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LIVING WITH COPD IS A FULL-TIME JOB!

The alarm goes off. Get up, walk across the room and turn the oxygen concentrator up a single notch. Make the bed.

Morning routine with COPD

Get dressed and walk into the dining room for that particular chair that makes it easiest to put on my running shoes. Trip over my oxygen cord!

Stand up, place my foot on the chair, and tie the laces.

Walk into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Go to the cabinet, grab the satchel holding my medications.

The weather has a big impact on my day

Sit at the counter by the window to watch the weather. Check my weather app. Is it going to be hot? Will it be humid? Do I need to reconsider traveling, even though it’s a relatively short distance?

Keeping track of medications and oxygen

Walk to the refrigerator to get some cold water. Grab a glass from the cabinet. Zip open my medication satchel. Grab the Symbicort, Spiriva, Mucinex for my COPD. And more medications for my high blood pressure.

Walk back to the bedroom to hang up my oxygen hose and turn off the concentrator. Put on my backpack with the portable oxygen tank. Walk out to the garage.

I need to check and see how many oxygen tanks (“D’s”) I have and if I need to call the provider for more.

I usually order 8 tanks for a two-week period. I’m down 6.

Go back into the house and call up the oxygen distribution company and place an order.

“We’ll have it delivered tomorrow, Mr. Davitt,” says a very pleasant voice on the other end of the phone.

Appointments for COPD are time consuming

Two medical appointments today – my pulmonologist (10:00AM) and pulmonary rehabilitation class (1:00PM).

Go out to the garage again and get in the car.

Drive a couple of miles to the next town and pull into the Medical Building’s parking lot. Take the elevator upstairs and enter the doctor’s office.

I’m lucky because it’s a very pleasant staff. There’s a bit of a back log. Most of the patients are elderly – like me – and sometimes need to take extra time for an examination.

The Physician’s Assistant who I see (I’ll call her Debbie – not her real name) is always upbeat and full of new information about COPD intervention strategies and medications.

“COPD patients are at greater risk of fractures and osteoporosis than those with other diseases, a British study found,” Debbie tells me.

Useful tips from the doctor’s appointment

And she always full of useful tips like:
“Use a shower chair. It can prevent you from exacerbating your condition.”
“Put a portable fan in the bathroom while you’re showering to reduce humidity and ventilate the room.”
“Get an air purifier. It can remove allergens and other pollutants and irritants from the air.”
“Have your AC inspected to eliminate mold and mildew.”

Pulmonary rehabilitation and seeing results

It’s a good checkup. Debbie’s pleased with my “numbers” (oximeter, blood pressure…). We both agree it’s probably due to the pulmonary rehabilitation sessions I’m attending.

Book an appointment for 90 days later, say “goodbye” and then head downstairs to the garage. It’s 11:30 and the rehab facility is about 30 minutes away. It makes no sense to arrive early because there’s a 12:00 class ahead of mine and I’ll need to sit in the waiting room with months-old magazines and old brochures.

I go to a nearby coffee house, sip my coffee and read the day’s newspaper (Yes…they still exist). Back in the car and 30 minutes later I arrive at the rehab facility.

I’m greeted by the staff (therapists and nurses) and given my workout:

Treadmill – 20 minutes – 1.7 speed, grade -3.
Stationary bicycle – 15 minutes at Level 2 speed.
Arm exerciser – 5 minutes – level 5.
Weights 10lbs – 15 repetitions.

I finish up, an hour later and walk back to the car.

I’m heading home but have to stop at the pharmacy to pick up a medication Debbie prescribed for me. Luckily it has a drive-up window, so I don’t have to walk all the way to the back of a rather large store.

Why the pharmacy is located in the back, making it difficult for those who are ill to walk, I’ll never know.

Heading home around 3:00.

It’s been a long, full day with COPD

Drive into the driveway and get out. My oxygen order has arrived, and I need to store it in the garage.

I’m a little breathless because, grouped together in a carrier, the tanks are pretty heavy.

Walk into the house and head towards the bedroom and oxygen concentrator. Turn portable off, turn concentrator on and return to the kitchen.

Phew!

I’m beginning to think that a friend from my support group was right when she said,

“Living with COPD is a full-time job. Isn’t it?”

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.

