Getting Some Sympathy for COPD
When mom was dealing with all the stress of living with breathing difficulties, the last thing she needed was for the doctor, her friends, or us kids to start in with judgment. Since her COPD was caused by smoking, and I was a smoker too, my heart went out to her. However, I will admit to getting on to her for smoking too. At any rate, we often felt like people should give her a bit of a break. If you need some sympathy for COPD, maybe a few of these ideas will help you.
Getting some sympathy for COPD
Humor - One of mom's favorite ways to get sympathy was to use humor. She often made a self-deprecating joke to fend off judgment. Once, when someone asked mom about cutting back on cigarettes, she smiled, waved her hands and grabbed 2 cigarettes. Putting them both in her mouth at once, she said, “Oh! I have cut back. I’m only smoking 2 at a time now.”
Truth - At other times, she would open her heart up with courage that anyone had to admire. “Tootsie, you need to stop smoking hon. I can’t believe you haven’t quit”, a friend said one time. Mom looked her straight in the eye and talked about her lack of will power and her implusive reach for a smoke before she even knew what she was doing.
Caring - When the subject came up in a group setting, her kind hearted nature came through. Once, when she had a spasm of coughing, someone looked over and hinted that mom should quit right then. She openly expressed her remorse at having smoked for so many years, and told the other smokers in the room that they should try and break the habit while they were still young.
Helper - Mom was admired for being a connecting point for many friend groups. Some were online, others were in our community. She would tell people, “I’m not able to work full time because of my COPD, but I can still talk to people who need encouragement and help them feel better." She helped anyone in need with a kind word, or a funny joke.
Fear - On occasion people would try to frighten her into stopping smoking. Mom would talk openly about her fears of not being able to quit smoking. She was very public online, and in person about how she didn’t want to feel the heaviness on her chest. Her fear of not being able to get her breath was widely known, and she was vulnerable and honest about it.
Looking for some kind-hearted sympathy
Both before, and after she quit smoking, these were some of many things mom did to try to help people give some sympathy for COPD patients. She could make a joke, or get open and honest. She reached out with a caring heart to help others know that people who smoked and had COPD needed love and respect. No matter what, mom was honest with herself about the fears of not being able to breathe well. All of these things helped open our hearts and see her side of living with lung disease. I hope it helps you too. Mom would have loved that.
Do you have a COPD exacerbation tool kit?