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exhausted man leaning on prescription bottle

Sick of Being Sick

Those four words I’m hearing more and more. It doesn’t matter whether the COPDer is Stage 1 or Stage 4,  so many struggle with tiredness and exhaustion, confusion, depression, pain, body parts not functioning as they should, side effects from medication, struggle to gain weight, struggle to lose, and coping with other health issues as well. This is real, it’s not a figment of our imagination.

Learning how to cope is so important – and that doesn’t mean climbing back into bed and pulling the covers over your head. I’ve thought of that before. Then it came to mind that I need to pick my battles. Sick of being sick is a reality, but I’m not ready to give up. Through suggestions or articles that you may read or hear, take what you can use and leave the rest.It’s important to make your body as healthy as it can be with what you have to work with.

Some of these things may help to slow the progression of your disease.

  • Exercise is so very important. even if you aren’t able to do many, you can find some on you tube or other sites. Some you can do from your chair. Walking makes a difference too. Be safe when doing these. Is there physical rehab where you are? Ask your doctor, about this. He/she should also approve of any exercise program that you do.
  • A well balanced good diet is also so important. It helps ward off infections. It takes more energy for COPDers to even breathe. For these people, they have difficulty maintaining their weight. Being underweight makes you feel weak and tired, and makes you more susceptible to infection. People with COPD use more energy breathing than the average person. It might require 10 times the calories needed by a person without COPD. It’s so important that you consume enough calories so that you can produce energy to prevent wasting or weakening of the diaphragm and other pulmonary muscles. Eat 6 smaller meals that are healthier and higher calorie. Being overweight makes your heart and lungs work harder, they make it more difficult to breathe. It’s so important that you eat healthy and watch your calories. Exercise makes a difference too.
  • Medications are provided for a reason. They should be taken as directed. Your COPD medications are likely given a medication that will help open your airways so that you can breathe. Some might be a vitamin, or something to help reduce your edema. If you are having side effects or are thinking of a medication you want to try, talk to your doctor. He/she is the only one who can diagnose your needs and treat you.
  • Supplemental oxygen is a treatment and must be prescribed by a doctor. There is testing that helps determine that you are needing and qualified for oxygen. Some people are on oxygen nights, some 24/7. Some may be on oxygen at stage 3 and others might not need at stage 4. Each person is different and unique. One method is arterial, where blood is drawn from the artery at your wrist. This measures O2 (oxygen) as well as CO2 (carbon dioxide). The other is determined with a pulse-oximeter as a sleep study or in the office. With 88% or below, you will likely qualify for oxygen.
  • See your doctor whenever you have a question or concern, this is so important. This way your doctor knows what is going on with you. He/she can determine too, what might be making you sick and how to help you cope with it. Take notes so that you remember what you need to discuss at your appointment.
  • A support system is also important. This can be face to face with a counselor or support group. It can be with an online support group as well. I have my own therapy too. What would we do without Facebook that brings us all together. However, it’s healthy to do other things.
  • Hobbies and crafts are wonderful, reading as well. I like Soduko and puzzles, they are supposed to keep the brain sharp. I don’t know if they are working yet. Lol The grandkids and I enjoy chatting and messaging. I do family calendars and things that help to build memories. Our times together are the best. Our one year old grandson we saw in November. He knew us from face-timing regularly. Family can great. Sometimes relationships need extra work and sometimes a person needs to step back, but that’s how life is. The struggles can make us sick too, but we have our support systems and our own creativity too.

Always know that there is someone there for you and that you aren’t alone.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 years ago

    Gene_A, I’m so sorry that you are having to cope with all of this and that it is affecting you so drastically. I’m grateful that you shared with us and are bringing an awareness as well. Your wife sounds like a treasure.

    We are here, in support for you and your wife. I wish that we could do more, sometimes though knowing you have someone here, hopefully will help you know that you aren’t alone. I hope that someone there will work with you.