Comments

  • BeverlyDeMarco
    6 days ago

    COPD IS A FULL TIME JOB, I DIDNT REALIZE HOW MUCH TIME IT TAKES ME TO MAKE MY BED NOW OR WASH MY HAIR OR TAKE A SHOWER WITH THE CANOLA ON. I GET SO TIRED JUST DOING SIMPLE THINGS ,I USE TO HAVE FUN WITH MY FRIENDS AND GO TO LUNCH OR BINGO OR A MOVIE,BUT THATS TAKES ALL MY ENERGY JUST TO GET DRESSED. I HARDLY EVER GO OUT NOW EXCEPT FOR REHAB OR DR. APPOINTMENTS,MOST OF MY FRIENDS ARE STILL WORKING BUT I HAD TO GIVE IT UP BECAUSE OF THE COPD. THIS REALLY HAS CHANGED MY WAY OF LIVING. SEEMS LIKE I AM JUST WAITING IT OUT AND TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME.

  • KevinDavitt author
    6 days ago

    Beverly – it’s tough. No doubt about it.
    But what choice do we have?
    Keep fighting.
    I get satisfaction doing that!

    Cheers,
    Kevin

  • Ginzy2
    1 week ago

    Am new here. Was actually diagnosed with COPD probably about 5 or 6 years ago. At the time I didn’t think too much of it, since I spent half my life being sick with bronchitis at least twice a year. So there I was, again, in the hospital with pneumonia, with the Dr. saying I had COPD. I was so sick, am not sure it really meant much to me, except I knew it meant I had lung damage. Well of course, I was an x-smoker. I wasn’t told much, and over the years, when I got sick, it was mentioned now and then it was my COPD. That’s all that was mentioned. Recently, about 6 months ago, I was there once again with breathing issues and received a breathing treatment for the 3rd time in a few months, leaving me very concerned. As I was leaving, my doctor asked about my nebulizer. I looked at her and said, I don’t have a nebulizer. SHE NEVER WROTE AN RX FOR ONE! IT WAS THEN I REALIZED I NEEDED TO KNOW MORE. I knew my breathing was not as good as it was, but that was it. Once I started researching COPD, I literally panicked.
    For whatever reason, my breathing has gone downhill over the past 6 months, with an FEV of 41-44%. I was shocked, but then it all made sense. The reason why I seemed to not have as much energy, nor really wanted to pick up the phone much and speak with people. It just seemed hard at the time. I had lots of reasons and excuses. I hadn’t been to a mall in over a year.
    I am very disappointed with my doctor. I immediately contacted a pulmonologist, who in turn, set my up with pulmonary rehab for quite a few months, and set me up with a nebulizer. She also changed my medication.
    Now, I have found a clinical trial being done for a medicine that shows some promise for helping slow the progression of COPD, and in mice, have actually shown a very slight regression of the disease.
    I am going for a CT next week, which is part of the entry into the program. Unfortunately, I passed (or flunked) my FEV1, so my low numbers qualified for being considered into the program.

    I will keep you all posted. Am praying that I succeed in getting into the program and that I am one who will be given the actual drug, and not a placebo, and that am praying, of course, that it shows promise for me and others.
    The drug is Losartan. It is a BP medicine that is fairly well known and relative safe. I take BP meds, so that was another reason I was allowed into the clinical trials.
    This has at least allowed me a small amount of hope.
    Take care all

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    7 days ago

    Hi Ginzy2 and thanks for joining in the conversation here in response to Kevin’s article. We appreciate you sharing your story with the community. As Kevin said, it appears you are on the ‘right track’ here, with a pulmonologist and pulmonary rehabilitation. We’ll look forward to your updates as you keep in touch moving forward. Good luck! Leon (site moderator)

  • KevinDavitt author
    1 week ago

    Ginzy2 – good for you!

    Yes – unfortunately, we sometimes have to “discover” things ourselves.
    But – in any event, you sound like you’re on the right path having found a pulmonologist. They should be able to better tune into your needs.

    Cheers,
    Kevin

  • swinkler2
    1 week ago

    I wish I could still do all of that. At this point, COPD is no longer a full time ‘job’, it is full time survival. End stage.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 week ago

    Hi swinkler2 and thanks for joining in the conversation here responding to Kevin’s article. We hear you! How are you getting through your day? Is there anything you can share with the community? Leon (site moderator)

  • GracePrice
    2 weeks ago

    Sometimes I get the feeling my family has no idea what I’m going through. I often think I am a burden to them.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hi Grace, and thanks for joining in the conversation here. What makes you think the way you do about your family’s awareness of your condition? Is there anything further you care to share with the community? Leon (site moderator)

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