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Don’t Judge Me with COPD 

I can’t tell you how many times my mom cried out those words. The problem was, she was only saying them to me – in private – because it was too painful to say out loud to the offending person. It was usually after a public encounter with someone who had made her feel bad. It wasn’t easy to get my mom down. Sometimes, when she got slammed or criticized, I knew she felt awful.

I came up with some “don’t judge me with COPD” comebacks to make her laugh.

Of course, I felt awful for her and would offer to go after the offending party. She always talked me out of it. I rehearsed what I would say many times. Mom and I actually got pretty ridiculous about it. We had a lot of good laughs over the years about the things people say.

A confession: On certain occasions, it feels good to make fun of people who are judging someone I love. Even if there is a streak of meanness, it does take out some of the stings. Mama knew that, and I believe she secretly loved telling me what was said just to get me going. Here were some of my responses:

Don’t Judge Me with COPD

Judgement: I see that your doctor is making you wear an oxygen tube all the time now. Must feel just awful for your nose.

Response: I see where you’re nostril hairs are getting pretty long. Maybe an oxygen tube would help slow the growth.

Judgement: Maybe it’s just me, but you seem to have aged a lot since you got diagnosed.

Response: It must be hard for you to talk about looks since that plastic surgeon messed up your face.

Judgement: You smoked cigarettes for a lot of years.

Response: Yeah. I had a hard time concentrating when I stopped smoking. I hear that when you need to concentrate, you just stare at a box of frozen orange juice.

Judgement: Some people don’t learn easily. Me? I’ve never been bound by a habit that could harm me.

Response: It’s nice how you can pull off being a hateful old bag and the harmful effects are only seen inside of you.

Judgement: If I had a disease like yours, I would sue the tobacco industry.

Response: If I had a face like yours, I would sue my parents.

Judgement: Poor thing, having to haul all those medicines with you.

Response: How brave of you to be cruel in a world where kindness is regarded as intelligent.

Judgement: You look so weak and frail in that wheelchair. It must feel so sad carrying all those bags.

Response: Say it again and I’ll stand up and show you what an oxygen bottle on the head feels like.

Judgement: I know you tried to shop for the occasion. It’s not easy when you’re so weak with COPD.

Response: You’re right, but it’s easy to ignore gifts for people who are bad-tempered, so don’t worry about getting anything from me this year.

Some of the judgments may have been a bit embellished, but many were delivered flat out cold and cruel. If you knew me, it would be easy to see that my heart is huge and I truly wouldn’t harm a flea. But when mom and I were alone, and she was dealing with criticism, don’t judge me with COPD comebacks were fun. I’d do the same for you.

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.


  • Baron
    1 year ago

    My goodness! Some of those replies are rather curmudgeonly to say the least. People generally do not understand such an illness, cannot comprehend or imagine it and I don’t think they mean to be mean but replying in those terms to people who may not fully understand your condition, just reduces yourself to their level in my opinion. I too get some ‘uncaring’ remarks but in the main, people are kind and I am grateful. If I get an ‘uncaring’ remark I simply ignore it and the person who made it, and move on with my life.

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Baron,
    I think you are on to something here. I have generally found people to be kind and helpful when they see me wearing supplemental 02. I think it is confusing to some people and they probably don’t mean to stare. I try to use that as an educational moment. I never let peoples ignorance of this disease effect me.
    Barbara (site moderator)

  • Karen Hoyt author
    1 year ago

    Thanks to you both!

    Mom definitely experienced social stigma for having been a smoker, and then getting COPD. Sometimes it was people who knew her, other times, a stranger might give a look or make a careless comment.

    I know that everyone doesn’t identify with feeling judged, but it happens.

    I wish no one ever felt bad about themselves, and hope that everyone can learn to let it roll off easily.

    XO Karen

  • Karen Hoyt author
    1 year ago

    Thank you Baron,

    You’re right. In general, we shrug that type of thing off. It’s a waste of time to try and change other’s opinions. My mother was a tender heart with a good sense of humor. This blog was written while remembering a story right after her diagnosis.
    We were eating cheeseburgers in the car to avoid hauling the old heavy rolling oxygen into a restaurant. She saw that someone she knew was inside.
    Someone had recently made a negative “tsk tsk” comment and it took courage for her to get back out in public again.
    We sat in the car eating through tears of fear. I popped off and we both started laughing. From that point on, if any slight was “felt” – intentional or not – we made a joke of it.
    I agree with your attitude, and thank you for your comment!
    Xo Karen

  • WillDoe
    1 year ago

    Dear Karen Hoyt
    “…it feels good to make fun of people who are judging someone I love.”
    Being retired with no family, I enjoy doing this for my new friends at the seniors apartment where I live.
    What I have found is that most people seem as though they become younger: their features soften, they become more animated and talkative.
    It’s amazing what being on someones side can do for them… (Seems to make me popular, too!)

    All the Best!

  • Karen Hoyt author
    1 year ago


    It sounds like you meet people where they are. I can picture your home, and bet that you’re a bright spot for anyone needing a boost.
    Thank you for commenting, and helping to keep other’s feeling young!
    Xo Karen

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi WillDoe,
    Taking the underdog under your wing and doing a great job. You will never know how much you effect their lives. Thank you for all of us who have COPD.
    Barbara (site moderator)

  • Karen Hoyt author
    1 year ago


    I like your reference to underdog. Perhaps when we feel judged after a thoughtless remark, we just need to know there is a hero to wipe away our pain.
    Xo Karen

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