My thoughts have been largely occupied, as of late, with the difficulties and struggles which are continuing to escalate as we battle against coronavirus. National Integrated Respiratory Care Week provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on some of the positives in my life, for which I can continue to be thankful for during this difficult time.
This recognition comes on the third anniversary of the FDA approval of VOCSN, which is the first and remains the only piece of integrated respiratory equipment. I am proud of my role as VOCSN Ambassador helping to spread awareness of the benefits of five therapies - ventilator, oxygen, cough, suction, and nebulizer - in one portable device.
While there is a shortage of respiratory devices at present, the development of ventilator technology in the late 1900s has allowed me to live a relatively normal life despite the fact that I am dependent on a machine to sustain my life. Created almost 100 years ago the iron lung, while life-sustaining, certainly did not facilitate what could be considered a normal lifestyle.
Modern portable ventilators, however, have allowed me to live at home with my family, go to school, participate in society, and even travel. Naturally, I need more help with my daily activities than is truly normal, but my lifestyle, aside from the fact I still live at home with my parents in my 30s, has made it possible for me to graduate high school, attend university, and become a productive member of society.
My ability to live this life is not only a result of the availability of portable ventilators, but many other technologies which support good respiratory health. Cough therapy and portable suction have made it possible to stay healthy and get out of the acute care setting. While these technologies were available at the time of my injury, they have undergone incredible advancement during the time since.
The integration of these therapies in VOCSN has resulted in both the streamlining of equipment and improved care, which has continued to make my active lifestyle that much easier. I am so thankful that these technologies have improved my quality of life, but I am also thankful that they already exist now when they are able to continue to tip the scales towards positive outcomes in the fight against coronavirus.
I know that in addition to my family, the support of nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, and of course bioengineers have all been integral to my success in maintaining an active engaged life despite my spinal cord injury. During the current crisis, all of these same individuals are fighting to mitigate the effects, for which everyone should be grateful.
Therefore, this week my thoughts are with everyone who has supported me through my spinal cord injury, those who are currently caring for me despite the increased risk, and for everyone who will contribute to a better future for anyone in need of respiratory support. I am grateful that National Integrated Respiratory Care Week has reminded me that during the midst of the current crisis there are many things for which I can be thankful, while also providing hope that all of the past and current work in this field is helping in the current worldwide fight against coronavirus.
The views expressed by Loa are not necessarily the view of the Ventec Life Systems, its members or the clinical board. These blog posts are the personal experiences of Loa. The blog posts are not intended to provide clinical advice or training related to VOCSN. Always consult a physician or trained clinician prior to using VOCSN. Please refer to the VOCSN Clinical and Technical Manual for detailed instructions, including indications and contraindications for use. VOCSN is available by prescription only.