According to the Oxford dictionary, “Motivation is the reason why somebody does something or behaves in a particular way.”1 That one word - motivation - speaks volumes. How does a person with a chronic illness become motivated to do something - anything?
George, who has COPD, has trouble getting motivated. He normally gets short of breath with activity. Sitting at the table, he’s determined to enjoy his last cup of coffee for the time being. He has a doctor's appointment soon and is concerned the doctor will lecture him again. He’s thinking that he probably gained another pound or two. He knows that’s bad for his overall health, but gee, what else does he have to look forward to?
A doughnut and candy bar with his coffee really hits the spot. After pondering this for a couple of days, he realizes that doughnuts and the candy bar were temporary fixes. He called his doctor and talked to the nurse. After talking to the doctor, the nurse called him back. George was happy and feeling motivated to do something positive! He will see a nutritionist next week, as well as joining the gym.
Chores and allergic reactions
Jordan wonders how to get motivated. She knows that dusting furniture will trigger an allergic reaction. She knows it will likely trigger her COPD by causing her to become short of breath and need her inhaler. If she could only afford someone to come into the house to help her.
Ah well, she takes two puffs of her rescue inhaler, then puts on her mask, goggles, and gloves. Looking in the mirror, she laughs. That image brings some joy to her day as she dusts the treasures that her family has given her.
How fun to remember when her kids were young. They went to a second-hand store and they bought her a deer picture.
She lingers while enjoying her new picture and hanging it up, then hurries to finish getting ready for dusting and cleaning. Jordan showers then does her nasal rinse. Time to snuggle with the kids, relax, and watch a favorite show. She’s done now for the night.
Susan knows she needs to exercise, it’s so important for her overall health. She heard that exercise can possibly help to slow the progression of her disease. Yet, she lacks motivation. She has been coughing more and feels so fatigued. She blames the weather. It’s been raining so much.
She is determined to do at least 15 minutes on the exercise bike and 15 on the treadmill. Even though it’s hard, she knows her motivation will encourage her in the long run. She will alternate her days with light weights and other exercises on the off days.
Appetite and oxygen
Ron isn’t hungry, he’s never hungry anymore. He sadly shakes his head. Looking at himself in the mirror, he feels like a shell of a man. He’s so tired. Even eating makes him feel tired, nauseous. He tries to eat 5 or 6 small meals. Even that makes it so hard. It takes so much energy to breathe.
It’s getting better though. He had been resisting oxygen for some time. Now, after a couple of weeks, he can honestly say the oxygen helps. Why did he keep putting it off? He feels hope again. He even feels motivated to go to pulmonary rehab.
Are you motivated? Do you see how important it is to be motivated in your COPD life? Do you need the motivation to accomplish things? In what ways do you motivate yourself? How do others help to motivate you? Share more in the comments below!
Do you have a COPD exacerbation tool kit?