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Taking an Ocean Cruise With COPD

My sister called an emergency meeting of “The Caregiver’s Club.” After mom’s diagnosis with COPD, we kids took turns being up in her business.

It’s something that she loved and hated at the same time. Before I could open the menu, Sis announced that Mom was taking an ocean cruise with her COPD community forum friends.

Mom's courageous journey

I immediately pictured Mom on the sun deck of a cruise ship, sitting at the top of a water slide with both hands in the air. Shaking off the image, I asked who was going with her. They both started talking about how it was already booked and paid for.

A group from her COPD online forum had planned a get-together. It was a done deal. She was leaving in a few weeks.

It was simply amazing to think about. I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs for everyone in the cafe to hear, “Mom is not giving up on herself!”

Finding joy beyond having COPD

It had taken years for mom to quit smoking after her diagnosis of COPD. Lately, her oxygen levels have been fairly stable. She had her portable O2 and medication well-regulated.

Our big scare was over. There hadn’t been a single exacerbation in almost a year. Sure, Mom’s spirits got low. I wondered if taking an ocean cruise with COPD friends might help.

Mom understood that happiness was an inside job. She looked to people, things, and situations for happiness at times. We all do. But she would be the first to tell you that lasting joy was found in loving and caring for yourself and others.

Relationships lasted long after the smell of a new car, the beauty of a household item, or anything you purchased via the shopping channel. Besides, she valued her friends so much.

Planning the adventure

Of course, I drove straight to her house after lunch, and she was delighted to fill me in on all the details. That’s why the girls had called a meeting.

As the oldest, I had to check out the logistics and make sure Mom was going to be safe. She was more than safe. She was plum full of herself with happiness.

I hadn’t seen that big of a grin in a long time. As she went down her list, all of my questions were answered before I could ask them.

A vacation of shared experiences

Mom had been phone friends with several people in the forum for about five years. One lady who lived in a neighboring state had her husband drive her up to meet Mom. That opened the door, and someone found a great deal on a cruise, so several of them were flying into a port.

Once we accepted it, we kids got excited with her. We helped her pack and made sure the ship had good doctors. Her doctor gave her a thumbs up.

They all had the time of their lives. There were many advantages to traveling with people with the same diagnosis.

They were patient with each other. They celebrated every little thing.

We never stopped hearing about the buffet, the shows, and the beautiful sunsets. Their relationship grew closer, and more trips were planned for the future.

We were glad that she had found a way to take control of travel with COPD. I think about it often and wonder if any of you would consider taking a cruise.

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