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Kids … grandkids … and ILD

Contributed by Bob “Oxygen Man” Rawlins, oxygen user and consultant to CAIRE Inc. -

How many of us on a lifelong journey of any kind have the youngsters around?

I bet quite a few. Family, kids and friends make a huge difference in most things we do.

Do we take the time to enjoy it or is the time we spend on other things take precedence over this precious time?

Everyone will have their opinions and as long as you can lay your head down at night and say, “I’m doing my best, I’m helping my kids grow, I’m enjoying family and living as best I can.” Well, you are a genius.

There are many I talk with and there isn’t too many that wouldn’t say they might have done a few things differently. And that’s ok really.

Obviously, those of us on a lung disease journey would refer to not have that challenge AT ALL. I can honestly say that my interstitial lung disease (ILD) journey has been a great reward to me and my family, no doubt. Of course, I’d like not to have it, lol!!!

I have five great kids. Identical twin boys from my first marriage and triplets, two girls and a boy with my current second marriage – 15 years, going on 20 something.

My first wife and I divorced when the boys were just 6-7 years old which made it extremely hard for me to help raise them. I was a further distance away from them and even though I tried to be an influence in their life it was more difficult to achieve.

WE have an awesome relationship and I tried awfully hard to spend time with them when we could. But the everyday routine of raising kids was something I desperately missed.

Back in January of 2016 when I became very sick and things didn’t look so good they both made it a point to come to the hospital and be by my side. One drove through an extremely difficult snowstorm starting from Florida to Cleveland, OH, to get there, but he made it. They were always best friends and they comforted my wife, Terese, every day and stood by her side as doctors gave suggestions and prognosis.

So, our relationship is strong, and we all did what was necessary to build that. You must build that bond somehow, someway.

The triplets if you ask them? Dad is around too much, LOL. No, it has been one of many blessings on my journey. I can spend lots of time with them.

Love being able to see them grow every day. It took some getting used to, but the rewards are beyond words. Sure, I wish I could run around the soccer field, and do some of the other thigs that require more endurance but there is so much more.

The conversations about everything. How they are viewing the world today versus how I did when I was their age.

Their own maturity with dealing with my illness. What they saw. Not knowing whether they’d have a Dad or not. Their own anxiety and worries.

They are champions. They make decisions regarding COVID-19 not wanting to expose themselves so they don’t bring it home to me. They are 15 and making these kinds of decisions. They would prefer to stay at home and virtual learn if it is an option until a vaccine is implemented. Who knows, but the thoughts and ideas they have are amazing to be a part of.

I’m sure many of us have grandchildren. Do we visit enough? Or if distance is a challenge as it is for me. Mine are in California. Do you FaceTime, call or write frequent enough?

Many, I have talked with, say that one of the things they wish they did more, was manage their time better. You can always make excuses I know, but don’t be the one that as time draws near, you didn’t make a better effort to communicate with your kids, or grandkids. That becomes lost time!

Honestly, it works both ways. We on the short end of the stick at times when it comes to travel, and health issues can’t expect to be the only ones to make it happen either. It can be a tough conversation, but it must happen. No regrets!

We will always have some. But the fewer the better, I say!

So, I suggest we take the time to think about what you can or will change. What would you do differently and change that direction today? Don’t lose any more time.

Time is so precious my friends. I know you all understand that – no matter what journey you are on.


Be kind, this world needs more of it!

Till next time,

Love you all,

Coach Bob, aka, “Oxygen Man”


Bob Rawlins, 61, of Medina, Ohio, is husband to Terese and father to their 15-year-old triplets, a soccer coach, a hospital volunteer, band dad and chaperone, and marketing guru. He uses a FreeStyle Comfort portable oxygen concentrator and a transportable oxygen concentrator for overnight travel. 

If you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, learn more about CAIRE by visiting or by calling 1800 431 046 to talk to an oxygen advisor.

The contents of this blog post are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalised medical advice. When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.


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