So You Have COPD…
I am not going to welcome you to club COPD. After all, none of us want to be here. But as we are here, simple rules have to be learned if we want to live as long a life, and as healthy a life, as possible.
If at the mild stage, congratulations for being diagnosed so soon. You really can almost halt the progression now you know. If you are at the moderate stage, you may be finding shortness of breath more a way of life, and be having to find ways to deal with it. If at the severe stage, you will find it hard walking up stairs and inclines, and in some cases need oxygen for mobility.
At the very severe stage, you will get breathless doing most tasks, and almost certainly be on oxygen if only for mobility. Many will use oxygen 24/7. I am at the very severe stage and use oxygen for mobility, getting dressed or undressed, and for showering. But don’t let this frighten you. I and very many others at my stage lead a full life – even though we have had to make adaptions.
So how do we continue to live a long life?
Rule one. No smoking. If you smoke I can almost hear you saying ‘it’s easy for you to say that’. Yes I know it is hard to quit. I have been there. I used to smoke more than a pack a day. My lungs protested, and I was on a very fast downhill slope. I had regular, bad chest infections. A constant cough. I could at one time walk no further than about ten paces before stopping. Heck, I even passed-out through coughing by my bedside more than once. That is scary – right. But this need not be you. How did I quit? I realized very quickly if I didn’t I would be dead. I imagined my family at my funeral. My wife and family crying. It was so moving it even had me crying. But then I realized, I held that card in my hand. That if I died early through smoking, I had put my family through this and I could have stopped it. Crazy. I was not scared of dying, but very upset at the thought of putting my family though my needless death. And I quit. Right then I quit. That was many years ago now.
I found it easier than I ever imagined to stop smoking. If I got a craving, I thought of my family. I stopped coughing within a few days. And best of all had many less chest infections, and could do more. You know I am right when I say quitting smoking is a must, don’t you. So if you smoke, do it now. Quit. For you and your family’s sake. Because once you quit your progression through the COPD ranks will also slow – dramatically.
I will write about one of my favorite subjects, ‘death by couch’, another time. However, do not sit on your couch, television remote in your hand, and not exercise. More than before, now you are in club COPD, you have to exercise. I am not talking jogging. I am not even saying you have to walk around the block every day at a fast pace. I mean ‘move that body’. Anything you do is exercise. Today I put a bird table and bath together. (Why do these things come in pieces with bad instructions? Crazy.) It took me nearly an hour to put that bird table and bath together. But even that is exercise. If you don’t move, your illness will progress faster.
Every fall be sure to get a flu shot. Flu for COPD’ers is very dangerous. If you have moderate to very severe COPD, you will likely be in hospital if you catch the flu, and could die. Don’t let that happen because of a simple annual injection. Get a pneumonia shot too. That will cover for many, not all types of pneumonia and is a once-only shot. You are more at risk of getting pneumonia with COPD. I have had it twice. And it is not nice.
Lastly if you do get a chest infection, get to the doctor quick. You may be prescribed steroid drugs and antibiotics. But these really can get you on your feet again quick and avoid complications.
I hope you have found this article informative. Whatever you are doing, till I write again smile, because then the world smiles with you. But most of all, Breathe Easy.