When COPD Affects Your Family

Last updated: March 2023

Mom used to say that we put the fun in dysfunctional. When COPD affects your family, it is anything but funny.

Oh, we tried to make light of the troubles, but we also were honest about making changes. Mom was big on trying to repair any family feuds. It always worked out in the long run.

I woke up today thinking about mom and how each of us had our way of helping out after my mom’s diagnosis with COPD.

In the beginning, our communication wasn’t so great. My siblings and I were all raising kids, and we also had our work life to consider. At first, we all bumped against each other, and then painful accusations would fly.

It was like a contest of who had the busiest life. Everyone wanted someone else to help mom get oxygen tanks, meals prepped, or prescriptions filled.

Keep an eye on the future

We were raised to honor our parents. We had good hearts but also could be petty at times. Ultimately, we didn’t want to have any regrets.

Looking back, we wanted to know that we had done everything to help mom have the healthiest life possible.

Eventually, we found a rhythm that seemed to work. It was a good effort to prevent us from rehashing the same problems over and over while mom gets less and less help.

When COPD affects your family

Since I lived out of state during part of this time, my role was to come in and make changes. I ran interference with the medical team.

With a flexible schedule, I could go to doctors' appointments and ask hard questions. Mom and I planned her medical care when my notepad was filled.

My little sis was teaching and couldn’t leave without a substitute. She became the official nutritionist.

She is a great cook and always sells these wonderful casseroles and baked goods. Mom’s freezer held containers of ready-to-heat meals that were healthy and delicious. It was a gift that no other kids could (or would) do.

Our middle sis lived close to mom so she could come in and out before and after work. She got involved in the finances and ensured mom’s bills were paid.

Our brother had moved to another city, so he wasn’t as involved except when big chores needed attention.

Finding solutions

This all sounds so rosy, but let me tell you, it could be tense, especially when deciding whose turn it was. It seemed like we all kept an account of how much time we spent.

Mom was the one who got caught in the crossfire at times. Our family was then forced to learn how to communicate.

Ultimately, we all loved each other and mom. We wanted her to have everything she needed to stay active.

If your family has been affected by your COPD, I hope you can find solutions everyone can live with.

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