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A sad figure is shown behind a window in a dark house while others have fun outside.

Irritability, Impatience, and Withdrawing

Our families and friends know I have COPD, asthma, allergies, and more. They know they aren’t to come in wearing scented products. Especially body sprays. I have had terrible reactions from those, and it took my air away.

For five days in a row, I had to go in for steroid shots because of body sprays. Some people still come over wearing these scents and smells.

Do we let them in, or don't we? Either we let them in to see them, or I don’t get to see them or the grandchildren, which isn’t often. Knowing I have struggled with this for years causes irritability and sadness that I can't explain.

Having visitors is a lot of work

My hubby tries to catch the visitors before they come in the door, so he does the “sniff test.” The most difficult thing about someone bringing in scented products is that it might take three days in bed or more before the air clears; I get sick and sicker, and then I sleep.

There are chemicals that are in these products that affect my lungs. They take my air away. They can and have triggered exacerbations and allergic reactions. Does this happen to you?

Bed-bound for a few days. Sometimes I end up at the doctor's. I have my Epi-Pens, Prednisone, and an antibiotic to use as needed.

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When asking doctors what else I can do as a preventative, the response is usually the same, and I am told to stay home.

Hardly anyone comes to see us anymore. My husband will usually have people meet him at a restaurant. I will go if I'm up to it and ready to go.

It depends, too, on the environment where they are going. Some places are okay and others might have air fresheners, candles, and whatever else. Some seat tables so close to other patrons.

Having patience with my emotions

Patience is a virtue, so they say. Trying to be patient, I'm finding out that sometimes, impatience gets in the way.

I try to be patient with myself. I try so hard to get things done, such as housework. This is where impatience kicks in.

After an hour or two, I am finished for the next day or two. Maybe even three.

When I decide on a task, I’m heartbroken when I struggle to do it and have no success at finishing it. These are some things I am working hard at:

  • To be patient with myself. To accept that there are challenges that many of us have to face.
  • My husband reminds me, “pace yourself. You always take off in a charge." I’m learning slowly.
  • Learning to step off of where I am is important. Extra patience and taking time to breathe can be a good thing. In a way, I think it takes less stress, energy, and even time to be patient than impatience.

When I learned that I had COPD, I went through a wide range of emotions. I would share some of my diagnoses of COPD with family and friends.

They seemed interested for about 5 minutes. I felt like I was being shut down.

My mom changed the subject, so that was that. Some of my kids waited until we were alone to discuss things. We all decided it was too much for my mom to take.

Yet, she would always watch the Spiriva commercials and then tell me that she was thinking of me. That was sad but yet, so sweet.

Some of my kids took an interest, and they would worry about me. My husband does as well, even though he sees me daily.

Feeling alone because I can't do what I want

Over time, I have found myself alone, more and more often in this physical world. A lot of it is that I feel alone or left out.

My husband is often around or nearby and would like me to do some of the things that we used to do, but he understands that I can't, and some he can't either.

I haven’t been able to go to parties, church, or even barbecues. Family worries when I’m around, probably more than when I'm home. Uncomfortable might be a better word.

It seems that I am withdrawing more and more. Some things I have no control over.

Staying home does bring comfort too. There is less chance of something trigger an exacerbation or an allergic reaction.

It feels safer, and there is less of a chance of falling. There are plenty of things that I can do too.

By avoiding these things, I am withdrawing myself. When people invite me to an event, it makes me so happy, especially if I can go.

A lot depends on the atmosphere and where the event will be held. So I will make the very best of every situation.

My second great-grandchild was born earlier this year. He is a doll. I haven't seen him yet; he's a few hours away and still in the NICU. Soon, he will be coming home.

Then we will celebrate our belated Christmas. What a joyous occasion that will be!

It's wonderful when they share photos. That’s the very best. We are building memories!

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.

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