Another Baby Step Forward

I have mentioned several times that I have a great deal of anxiety about going out without my husband. If I get very short of breath or there is an issue with my oxygen, he knows what to do. I have gone out to eat with a few friends, but only for a couple of hours. It isn’t with the same comfort level I have with my husband.

Camping invite

Then came a phone call from my younger brother. He has a seasonal campsite about forty-five minutes from me and lives there for six months of the year. I have visited him a few times over the years for a cookout, but I am always concerned about smoke from other campers' fires. My niece is expecting her first child in July and the plans were to have the baby shower at the campground.

The weeks before

I had to go

This is not an invitation I can say no to. It is a family obligation. Other family members were coming from out of town and staying in cabins for the weekend, including my older brother. I was invited to stay overnight. My first reaction in my head was a very loud NO! Really wanting to be there, I gave it some thought first. I love spending time with both my brothers. One lives out of state so it doesn’t happen often. I was excited at the prospect and said yes!

Anxiety and packing

I had a lot of anxious moments leading up to the weekend because my husband was not staying. He had to be home at night for our dog. This was the first time away from him since my respiratory failure seven years ago. For two weeks leading up to the weekend, I repeated over and over, “you can do this.” Packing was like going out with a toddler. Oxygen and more medications than clothing filled my bags. I was ready!

The weekend’s arrival

Like we were kids

When my husband first drove away, I will admit I wanted to yell at him to come back. With my home oxygen concentrator and thirty-five feet of tubing, I could wander the entire campsite and camper. I spent that afternoon into the evening with just my brothers. We laughed and reminisced about growing up. We had dinner and watched television together, just like when we were kids.

I knew what to do

The next day was the baby shower. All other family members arrived, the grills got started, food was cooked and eaten, presents opened. I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun! There were moments of getting short of breath, but I knew what to do. I stopped, didn’t panic, and waited until I caught my breath. I put to use the knowledge I have gained of this disease.

Ready for more

That weekend was a big step and an accomplishment for me. Determined to experience more of these, I have started pushing myself a little more with exercising and more meditation. These are activities I can do to help make it happen. I am making plans to slowly become less dependent on my husband. With every baby step taken, I am ready for more.

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Editor's Note: We are heartbroken to share that Carol passed away in February of 2022. Carol's storytelling and advocacy will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on through her articles and in all the people she inspired.

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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.

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