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COPD Mishaps: Part 2

If you have read part 1, you have read what can happen to your bowels or bladder when fighting for a breath of air. What I didn't share in that story was how hard it was to get cleaned up and showered all by myself.

Gratitude for support

I was fighting for air so much that I debated calling my daughter over from work. She works at our local elementary school, and she was the closest person at the time who I could think of that I would let help me.

I didn't want to pull her away, although I knew she could have come if I needed her. If my husband would have been home, I know he would have helped me. He has never had to help me with that but has helped me before with a shower after I had surgery and other times that I have needed him.

You truly know what love is when your husband can wipe your bottom or give you a shower. I am so blessed to have the support of him and my family.

Reflection on independence

I couldn't help but wonder how those of you who live alone deal with these kinds of challenges as I struggled to undress and wash myself in the shower, gasping for air the whole time.

My heart goes out to you all. I don't know how you all do it on your own. I suppose it's because you have no choice. My thoughts and prayers go out to you all. I will never take the help I receive from my family for granted anymore.

I'm happy to say that my day did get better. After resting for the afternoon and taking it easy, I was able to make supper and do dishes that night without any problems.

Understanding COPD incontinence

So, why do we sometimes lose control of our bowels and bladder?

The reason that this can happen is that when we have that lack of oxygen or shortness of breath, along with coughing, which can increase abdominal pressure.

Of course, there are other reasons that we may be incontinent, and some of those reasons could be from medication, diet, age, pregnancy, infection, medical conditions, weak muscles, stress incontinence, or a combination of them all.

This can be very stressful and hard for us to go through, but all we can do is learn to be more mindful that this can happen and to just try to remind ourselves to slow down, take breaks, and remember to practice some different breathing techniques that can be helpful in those types of situations.

Managing stress and practical solutions

I think that I got myself so worked up that I couldn't even think straight to do any breathing techniques. I think it might also be helpful if I notice this happening anymore, or maybe down the road in the future, it may be helpful to wear disposable briefs for an outing that may be more strenuous.

I think that it might bother some people to use them, but I think it would help in that type of situation. It would be a lot easier to tear off a disposable brief and throw it away than to take off pants and underpants without making even more of a mess.

I know this conversation isn't fun or easy, but I know we must talk about the hard things to help others and to show that we are not alone in this.

Have you had this happen? Please share some of your tips below in the comments.

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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 COPD.net 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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