My COPD Life in the UK
Temporary newfound freedom
For many years my hubby and I lived in a gorgeous 1 bedroom flat. Living in that area for so long we made some really close friends. Sadly it was an upstairs flat. Luckily, through the NHS, we got a grant to have a chair lift fitted. For a while I had newfound freedom, then when the fridge freezer broke and we had a new one they couldn't get it up the stairs as the stairlift was in the way. Phoning to find out how much to have just the chair taken off was a couple of hundred pounds and then the same again to put it back on. It was money we didn't have.
All the conditions and more
Logically we knew every time we needed new furniture it was going to cost way too much. I felt bad for a long while as I thought it was my fault. The decision was made to move to a ground floor property for my health purposes. We had some conditions: the house had to be on the ground floor, central to town, close to bus stops, have a walk-in shower, and allow me to keep my GP surgeon and consultants. Luckily we only had to wait approximately 4-5 months. All the above were met and more - a lovely ground floor bungalow with a large front and back garden for the dog Taz.
Independence in travel
Because we moved due to my ill health, I managed to get a mobility scooter in which now I'm able to access town on my own. For a few good years, I had to rely on my husband (who is my full-time caregiver) to take me to town on the bus and then push me around everywhere. Now I have so much more independence. I go in on my mobility scooter - I can meet friends for a coffee (which was difficult before) and look around the shops on my own or go alongside with the hubby. Something I never ever dreamt I would be doing.
Mental health benefits too
It has also helped my anxiety and agoraphobia as I'm not stressing about how am I going to get upstairs or if there will be enough room on the bus for my wheelchair. Everything we need is in actual walking distance for a healthy person. Plus, where we're living, there are not as many hills so using the mobility scooter is not a problem in terms of battery life. I can go out to the local parks as now we don't need to rely on buses and hubby pushing me.
Life is good, life is precious
Yes, we had to sacrifice a beautiful home for another and lose close contact with some friends but the quality of life and good health are paramount. All this move had to be done in a week which was hard on both of us. Moving is one of the most stressful things to do, even when your fit and well.
Because we knew we would move at some point, we started sorting through stuff months before so when the move went ahead it was a lot easier. Now we have our new forever home on a flat area of town local to all amenities. Life is good, life is precious. Live it the best you can.
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?