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Person cross-eyed looking down at their nose and trying to breathe out of the nose with their mouth open.

“If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.”

It’s a good thing to have a sense of humor and to laugh – even when you’re healthy. I think it’s especially important to be able to laugh at yourself.

For those of us with COPD there are those days, weeks, months where there does not seem to be much to laugh about. Exacerbations, visits to the ER, and much, much more.

There’s no disputing that COPD does a lot of damage to our bodies. In 2018, there’s not much we can do about that.

But I believe COPD can do a lot of damage to our spirits – our souls. And I am convinced – in fact I know that there’s much we can do for the soul.

Here’s a humble beginning –

Fun Facts:

  1. You can’t see your ears without a mirror.
  2. You can’t count your hair.
  3. You can’t breathe through your nose, with your tongue out.
  4. You just tried No.3.
  5. When you did No.3, you realized it’s possible – only you look like a dog.
  6. You skipped No. 5.
  7. You just checked to see if there’s a No. 5.

Did the facts get at least a chuckle from you? For those it did, my work here is done. For those for whom it did not, I hope you’ll stick around for a minute.

#3 was most important to me. It also gave me, personally, the biggest laugh.

You see, as many know, breathing through your nose is critical especially at time of great stress and shortness of breath. The staff (physical therapists, nurses) at the rehabilitation facility I attend are constantly reminding us to “breath through your nose and out through your pursed lips.”

I found that to be great advice when I was first diagnosed and I followed orders accordingly.

And then, one evening, my wife and I attended a fund-raising reception at a local hospital. Some of our neighbors were there but there was also a great deal of medical staff in attendance.
I was speaking to two doctors when one looked at me and asked, “How long have you had a deviated septum?”

The other looked at his colleague as if he had 6 heads, chastised him and said “Bernie – everyone’s off duty.”

That’s alright, I told them both.

“I know, I know,” Bernie agreed. “But I can see that Mr. Davitt is a focused nose-breather,” (he really said that), “and I just thought he should know he could breathe even better.”
Dr. Bernie worked in the Ears, Nose & Throat, ENT, Department of the hospital. “Come see me next week,” he invited, and I did.

I won’t bore you with the details of the examination and procedures that followed. There was nothing too painful and nothing that required an overnight stay.

Use everything available to you.

There was also nothing that would discourage me from enthusiastically recommending that you use everything that’s available to you to make your breathing easier and healthier.

Within hours after that particular nostril had healed, I could feel the difference. I wasn’t ready to run a marathon (nor would I ever be) but I could sense an increased air flow, even as minute as it might be.

I’m thankful I ran into Dr. Bernie that evening. Providence must have been looking out for me and I’m grateful.

But, I would like to add that it’s not for everyone especially if everything’s working fine in that department and you’re breathing to the best of your availability.

I’d leave it alone.

Or, as my grandfather, wise sage that he was, once told us, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • WillDoe
    8 months ago

    My favorite one was about four years ago: a woman on a portable o2 generator jokingly chastened herself for not having turned on her machine as we were trying to play a dice game [it’s called “10,000”, for those who know it!]. She recounted how she had almost passed out by her car from low oxygen, having done the same thing, forgetting to turn on her o2.
    I was put on oxygen about a year ago, and had recently forgotten to turn on the tank… After almost fainting at the table someone who remembered her offered “Turn your damn oxygen on!” which I did…
    Now, when someone is doing poorly at dice, we tell them to turn ‘turn your oxygen on!’
    I’m in a seniors apartment complex, and am a ‘kid’ at 62… They have started kidding about my walker and ‘stand up slowly, we wouldn’t want you to fall’…
    At Pulmonary Rehab recently, a woman forgot to turn her oxygen on and was getting faint. I told her ‘see how you Are…’. A few sessions later, my o2 tubing became detached from the tank as I was trying to run on the treadmill, ‘Oh, thank goodness it was the tubing, I thought it was me’!

    A good sense of humor, for me, involves being involved with other people. Movies and TV don’t do it for me any more.

    All the best!

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    7 months ago

    Hi Willdo,
    Having a good sense of humour with this disease will take you a long way. Good for you that you can joke and let others joke about wearing 02.
    Laughing is what make life worth living
    Barbara Moore (Site Moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi WillDoe and thanks for sharing that anecdotal story with the rest of us. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves from time to time to keep the mood light. It’s not always easy but it sure is the way to go when possible. I thought this article by our own Michelle Vincent says it best: Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

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