a woman standing defiantly with her walker and her oxygen tank in front of a looming school building

My Brave Days

Since I was diagnosed with COPD 5 years ago I have had many brave days. I am not brave every day. I have my bad days too. Some days I am a mess, crying and afraid of the world. I have tantrums and pick fights for no reason other than to help me feel better. I blame everyone and myself for how it all turned out. But then, other days, I am brave.

That time I attended respiratory rehab

I had just finished an entire month in the ICU. I was sent home on oxygen and promised to get a call from a respirologist. I figured my appointment would take at least 6 months. I got my call within 2 days. I went to see him and he put me back in the hospital for another month. I felt so lonely when my husband left and I wanted to run out of there with him, but I was brave and I stayed.

There was the day I woke up on a ventilator

I didn't remember what happened to me and I was confused about how I got there. This was the second time in 6 months that I was vented. I  didn't remember the first time because I was still in a coma when they removed the vent, but I did hear about it from my kids and my family. I remember them saying how very scared they were. I retained my composure in the midst of wanting to freak out and try to pull the vent out. I closed my eyes and took a mindful walk around the block. In my mind, I saw the flowers and smelled the fresh-cut grass. I heard the birds, I saw the sunshine, and felt my hands on my walker. I felt every break in the concrete on the sidewalk.

That time I went back to work

I had two major exacerbations and a round of rehab in 6 months. Lots in my life changed. Now it was time to go back to work and I was returning with a walker and on supplemental oxygen. The last time I left my classroom was of my own volition, but that was not the way I would return.

On that first day, I had to get there very early because I wasn't sure what it would look like. I had to take back my classroom. It helped that I was getting a new class of students who were new to the school. Lunchtime came and I had gone to the staff room, not having seen my colleagues in several months. I walked in the room with my walker and oxygen in tow and my colleague looked at me and said, "You are the bravest person I know."

These are just some of the brave moments I have had. I am brave because my family needs me to be brave so that I can be there for them.

When was the last time you showed bravery in your life? Share more with us here!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

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.