I had a moment of slight alarm when I put the Sp02 monitor on my patient the other day and it read 89%. "Do you have any history of COPD, sir?" I asked. "Or maybe any other breathing problems?"
He looked at me with a blank face, so I quickly pulled a nasal cannula off the wall and started to apply it. The nurse who was precepting me was like, hey, he probably doesn't need that. I was all "yeah okay, I guess oxygen isn't all that important but whatevs" and kept putting the NC on. The guy denied feeling short of breath, tired, or anything. So I go to turn on the O2 at 2 L, and again my preceptor is telling me that he probably doesn't need it. In my head I'm thinking she's a crazy person because we all need oxygen, right?
Then she gets one of those lightbulb moment faces, and asks if this is my first job at altitude. I answer yes, and she looks all satisfied.
Three minutes later, I'm educated on the fact that apparently everyone here in Denver lives in the 89-100% range, instead of the more common 95-100% non-COPD range for everywhere else. The more you know, I guess?
I dunno. I still put the oxygen on, because I just felt more comfortable doing that. No one's gonna die from hypoxia if I have any say about it, dammit.