Life Gets in the Way of Living

Last updated: August 2023

Life with COPD and other chronic health issues sometimes puts living on hold. Too often, when we struggle with breathing, for example, we stay home and away from people.

Why? Staying home can be less stressful.

Hopefully, too, there isn’t anything that will trigger exacerbation, allergies, pain, and more. Life may tell us that we have COPD, asthma, chronic pain, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, allergies, and we may be homebound.

So many things can trigger our health outside of the home. That’s how life gets in the way of living.

Finding comfort in companions

Our family may live a distance away, and friends may be fleeting. Is there a spouse? If so, they might work or go on outings. Maybe they are a golfer or someone who meets with friends to play bridge or poker. Maybe our spouse likes to fish.

This means that for some, much of the time is spent alone. Maybe not. There may be pets to bring joy to the days that help to encourage exercise, even if it’s indoors. If pets are like mine, we can find plenty of ways to exercise indoors, plus they are great listeners.

One of the three dogs talks back, and he can get quite argumentative. He’s 14, and his health isn’t the best, so he takes advantage of that. He tells me when to eat, go to bed, etc.

These fur babies do make my world go round. You have possibly read about them or seen their pictures in other articles I have written.

I don't know what I would do without them.

Cherishing connections

Maybe, just maybe, living is the best part of life.

I live for phone calls, Facetime, and messages. For photos and young art. How wonderful it is to see their faces with smiles and laughter.

Some might have a story to tell about something exciting in their lives; others may be struggling. There might even be one or two that need someone to talk with about something confidential. They all know that what is said here stays here.

Sometimes, though, that isn’t enough living.

Safe family bonds

It was Sunday, six days ago. My granddaughter celebrated her 24th birthday. My grandson’s 23rd birthday is two weeks away.

The great-grandbabies are a year and a half and over six months old. On my granddaughter’s birthday, I celebrated 20 years smoke-free!

They couldn’t come to me, so I was off to see them. It was a wonderful day, even though it was 3 hours each way away. I was able to see my brother and some of his family as well. What a fun day.

I spent six hours in my old hometown. As I made my way back home, I pondered about the day. It was so much fun. I miss these get-togethers.

My immediate family visits are safe visits. I know that the people will be scent-free and huggable.

Struggles to moments of relief

On the way home, I struggled with the pain that I fought off all day. Sitting isn't something I am able to do, so it's very painful. I had to focus on my driving to distract myself. Thankfully, I was getting closer to home.

The three fur babies greeted me from the deck. My husband came out to help me with my to-go bag and other things that I brought home. He was so helpful, then pointed to the bathroom for me to go take a shower.

There was only a small amount of swelling in my right eye. Showering is always the best, and to do it right away.

I started coughing, too. Time to do my Budesonide and DuoNeb nebulizer treatments, as well as my night medications. I hope that they kick in quickly. Soon after, I fell asleep watching television. Sleep was short-lived.

That night, I developed chills, nausea, headache, earache, and swollen eyes. The muscle and joint pains were horrendous.

Monday morning came. I wasn’t as bad as I could have been, although I felt horrible. I was weak, heavy, tight chest, coughing, sneezing, blurry, tired, and in massive pain.

Tuesday morning, I could see downward, where there was a little crack in my lower eye; the rest was swollen shut.

The best thing to do was to turn on the TV to a channel I know and watch, through peeping eyes, reruns. This was a day where sleep took over frequently, that and thirst.

I get so dry-mouthed. Allergies trigger the munchies, too. Water is my best friend on allergy days. My lungs and body sure tell me when it’s time for nebs and meds.

Three to five days is my typical downtime. After day three, I am more functional, though.

Wednesday was physical therapy. She looked at me and said, “You don’t look good. Shall I go easy on you?” Just because I can hardly walk and tear up periodically? No. Because then I’m backpedaling.

She looked concerned. We talked about oxygen. I told her that I was okay and we were almost finished. My husband was out in the car to drive me, especially since the right eye was still partially swollen.

Balancing priorities

Through these times, I get upset with myself. My health overrides anything else that I planned on doing.

This time, there was an annual meeting that I was looking forward to. One that I hadn’t been able to attend before. Why do I keep thinking that “this time will be different”? So, I push those thoughts out of my mind.

Seeing my family is my #1. It’s been six months since I had seen them and those precious babies. This was a time when the birthday families could get together. I had to take living back for one day.

Even my husband told me before the party that I needed to see my family. I’m so grateful that the meetings were recorded so that I can watch them.

I told my daughter next time, they should come visit me. I can’t wait.

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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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