The Daily Agony of Living With COPD
Last updated: August 2023
One of the things that I have learned while dealing with COPD is that it is hard for others to understand what we live with every day of our life. Those able-bodied people have a hard time understanding the ins and outs of being unable to breathe.
They simply don’t get it. Even those that try to understand are surprised at the level of discomfort and agitation that we feel on a daily basis.
Having COPD is a daily struggle
From the time I get up in the morning till the time I go to bed at night, I struggle to breathe. Sometimes, I sit longer than I should and procrastinate about moving to use the washroom or going the length of my home simply because I know that it will cause me to become short of breath.
Extreme shortness of breath is my daily passenger.
Living with chronic respiratory challenges
Even though I use supplemental oxygen 24/7, I still get short of breath with movement. Some days it’s worse than others, but basically, my breathing is never good.
I sleep at night with a BiPap and oxygen, but I sleep in short stints and wake as if someone is nudging me to get up, but no one is there. Always having a problem getting back to sleep, this choppy sleeping pattern causes fatigue all day long.
I take my meds regularly on a daily basis, and when I get chesty and have a hard time getting mucus to move, I use an airway-clearing device. My husband noticed that it seemed to work every time I used it, so I use it whenever I need it, a maximum of 15 minutes.
We need all the help we can get, so why not investigate if one of the devices works for you?
Prioritizing my well-being and supportive connections
My children are adults, and I have one grandson, so it is finally my time, and my chief job is to take care of me. I make no apologies for that, and I have no problem with pushing some people away.
Having limited energy these days, I try to use it wisely and realize my energy is wasted on those that refuse to understand. Chalking it up to their loss, I try to remember 'seasons and reasons' and know that for my peace of mind, I must let them go.
It is the only way I will have room for those that are available to help me along my journey.
Navigating understanding and forgiveness
Many people in my life go out of their way to understand my illness. They can try a few tricks, like breathing through a straw while walking up a flight of stairs.
Others don’t even try to understand or find asking too frightening. Since I have been on both ends of the spectrum, I have found it easier to forgive them and just move on.
One thing I learn as I get sicker is that life is too short to worry about it.
Where do you stand with your COPD?