What Would Others Say if They Had Your Lungs?

I recently had an intriguing conversation with one of my COPD patients and a friend who has asthma. During our discussion, I posed a thought-provoking question to both of them:

"If you could swap bodies for an hour with someone with healthy lungs, what do you think their reaction would be? Would they say, 'Oh, no! This is terrible. How do you manage like this?'"

Surprisingly, both my COPD patient and my friend with asthma had a similar response to my inquiry: "That's an interesting question! I imagine they wouldn't enjoy breathing with my lungs."

Coping with persistent shortness of breath

This is the body I've inhabited all my life and these lungs are my constant companions. Each morning, I awaken to the familiar sensation of breathlessness, a daily reminder of my condition.

Throughout the day, it resurfaces, sometimes subtly, so ingrained in my existence that I scarcely acknowledge it. Yet, it's a reality I've come to accept.

If someone else inhabited this body, would they understand how to manage the breathlessness? It's become routine and manageable for me with a few puffs from my inhaler or a session with my trusty nebulizer.

Sometimes, I have to manage it by pacing myself or perhaps sitting in my recliner for the duration of a day, buying time for my lungs to heal and my breathing to improve. So, I know how to manage my lungs. But would they know what to do?

Experiencing such a body swap would foster an immediate sense of empathy, bypassing the need for elaborate explanations. They would gain firsthand insight into the challenges we navigate daily.

Discovering appreciation in comfortable breathing

Today finds me on my back porch for only the third time this spring. The weather is a delightful 70 degrees, with a gentle breeze rustling through the trees. It's a serene moment, prompting me to ponder whether those in California or Florida, where warm weather is a constant, truly savor such days as we do after enduring winter for half the year.

Similarly, I contemplate whether individuals with healthy lungs grasp the profound value of effortless breathing. As asthmatics and COPD patients, we've learned to treasure the moments when each breath comes easily, never taking this fundamental act for granted.

If someone were to inhabit my lungs for just an hour (though I wouldn't wish it upon anyone), they would undoubtedly gain a newfound appreciation for the gift of unencumbered breathing. Indeed, such an experience would cultivate empathy, bridging the gap between understanding and experiencing firsthand the realities we face.

Imagining life with easy breathing

And on the other side of the exchange, a new body awaits, with lungs that breathe effortlessly. Oh, the luxury of an effortless breath! It prompts the question: Is this truly what it's like?" How nice it would be to breathe through normal lungs, even for an hour.

Is there one thing you loved doing but can't do with your crummy lungs? My asthmatic friend said she'd like to go for a walk without carrying an inhaler and without needing it. My COPD patient said she'd like to just sit, relax, and enjoy the easy breathing, even for an hour.

What would someone with healthy lungs say if they swapped bodies with you? How would you spend your one hour with normal lungs? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let's keep the conversation going.

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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 COPD.net 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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