When I was discharged from the hospital in December 2012, my oxygen levels were still kind of low. They were high enough for me to go home without oxygen, but definitely still below normal. I was worried about that. Some friends bought me this pocket pulse oximeter:
I clip it on my finger, press the white button, wait a few minutes, and presto! It shows my oxygen saturation and my heart rate.
(99 percent is normal. I’m proud of that heart rate, too. For an overweight middle-aged lady with lung cancer, I have a great heart rate and very good blood pressure.)
The pulmonologists at the hospital weren’t nuts about the idea. They said they got a lot of phone calls in the middle of the night from patients who were fine, but were getting worrisome readings on cheap, inaccurate pulse oximeters. Well, it’s certainly true that you can accidentally look at it upside down and get very worried.
I find it very reassuring, though. As I got my strength back after the hospital, I could see how my body was tolerating exercise. I liked seeing the numbers gradually improve. The pulmonologist I see as an outpatient checked my little pocket meter against the expensive equipment in her office, and said it was actually pretty accurate.