Rehab Time Is an Exciting Time
I began this journey late last year by asking my doctor to put in a request for respiratory rehabilitation. I consider myself incredibly lucky to live in a city that has multiple centers that offer these services. I have my pick of where I wanted to go, what I want to do, and how long I want to attend.
My first kick at the cat
I had my first experience at rehab back in 2016 when I was accepted for an in-hospital rehab. I stayed in the hospital during the week and went home on weekends. My days were all about exercise and education on everything COPD. Every moment was a learning experience as I was newly diagnosed and knew nothing about the illness or its progression. Our class of 12 got on nicely.
We shared meals together in the dining room, played board games, and some spent time knitting and crocheting together. Within the group, we took care of each other and learned lots about COPD. We also learned to journal there, to keep track of symptoms and triggers that caused us to feel better or worse.
I left there with a sense that all was not lost. I felt empowered and knowledgeable about my illness and how I could help myself to feel better. I had lost a lot of excess weight, I learned how to exercise, and I had the determination to do it regularly.
Getting ready for my second kick at the cat
In early March I got the call that I was accepted into the new program and would be starting soon. First, we had to do the dreaded 6-minute walk test! I was only leery at the time because I hadn’t been exercising as I should have been. I made it through the walk but had to stop 3 times to catch my breath.
Then my husband and I were on to the first meeting - a meet and greet introduction. They explained all about the program, how it would be delivered, and what our responsibility would be if we wanted to be enrolled. The afternoon took a good 3 hours. That was the day before everything was shut down.
I was so disappointed
COVID was being taken very seriously. Everything, including stores, was closed and we were ordered to shelter in place, reduce our activities, wear masks, stay 6 feet apart, and wash our hands regularly.
Although rehab was canceled, they stayed in touch with weekly calls about any issues we had and had weekly activities. Then the question was asked if I would be interested in virtual rehab and I jumped at the opportunity.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Six months had passed so I had to do the six-minute walk again, in person. They explained in advance what it would look like and how it would be accomplished.
This time she reminded me to use pursed lips and to have a mindful walk and I did just that. I beat my last walk score, kept my 02 up, and didn’t need to rest throughout.
Do you have a COPD exacerbation tool kit?