Inogen Travel: Muir Woods

copd, portable oxygen, oxygen therapy, trips, traveling with oxygen, traveling with POCsIf you want to see the exact spot where earth kisses the sky, it’s in a little wooded grove just north of the red golden gate. This primal forest has been a federally protected National Monument since 1908, but it’s genesis began long before. It’s truly a majestic ecosystem of gigantic proportions! Wooded crowns reach towards the heavens, escaping “Karl”, the infamous San Franciscan fog. It’s no wonder the National Park begs the question, “What will you discover in Muir Woods?”

My husband and I had been in San Francisco almost a year, moving to the area seeking treatment for my lung disease. University of California, San Francisco has one of the best lung transplant programs in the nation and at just 30 years of age, I wanted to be in the best hands possible.

Lung disease and hiking don’t usually go hand in hand, but my doctors encourage me to stay active and I am determined to do so. After almost a year in the Bay Area, my husband and I still hadn’t been to see the glorious old growth, coastal redwoods. We’d heard it was one of the beautiful “gems” of the area, a San Franciscan right-of-passage, so to speak. My family was scheduled to be in town and we couldn’t think of a better activity than to “wash our spirits clean” amongst the arboraceous giants.

In the past, because I required such a high level of oxygen, I used to burn through an oxygen E tank in less than an hour.  My husband would need to fill the back of our car with about 10 tanks anytime we left for even the simplest of errands. We often wondered how long we’d be able to keep this up for what would likely be years, and if I’d have to entertain the thought of being trapped at home, forever connected to my large oxygen concentrator.

Much like the sun burning off the morning fog, these worries melt with the freedom my Inogen oxygen concentrator affords me. Because of its small size, portability, and charge-ability, I have the freedom and mobility I’d once said goodbye to. Today, all I need in order to play explorer for the day is a charged battery (and another for backup) and relative proximity to an electrical outlet throughout the day, for extra measure. Purchasing an Inogen carrier backpack has freed up my hands further to hold my husband’s.

There I was, in the woods, walking hands-free like a “normal” (slightly breathless) individual. What did I discover in Muir woods? Those redwoods make me feel small and, by extension, make my worries feel small. And with Inogen, what worries remain feel even smaller.

Come to the woods, for here is rest – John Muir

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