Woman in a dark room about to walk through a brightly lit doorway

Respiratory Rehabilitation

A mere 3 days after a month long stay in the hospital, the specialist’s office called. They had a request from the hospital for an immediate opening. They would accommodate me by the end of the week. I told her I could not possibly get to that appointment; I could barely get to the bathroom. She warned me that the next appointment wouldn’t be for another 6 weeks.

When I told my daughter, she instructed me to secure that appointment immediately and to let her take care of the arrangements.

In-patient respiratory rehabilitation for COPD

Upon seeing the doctor, the discussion seemed to go very fast and before I knew it, my daughter and I were on our way home. I had instructions to call them ASAP to confirm my spot at the in-patient Respiratory Rehabilitation.

Surely my daughter would agree that it was just too soon, but as I gently tip-toed on the subject, indicating that it wouldn’t be possible for me to attend, my daughter disagreed. I felt like a chick being pushed out of the nest. I just wasn’t ready.

I began as a reluctant participant the next Monday, staying all week and returning home for the weekend. This would continue for the next 6 weeks.

Upon arrival, I was given a beautiful room and a bed with a window view. I suddenly felt better about being there. The nurses came in first to introduce themselves, and then the Respiratory Therapist came in. The mission of the program was to teach me how to get to my new normal and to teach me that anything I wanted to do was within my reach using the proper techniques.

One of the first things she told me was that it was not my fault that I ended up in this situation. I began to feel like the luckiest person in the world because I had just been given a future.

I had no idea that I was one of the last patients to be enrolled in the inpatient program. Six weeks later that program was eliminated and I would have missed my chance at the opportunity of a lifetime.

The benefits of respiratory rehabilitation for COPD

While at Resp Rehab, mornings consisted of exercise and the proper way to pace my activities, using pursed lip breathing. I pushed past my limits while being monitored. For the first time in my life, I began to realize how good it felt to exercise, to stretch my muscles and gain control over my body.

The afternoons were filled with education about lung disease, mindfulness, and journaling our chronic illness symptoms. We had many specialists and past participants of Resp Rehab visit to share their education.

Evenings were spent in the dining room with others from the program, chatting and knitting, and just spending time together. We were a unit.

I would end up spending my 6 weeks inpatient and signed on for another 6 weeks as an outpatient. I loved every minute of it.

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 7th, 2024, Barbara Moore passed away. Barbara’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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