Avoiding cabin fever

Avoiding Cabin Fever

A major problem with COPD is how climate affects us. I remember looking out my window at the snow a few years ago and grabbing the camera to go outdoors to take a few shots as it was so pretty. A huge mistake as while only 30 yards from my home I felt all the breath leave me even while using oxygen. My tubes had closed through the cold and I felt at that time I would never make it into the warmth and safety of my home. Cold, heat, humidity, wind, all have a major effect on us at stage 3 and above. Friends living in Arizona hate summer due to torrid heat. While others, myself included, are often confined during winter through cold and snow. While this matters little if only for a few days many are unable to venture out for weeks. That is when cabin fever can take hold.

Being at home in a controlled environment keeps us safe from the ravages of outdoor weather conditions. But we still have to manage our condition to stay reasonably fit and well. To keep our minds active. While not sitting on the couch with the remote for long periods. I run a social networking COPD discussion page and put the question: What do you do when you are confined to your home through weather conditions? And had some very interesting answers.

One organized coffee mornings so people came to her for a good chat to catch up with the gossip. Two winters ago I did an open University course on photography. For this I obtained a certificate.

Others love to sew, read, make crafts, including jewelry making. Very many said it was important during those long days of self­-imposed exile to have an interest or hobby. One enjoyed making stained glass art, while advising anything fun and creative to do is great. My major hobby is photography. So I do indoor arty shots and use Photo­shop on those long days. While also learning how to play the ukulele.

Cooking, painting, drawing were all high on the list. While seeking out ancestry with the help of the internet was popular. It turned out there was a heap of things to do during those long days at home. Including making use of Facebook. One lady had started a Facebook page to helping shelter dogs find new homes.

Many had a treadmill to help keep fit. And mostly all did some kind of exercise at home. Exercise really is the crown in the jewel. During winter we can exercise outside the home as long as we can safely ride in a car. I take a ride to a mall, called shopping centers here in the UK. Malls are great for us with COPD as they are warm, dry, safe and well-­lit. We can enjoy shopping, have a gossip over coffee, watch the world go by. And enjoy that ‘feel good feeling’ all while moving our body.

Gentle stretching exercises, lifting small weights – a can of beans can be used if you do not have weights – and strolls around the house are all good. It does help us to plan for the new season when you might be confined indoors. Last year I was involved in a house renovation and had to arrange builders and oversee work. The house I now live in. The previous year an award for photography. So what can I do this year. Do you have any suggestions?

I will next be writing about things NOT to say to chronically ill people.

Until then Remember. We must not sit still. I hope you have found this article useful. Meanwhile till I write again keep a smile. And most off all Breathe Easy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (19)
  • flo 1
    1 year ago

    Sorry meant to add on I was at end stage on being diagnosed aged 46 ..I came back from that through good common sense, exercising daily my dogs help me every day and learning the ‘rule book’ of chronic lung disease..this is not even close to a rule book its dangerous advise and should be taken off the site!

  • flo 1
    1 year ago

    I simply cannot believe what I am reading here , its absurd!!! Please those of you with very sick lungs avoid warm places in the Winter like the MALL OR SHOPPING CENTRE, its where every germ lingers for weeks on end during the ‘germ season’, how utterly stupid is this person??? I have a genetic lung disease, if I dare to shop I get sick, during these months, which is why we are advised not to enter warm, controlled and over populated places like a MALL!! Every person walking through potentially can and will infect a sick lung person, every time you make a purchase and use the card machine you risk getting a viral infection as there is no hand gel for you, so you take your own and wash..wash as you go if you dare to go in…at all, and I certainly would not advise a sick lung person to 1.mix with crowds during this time, 2. hang around drinking coffee ..you have no choice but to suffer cabin fever sorry its a matter or your life and or your death, I have been sick 3 weeks just getting on my feet I never mix when your lungs are so compromised you are able to catch something literally walking through atmosphere where someone sneezed etc, I don’t know what sort of copd this author got but its super mild and nowhere near a ‘stage 3’ which is very severe or he most likely would be ICU now…be careful , be protected and do most hobbies alone, make sure anyone visiting your home is germ free and gel hands all the time..its the only way to surive this to those who are very severe to end stage, I am very severe and have been to end stage walk daily alone on beaches through this time and AVOID PEOPLE LIKE THE PLAGUE!! I strongly advise others do too….

