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My Enabler

I was recovering from my first major exacerbation and had been bedridden for more than 3 weeks. After being in a coma, I had experienced a fair amount of muscle wasting. I was left so weak that I was unable to even push the blankets back in an attempt to sit up. The doctors and nurses were concerned. I was still unable to walk to the door of my room, the criteria for leaving ICU.

A cure was a long way away

It was a frustrating time because when I first woke up, I thought I was cured. It was the first time in a long time that I was not gasping to catch my breath. Then I realized that the medical staff had stabilized me. My breathing was normal, but I was far from cured. A cure might come sometime in the future but it was a long way from now.

The first tool I was given was a walker. In my quest to leave my bed and the ICU, I needed to use it. Being anxious to get both my mobility back and get out of ICU, I accepted. I looked at that walker and I think I heard music playing in the background. I knew that this was going to be my way out of ICU.

The walker was my new normal

Surely I thought, I would only need to be using a walker for a short amount of time, just until I returned to normal. After all, I was only 60 years old and I was certainly too young to be using a walker. I soon realized that this was my new normal and my walker and I would not be parted anytime soon.

As I walked the halls of the hospital, I noticed the different kinds of walkers and noticed a variety of accessories that could be added to the walkers. Having a basket was only the beginning. There was the possibility of a (coffee) cup holder. A tray that sat on the seat would allow me to carry stuff from room to room. They also have organizer mesh bags for carrying more personal and private stuff like a wallet or bathroom products.

So, I borrowed a walker from the hospital while I was there, but the first order of the day upon my release was to get my own walker. As soon as I got my new walker, I began to accessorize with a cup holder and a basket.

The enabler

My walker gave me back my freedom. Now, I could walk around the block, shop through stores, getting to and from doctors’ appointments without panting or feeling like I was going to pass out.

When I returned to work, my students asked if they could name my walker and they baptized her: The Enabler.

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.


  • Goofy
    5 months ago

    I know of two women who have had COPD for well more than a decade and are still as healthy as I am after three years. Is COPD always fatal? Or can it sometimes be just ‘a chronic condition’? I’d welcome an answer.
    Thanx! Goofy

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    5 months ago

    Hi Goofy,
    I was never told that COPD was a fatal disease. It was indicated that I would likely die with COPD but from something other than COPD.
    It is funny how we all as different as our COPD is. Barbara Moore (Site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi Goofy and thanks for your post. As you may be aware, COPD affects everyone differently. Many of our community members are living long, productive lives with this condition. As you mentioned – it is most often looked at as being a ‘chronic’ condition, not necessarily a ‘fatal’ condition.
    Who’s to say that after the next 7 years (when you have had your diagnosis for 10 years), you won’t be as healthy as your lady friends are now? Keeping a positive attitude and living ‘right’ with COPD (no smoking, eating properly, getting one’s rest, exercise, etc.) can go a long way towards managing this condition. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

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