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Man in the 70s rocking out with an oxygen tank

Sometimes It’s Easier to Stay Home

Many years ago, “in my youth” as they say, I attended uncountable rock and roll concerts, baseball and football games.

Tickets were relatively cheap ($5.00 to see Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1971 compared to $125.00 to see John Fogerty in 2019) and getting back and forth from Brooklyn to Manhattan (the Fillmore East) or to Queens (Shea Stadium) or even the Bronx (I was a die-hard Mets fan but would hold my nose and go to a Yankee game if there was a crowd of my friends going) was relatively easy.

So, I continued going to sports events and Broadway plays and rock concerts well into my 50’s. And then, the effects of COPD began to curtail a lot of it.

COPD got in the way of my plans

We moved to New Jersey from Brooklyn 20 years ago and became very dependent on cars as opposed to public transportation (subways, buses). It was just as well because I began to notice how much huffing and puffing, I was doing trying to climb those long flights of NYC subway stairs.

And forget it if a subway escalator was out (which was often). There have been recent articles about how the NYC subway system has more escalators than any other system in the world. But – apparently – it also has more escalators shut down and in need of repair on a daily basis than any other system in the world.

Just imagine having COPD and being in an elevator and traveling 4 to 5 flights down in a mall or a building and once you got to the 1st floor, you were told, “Sorry folks. You’re gonna have to take the long climb back up on the stairs.”

A few years ago, I could make it – huffing and puffing when I got to the top and folks asking if I was OK?
But those were the pre-COPD diagnosis days and I thought it all just came from smoking (which, in a sense – it did).

Crowds never bothered me when I was younger. I attended a musical event called “Watkins Glen.” It was held on the Watkins Glen Speedway in upstate New York.

It was kind of like Woodstock (1969) but there were actually more people in attendance at Watkins Glen – over 600,000 rock and roll fans made it to the concert and stayed for 3 days Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August, 1973 – even though the concert (3 bands) was held on 1 day (Saturday).

It was peaceful and fun. And the music was great. And in 1973, I had just begun to smoke – cigarettes and other things (lol).

But the point is, I didn’t notice “the crowd” – that there were too many people. The crowd didn’t bother me then – it didn’t get me worried I wouldn’t be able to breathe.

I wouldn’t be able to do that now.

Things have changed since diagnosis

I worry about being able to breathe at maximum capacity with my trusty “D” oxygen tank in my knapsack. And it would be difficult to camp as we did often back then. I’d have to bring a generator for my oxygen concentrator and then have to hire someone to help me transport all that! (just kidding).

But I still try to go to live performances as much as I can.

There’s a number of theaters here in New Jersey that are particularly accommodating to the disabled.
And what’s nice is, if you have a car and can drive, the handicapped parking spots are usually just a few feet away from the theater’s entrance. You don’t have to worry that you’ll be walking for a mile or two before you get there.

I miss Broadway, and my wife and I do go on occasion.

But, she’s a musical fan and I’m a drama guy. If she can get to a good show with “the girls” I’m happy for her.

And if a friend is going, I’ll be at as many concerts as I possibly can – as long as I can drive and park.

By the way – did someone just say, “Rolling Stones?”

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

Comments

  • BeverlyDeMarco
    3 weeks ago

    On Mothers Day last month my kids wanted to take me to the NEW YORK, TAMPA RAYS BASEBALL GAME IN TAMPA WHICH IS ABOUT 2 HOURS FROM MY HOME IN OCALA, I WANTED TO GO SOOOOOOO BAD BUT TOLD THEM I WAS BETTER OFF WATCHING IT AT HOME. TAKE TAKE ME EVERY YEAR BUT NOW THAT I AM ON OXYGEN ITS BEEN HARD TO TRAVEL. WALKING TO THE STADIUM IS THE HARDEST BECAUSE OF THE HEAT AND ALSO SO CROWDED. I FIND MYSELF A LOT TO STAY HOME, THE KNOW THE KIDS FEEL BAD BUT THEY DONT HAVE COPD.. I USE TO GO OUT WITH FRIENDS TO LUNCH OR DINNER OR A MOVIE AND I GIVE THEM SOME EXCUSE FOR ME NOT GOING WITH THEM. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD BE IN THIS SHAPE AND IF I HAD TO LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN IT WOULD BE WITHOUT SMOKING WHICH BACK IN THE 60S DIDNT HAVE WARNINGS ON THEIR PACKS.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hi Beverly, and thanks for joining in the conversation here responding to Kevin’s excellent article. We appreciate you sharing your current situation and understand the frustration you are going through, too. Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  • Davoe
    3 weeks ago