  • Derek Cummings author
    1 year ago

    I bet you feel better after that rant Flo. It is good to get it off your chest. If you had read my other articles, and blogs, you would know that I am in the end stage of copd, use oxygen, have a lung function of less than 25% FEV1, have had copd for 30 years, and use a mobility scooter to ride around on. I must point out you have though taken issue with a very small part of what I have written.
    In practice it is all but impossible to seal ourselves off from the outside world. To do that we would have to ban all members of the family, including grandchildren, from visiting during the winter months. Refuse post and parcels. As the postman maybe carrying the virus, or indeed anyone that had handled the mail. We could get the food sent by using the internet, but then again, the food might have been handled by someone incubating flu so better get it all in during November. Including dried milk and anything else needed.
    A visit to the surgery to see the doctor would be impossible. There are people with germs in them places. I am head of a very active busy copd help site, and can say that many of the members have had to stay indoors not from choice but health issues, yet are still falling ill. For some people shopping is not an option as they do not have the internet, nor anyone to shop for them.
    You are quite right we have to be careful, and make choices that seem right thing for us. For instance, at the moment we have Aussie flu here in the UK, and the flu vaccine is not any good for that. So, this year due to Aussie flu, I have curtailed many trips I would otherwise make, including trips to malls as a precaution. But if the vaccine was effective I would not hesitate to get out and about in them.
    Today I drove out in my car, and took some pictures from within the car, as photography is my hobby. But even then, there is a risk. I could pick up an airborne virus. In practice it is all but impossible to avoid people. Nor would I myself wish to. My family and friends are told should they get an infection not to visit. But even then, one could be incubating flu while looking well.
    I am sorry Flo but your response did deserve one from me. I am not utterly stupid, do know flu for instance could kill me, but must be doing something right having now had copd for 30 years. I do use hand gel, and the advice to wash hands regularly is a good one. It is also wise not to shake hands during the flu season.
    All the best Flo. I wish you well and look forward to your comments on some of my other blogs.

  • MaritaF
    1 year ago

    I have stage 4 COPD and I have to get out and live my life as well as I possibly can. I go to exercise, to lunch, and grocery shopping etc. It may not be the smartest thing to do, but I need to live as normally as I can. I wash my hands, tell sick friends I love them but stay away, and just go for it. I feel I am very fortunate to have come back from some very dark, lonely times, when I thought it would be my last days. Exercise is key for me and so is human interaction, I just can’t function well without either. I know the fear and the depression this disease can cause, its horrible, but it can and did get MUCH better for me. Please never give up hope for a much better life. For me, I cannot or will not live in a bubble, but I understand as for a long while I thought I had to as well. Best wishes to you!!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi flo 1 and thanks for both of your comments. We appreciate you sharing your experiences and suggestions as to what you find to be helpful for you. I’m sure others who may subscribe to your experiences will benefit from reading how you handle your COPD condition.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • ou8125132
    1 year ago

    I have been told to avoid all people & to stay out of stores. I have been doing this 4 2 years now because people that are sick do not realize that at stage 4 a common cold can kill me.The last trip out I got sick and I spent 11 days intubated and 2 weeks in ICU after that. 500K was spent all because someone went out sick. I can no longer work on my home or my car.( I restored it 12 years ago and it’s starting to need work again) My Home is starting to show a Lack of maintenance. My wife is fantastic and spoils me rotten, my daughter comes by often & mows the lawn, and does her best to help out in any way she can. Even with all the TV stuff ( cable, Netflix, amazon prime, ect.) I get depressed. Thanks for letting me RANT but I don’t know how much longer I can stand this.

