Acceptance, Photography and Singing
If you visited the link to 'The Spoon Theory', last time I wrote, you would have read a quote by author Christine Miserandino that said 'It's hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day.'
How many of you can relate?
How many of you guys can relate to this quote? I bet many. It was for me until finally, I learned to slow down. To delegate. To stop whatever I was doing when I needed to, for as long as I wanted. That inner voice in my mind subdued.
The result has been less stress, and to be more laid back. I have had less breathless episodes, and when becoming breathless have learned to control my breathlessness better as a result. I have learned to enjoy life in the slow lane.
Acceptance is the key
How did I crack it? How can you? The key truly is – acceptance. Yes I know this sounds simple. Maybe far too easy. That all you need to is accept you have a disability, and can no longer do what you could. That you have to take a chill pill and be more laid back. You have to delegate tasks at times to others. You have to ask for later appointments as it takes you a while to move in the morning.
But acceptance really is the key. Think long and hard. Are you having problems slowing down? Have you accepted your limitations? To be less stressed. Breathe better. Feel better. You have to slow down and accept that us with COPD do have a life-changing condition that means we have to change with it. That does not mean we cannot lead a long fulfilling life. But we do, to enjoy it, have to slow down.
Adjustments and planning
With careful planning and with the help of the right tools you will be able to do many things. Ok there are some physical tasks you won't be able to do. But the world is your oyster for many other activities. I have just planned a two-day trip to Central London in March. I booked parking, the hotel is booked. I am off to a workshop for one of the many volunteer roles I do - this trip to add to my knowledge as a cancer research champion. I have to drive from my home in South Wales to London as I use oxygen when mobile, and any other way is too stressful.
At the London car park, I will lower my mobility scooter with the hoist from the car, and ride into the sunset to my hotel. After breakfast onto the scooter to the workshop. Then late afternoon back to the car and home. I have to use oxygen and carry a night bag. But the scooter means I don't have to carry anything. Leaving me to enjoy a ride on the pavements of Central London.
Lots to look forward to
We can manage many things if we have the tools, and the will to find ways around problems. If you are not working, why not google and research what is happening in your local area? Is there something you could volunteer for? You will be amazed at how rewarding volunteering can be. It is a great way to do something you enjoy, helping you to feel a valued member of society despite your illness while making new friends.
If you use oxygen, don't let that put you off. I use oxygen too and even forget I am wearing a 'nose hose' most the time. I well remember riding my mobility scooter into a board meeting with my 'nose hose' on. Not one in that room even batted an eyelid and each fully accepts I have a disability but am still a useful member of the team. You will find you will have lots to look forward to if you do volunteer work. As well as getting that body moving and making new friends.
My hobby is photography. For that reason, I love any month from about April through to November, when the weather is usually good enough to get out and about. For rough areas of ground, I often rent a scooter called a 'tramper'. A go-anywhere machine that I use to ride up mountains or rough country tracks with my cameras during summer. Often I am amazed at how good my photos are, as all are taken from either beside the car or sitting on a mobility scooter. Some of the places I visit will often find me sitting at the edge of a cliff on my scooter.
Life worth living
A hobby is more essential for those of us that are limited with COPD than for a healthy person. It gets me out into the fresh air. It gives me something to look forward to and makes life worth living. It can do the same for you too. Why not grab yourself a camera and follow me by taking some wonderful pictures? If you get stuck just drop me a note. I will be glad to be friends with a fellow photographer. To see some of my pictures, visit the link here.
Singing and vocal exercises
Our Breathe Easy group is hoping to book a member of the famous Welsh choir, Men Aloud, to talk about the choir, and perhaps get a few of us along to their local rehearsals. Did you know that singing is one of the best workouts for our lungs? We breathe better, and our lungs become stronger by singing.
This promises to be lots of fun. Three years ago I was invited to rehearsals with Boys Aloud in South Wales. There were a few members of Men Aloud at the rehearsals too. The invite was to chat about lung health, smoking, and COPD. What fun that turned out to be! Did you know that most singers, and all choirs, do a vocal exercise before each session? They sing complicated ditties that really do test the vocal cords. I was asked to join in, much to the amusement of many - including my wife Lynne who came along with me. Why they did not invite me to join them on stage at their Cardiff Christmas Gig I don't know ;) Was I really that bad? For my lungs I am ready to have another go.
We may meet on stage one day
If you google local singing groups or choirs I am sure you will find somewhere you can sing too. Who knows? We may even meet on stage one day. I hope you have enjoyed reading this. Remember: Life is an adventure. Where there is a will there is a way. I offer a smile from me to you. Until my next muse. Breathe easy. :)
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?