    Great read ,must be our age finally paying us back,I’m 66,in Australia told couple yrs ago I had olden phases stupid me I’m still trying to quit cigs,I saw Lou Reed bout 2006 was so good seen stones few times Keith gives me hope lol, I remember seeing Dylan early 2000she was great I actually felt exhausted just watching him how do they do it,we were so lucky to have such great music Doors Stones Lou ,ect glad we grew up then maybe cause I’m old but new music doesn’t do much for me ,I’m glad my 2 kids are over 30, still can’t tell them why I get so tired,I know cigs ect haven’t helped but every body did back then plus fumes IV worked in some dirty factories ,first car I had thank to my horrible stepfather was ex pest control mini van it stunk of poison cud never clean smell out of it lucky it blew up after 8mths,I’m not on Ox yet but won’t be long,start of winter now seems to make me cough more then after 3 MTHS it’s stinking hot again which really exhausts me, anyway all the best everyone take care ,it’s only rock an roll.cont me anytime.

  • Davoe
    3 weeks ago

    My fone is stuffed suppose to say I have COPD emphasemia ,sorry.

  • KevinDavitt author
    3 weeks ago

    Davoe – sane here. Emphysema.
    Saw a t-shirt the other day gonna ask the kids/wife to get me for Fathers Day. It states:

    “I may be old but I got to see all the great bands.” – I did!

  • hdkrazee
    3 weeks ago

    I’m 65 and have COPD. It’s bad enough that I can’t tolerate hot, humid weather, at all! I find myself looking for reasons to NOT go places because it’s just too hard to walk more than 15 feet without having to rest. Last Summer I took my 11 year old granddaughter to see Maroon 5 at Hershey Stadium. I had to park at the opposite end of the stadium from where the entrance was. By the time we got to our seats, I was so out of breath, perspiring profusely, and felt faint. I had to send the child to get cold water to cool me down, and I HATED to do that since the crowd was HUGE, and she was only 11. I wish my doc would prescribe oxygen for me. I think there are times when it would really help. BTW: Saw the Stoned in Richmond, VA in the 80s.

  • KevinDavitt author
    3 weeks ago

    Hdkrazee – why is he even hesitating?
    What state do you live in now? PA?

  • Birkytink
    3 weeks ago

    WARNING !
    Yeah , last year the Rolling Stones were coming to Dublin in May and I was lucky enough to afford and to purchase tickets. I was feeling a little off colour the day before the concert and my wife suggested we give it a miss – as if !
    I rapidly degenerated when we went to the venue, I had to walk a mile and a half to get to the gate. I was in a bit of trouble, I enjoyed the concert hugely, first since `92, then I had to walk a mile and a half back to the hotel.
    Two days later I was in hospital and the kids were called from Scotland to Ireland to my bedside as I was not expected to make it. Fortunately I rallied.
    The Rolling Stones should come with a health warning, oh, and you maybe should listen to your wife sometimes !!

  • KevinDavitt author
    3 weeks ago

    Birkytink – since the early 70’s (I’m 65) I have probably seen the Stones on 5 occasions here in the NYC area.
    The problem I have is that I was/am such a huge Mick Taylor fan, I still think of Ronnie Wood as the “new” guitarist!
    I’m pretty much in the same boat – it’s the getting to and coming from that throws me into such a loop.
    I, for one, am very glad to see you that you rallied.

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