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!

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