A woman talking to a concerned friend with a tangled up ball of scribbles in her head and in a speech bubble


Last updated: March 2019

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.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

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.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Is your COPD affected by colder weather?