  • DebbieCartwright
    1 year ago

    R ranting is good and you’re not alone I know exactly how you feel I can’t even get the energy to get out of bed I don’t know if it’s depression or fear not. Not being able to breathe is one of the scariest things I’ve ever come across. So ranting is good don’t feel alone

  • Derek Cummings author
    1 year ago

    Hi ou8125132
    Wow I cannot understand that you were told to avoid ALL people by your doctor. Like you I also have stage 4 copd. I use oxygen when mobile at all times – yet visit restaurants, theatres, go on holidays, day trips, visit country parks, and generally mix even though I am disabled with copd, and use a mobility scooter to get around. But – I am aware to try to avoid sick people. My family and friends all have strict instructions to stay away should they be ill. I avoid crowds when possible. Like you the common cold can spell trouble. I take a vitamin D capsule each day to keep my immune system well. You may want to ask your doctor to check you vitamin D serum level, and if low take a supplement. In practice most with copd are low in vitamin D levels.
    We can all manage different levels of activity. That of course depends on how breathless you become. However, you should so all that you are able to. Maybe with help from your daughter or wife you can start to do some small jobs that will not only give you some exercise. But the satisfaction of being able to do something. As I always say. Baby steps first.
    You really must start to get out a little. That is possible to do while keeping away from the masses – and building your confidence back up. It is not good to live in a bubble. All the best and Oh. A rant is good sometimes. We all do it. Breathe easy.

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    I’m so sorry, ou8125132. It is so frustrating to me when I encounter others that don’t have enough sense to stay home when they’re sick! You’re so right – for someone with COPD it can mean a lengthy hospital stay or worse. It’s terrible that you had to go through what you did.

    The depression from not being able to do what we once did can be horrible. Anytime you need to talk about it or just vent, feel free. We’re here to listen and help any way we can.

    Warmest Regards,
    Lyn (moderator)

  • 1p2ypiv
    2 years ago

    First time I’ve read this site. Needed the uplift as it’s been a couple of rough days and I was getting a bit depressed. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!!! I do know that I feel better when I sit down and write a grateful list. I have so very much to be grateful for. For starters I live in Hawaii. Small island of Molokai. I have good friends. I still work and most days I nail it! 74 is the new 50 I am telling you and for an old chick with COPD I look pretty good. Thanks for listing. Mickey on Molokai

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi 1p2ypiv – we’re so glad that you found our website and also that you have found it helpful! You are welcome here any time for as often and as long as you want to be here. You may also want to check us out on our COPD Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/copddotnet/
    We look forward to your continued participation in our online community. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • David Erickson
    2 years ago

    Hi, in 2003, i was diagnosed w/copd. I was put on numerous different oral inhalers, then prednazone daily was added, then i was given anxiety pills,ending with being on oxygen 24/7. By December of 2013, my doctor told me,i had finally come to the end, and to go home and make funeral arrangements.Talk about getting depressed! But i just couldn’t buy that, so 3 days later, seen 2 lung specialist from the University of Mn.. They informed me that my doctor was 100% wrong, but that the meds i was taking was killing me! I then found a new lung doctor, then another lung doctor, then finally i found one that avtually cared, and also listened to what i had to say. Then Dec. of 2014, my doctors,enformed me that i probably would not see Dec. of 2015, because i was steadily dropping in my health, breathing, along w/numerous hospital stays, and numerous runs to the ER. This was very upsetting for me! This wasn’t fair i thought, i was feeling sad, disappointed . . . in everything, and everyone including myself. I was doing EVERTHING the doctors told me to do, taking one prescribed drung after another, just to loose the battle, that i couldn’t understand. I put all my faith into those doctors, as well as in the pharisical industry. That’s when it hit me, and i mean hit me, i was putting my faith in the wrong place! I reallized, and knew i was dieing….i then knew i had to put my faith into God, i needed to trust in Him, i already believed, now i needed to put all my faith in Him. So i gave my lung problems to God.But i also prayed for doors to be opened for me, so i could also do my part in getting healed. ALL, and i do mean ALL prayers were answered. I asked for a new life and i got it, i asked for opened doors, and they were. Today i am on NO oral inhalers, NO prednazone, NO anxiety pills. I went from being on oxygen 24/7, not being able to walk much over 10 feet w/out having an exacerbation attack, and having 4 to 8 attacks everyday, afraid to go to sleep, afraid of what a new day would be like.I have been FREE of them all since July of 2015. I have had to only see my lung specialist once a year, last time was July of 2015, then july of 2016, and my next appointment is July of 2017. My lung test have been super to say the least. I work out ay the gym w/my daughter, and i walk my tread mill, aand excercise on my total gym at home. I go ATV 4-wheeling alot, i just put in a new patio fence, dug all the post holes by hand w/a post hole digger, i recently put up a new storeage shed (10×12). Winters coming, and i’m actually looking foreward to it. I am very happy, i feel great, but….iam not totally problem free, and i am okay w/that. You see i still use oxygen at night, at least 3x’s a week, and i still do. Dual Neb nebulizer when i feel the need to, i’m not complaining by any means, i’m very thankful, i have been blessed w/a new life, and i’m loving it. Evrtyday, i still practice good healthy breathing excercises (this is a must for better to good breathing). Everyday i walk,walk,and walk some more (walking at any speed, whether slow or fast), walking too is very important for over all health and breathing. Everyday i excercise with free and machnical weights, to properly lift wieghts, you need to breath correctly, so they go together like peanut butter and jam! I keep a very positive, yet open mind. I never gave up, i never will. I’m only able to share my story, because God answered my prayers, and i never lost faith again! I stay in the word of God (bible). God bless everyone, who suffers w/copd etc.. I hope i have not offended anyone, this is just my story, a hope of encouragement for everyyone. I am still fighting the battle, but i have won the war !!!!

