When my dad was sick, before he died, I was struggling. My sister-in-law and I took over his care at his home. Mom was struggling too. Everyone kept asking how I was feeling, the only word that kept coming to me was "befuddled". I couldn’t explain it to myself how I felt until my new word, befuddled came to me. Befuddled to me meant a fuzzy or cloudy mind, throw in dysfunctional as well. This word would disappear from my memory banks until I needed it again. I thought I made up the perfect word and was so surprised when I found it in the dictionary. When searching online, I found the definition that befuddle means to:
- Make (someone) unable to think clearly
- Synonyms: confused, muddled, addled, bewildered, disoriented, disorientated, all at sea, mixed up, fazed, perplexed, stunned, dazed, dizzy, stupefied, groggy, foggy, fuzzy, fuddled, benumbed, numbed, numb, vague, informal discombobulated (I used this word too), dopey, etc.
I was surprised. I thought that I had created this word of mine. Befuddled. I had never seen it before, but it really fit with my emotions. You see, I couldn’t even remember my word unless I really needed to remember it.
Struggling to remember
As I saw people struggling with their own COPD or a loved one, it seemed important that I needed to share this special word. Sadly, I could only use this special word if I could remember it. People liked it and even seemed to appreciate it. It seemed to give people something to hold onto. It helped me when my dad passed away and a year ago when my mom passed.
It isn’t that a word is so important. It’s something that gave me an identity and gave some of myself back. When I shared this with others, it brought a smile and a challenge to them, to realize that they too had an identity and that it was okay to feel befuddled for only a little while. Then, day by day, we may heal a little bit more. I did. It takes time.
The beginning of my COPD journey
When a person is on a COPD journey it’s so easy to go through a gambit of emotions. I know I did this too. I was sent to a hospital that specializes in the lungs for a 5-day evaluation. My first reaction was numbness and shock. It was a 5 -day study plus a weekend. They kept us busy. In classroom settings, we were taught how to use an inhaler. We were given exercises to do there and at home. We spoke with a therapist, where we each had an hour. There were allergy tests and blood work. And so much more. Our time off was ours. A couple of us were bused to a lake and also to the downtown area. I saw my first Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile at the motel!
I was so confused when first dealing with COPD
How I wish I had known about my special word at the beginning of this journey. It would have helped me to have a perspective at the beginning. When I got home, I wasn’t prepared for all of the questions, for everyone’s ideas and perspectives. I was terrified and didn’t know where to turn. Then I started a Facebook page. I found others like me, who were lost. Together we found ourselves and friendships formed. It was like a family who understood each other.
How I wish I had known about befuddled. It’s never too late. I have learned to remember this as my word when I struggle through something or if I’m a bit lost. Befuddled. That’s my special word and I’m willing to share it with you.
Is your COPD affected by colder weather?