    Janet (site moderator)

  • Gene_A.
    2 years ago

    Due to working at an Iron Foundry and doing Tile work as well I ended up with COPD, granted I smoked off and on over the years. Roll forward to Sept 2013 all I needed was Advair and an Emergency inhaler till then. About mid-Sept 2013 had a man move into house behind Us who burns the plastic off house wiring to sell the copper, he also burns left over scraps from a home based handyman business. In Sept I was in the hospital 2x 1 due to his burning and had to be on a cpap in the ER, once discharged after several days, I relapsed and had to go back. So far altogether his burning both illegal and opening burning has sent me to the hospital 6x. The last being May 2016 I landed in ICU over night as I could not breath on my own at all, and almost died on the way to the ER. His actions since 2013 have pushed me from early stage 2 to end stage. Even though during this time I had contacted both Our Mayors, then Gov. Pence, IDEM, called the Fire Dept. Requested/sent info to all the central Indiana Media outlets, contacted all Government officials for Indiana a few blew the proverbial smoke. But the man who has done the most damage to my health has never been fined or anything, the worst is they put out the fire. Then when you read all these stories going viral about trivial things compared to a human life its upsetting, Like Fox59 contacted them several times not even a response but just so happened I was in the Hospital seen their van pull into the parking lot and thought sweet maybe this is it, nope they were there to do this story . I’ve gotten to the only time I really go out is when I have an appointment to see the DR etc. I’ve been told I’m down to less then 30% of my left that is useful, the right is more or less dead weight. I seen this in my email and thought at the very least it’d be one more place to at least leave a record in history at least for awhile I was here and I tired what I could to change things locally so other families didn’t have to go thru what mine has. As there are no words to describe the look on your wife’s face when your on a stretcher and hear her ask will he be ok and the EMT replies “I don’t know Ma’am to be honest”, she was crying, shaking almost fell but my son grabbed her, I was starting going in and out and blacked out but that was my last sight till I came around in the ER with a Bi-Pap on was her white as a sheet crying and felling backward and my son catching her. If this is posted in the wrong spot please forgive, not doing to bad today but since the last stay in the hospital in ICU at times its hard to think straight, I have issues talking now when stressed, I have fallen enough that coupled with degenerative disc disease the pain doesn’t help to concentrate at all but its almost impossible to even get just enough of anything to dull the pain so I can go walking a little bit to help keep my built up and from losing muscle tissue, atm I’m down to just 108lbs and i’m 5’10” was a bit taller but slowly shrinking. And now even more stressed due to the purposed cuts to SSI and Medicare/caid, my co-pay was gone up. Shoot was rereading so I didn’t sound like a total fool and noticed I forgot to mention I’m now on a total of 7 med’s daily + the Emergency inhaler and Oxygen 24/7 due to mostly 1 man burning crap. Both my family Dr and Lung Dr want me to be on Boost but even with a script I can’t afford it, as we’re still juggling to pay for my med’s. What hurts the most is the fact I’ve lost a fair amount of time of life with my Loving wife of 30+ years. Even though I did everything I could I even have emails from both Mayors back to 2013 that “Something will be done, I assure you”, anyways a short quick glimpse of my life. If incorrectly posted or not proper feel free to delete and inform and I assure you it’ll never happen again.

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    2 years ago


    Thank you so much for sharing your story with the community! My goodness, you have been through so much. I am so sorry nothing has been done about your neighbor’s burning that has contributed to your worsening COPD symptoms. You have done such a remarkable job advocating for yourself while feeling so miserable. It is heartbreaking that no one has helped to resolve the situation.

    I can hear your sadness over the stress your health causes your wife and the loss of time to be active together. I hope you are able to find ways to connect and enjoy the life you have together through this journey of COPD. I am glad you found the community here and hope it is a place you can find support and information. We are always here to listen! Thank you again for sharing so honestly about your journey.

    Best, Allyson (site moderator)

  • wally2
    2 years ago

    helo gene a sorry to hear about your problems,smoke and fumes of different types are a real menace to us with lung probs, here in the uk authorities are realy good at following up complaints to do with bonfires and suchlike. I’m sorry I cant offer any help or advice but on this site I know everyone is listening to you and are with you in spirit,
    very best regards, wally

  • Gene_A.
    2 years ago

    Thanks it’s rough at times here knowing I’ve had years taken away, but what is truly sad is if the guy would have beaten me and I almost died he’d be in jail

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