarine susie — July 17, 2008 #

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