  • DeerDebbie
    2 years ago

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Trudie
    3 years ago

    I have recently joined this site. I live in South Africa – therefore seasons are different here. I have a lot of issues at present as, although I was diagnosed with COPD several years ago, it did not actually affect me viciously until a few months ago. I am a 64 year old female, I live alone and I have had some extremely tough days recently. I don’t mind stating that I have been through some very dark days where I have actually wished for death rather than suffer any more. I still have to be assessed for home oxygen use and according to the system in this country, I may have to wait another 3 months or so. Whilst my breathing and strength seem to have improved, I am still coughing up quite a bit of blood in my phleghm, I have constant tummy upsets, sudden intense weaknesses and the list continues on. It would be such a blessing if I have someone that I can communicate with on a regular basis, to perhaps give me assistance, guidance etc as to how to go from here 🙂

  • David Erickson
    2 years ago

    Hi Trudie, thank you so much for your story. Please nevet give up your battle for life. Your body is a temple of God, do all you can to take care of that blessing. I almost dieing in July of 2015, but through prayer, and the grace of God, i am alive and well (doing really good). I hope you have a chance to read my story, and the journey copd etc, that i lived, and am living today. I will keep you in my prayers, i can relate to your fears, your pain, and the frustrations that come w/copd. God bless you Trudie!!

  • Jenn Patel
    2 years ago

    Hi Trudie,

    Thank you so much for sharing so honestly with us. We’re really glad you found us and became a part of the community.

    Derek gave you some great ideas regarding speaking with your doctor as well as finding more people to talk to online who understand what you’re going through. Additionally, since you mentioned there have been times where wishing for death came up, and that can mean many things, I thought I’d share this hotline, which, since you’re in South Africa, has an online resource I’ll share with you: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org – it’s from the National Suicide Prevention hotline, and it has live chat. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever need to.

    Lastly, we welcome you to come by any time you’d like information, support, or to connect with others who know what you’re going through! We hope this is helpful to you and again thank you for joining us.

    Best,
    Jenn (Community Manager, COPD.net)

  • Derek Cummings author
    3 years ago

    Hi Trudie. It sounds to me that you may have and might even still be suffering from an infection. If you have not done so already if able I would recommend you ask your doctor for a simple sputum test to show what infections if any you have. This will direct them to the right antibiotics to prescribe to clear it for you.
    COPD can be very tough at times, more so when we are ill. It is good to hear you seem to be on the mend, with improved strength and breathing. You should always see your medic about any blood in the sputum as although this can be common for some of us with copd, it needs to be looked at to see how best to stop that.
    If you have facebook it might help to visit and join my copd help page – we strive to breathe easier – at https://www.facebook.com/groups/154790934878655/
    There is a thriving copd community of over 370 on there that you can reach out to at any time.
    All the best and I hope you feel better very soon.

  • Beth
    3 years ago

    Some good info I need to put some of this into action.There are also good videos on you tube for exercises for people with COPD.

  • Derek Cummings author
    3 years ago

    Many thanks for your comment Beth. I always write from personal experience, and am sure you feel find something of help in the article. I agree there are some good video’s available free of charge on the Internet that are worth looking at. Breathe easy

  • Poll