Why Can't I?

Last updated: May 2018

So what if I have COPD. Why can’t I do more?

COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This disease causes an obstruction of airflow, which makes it more difficult to breathe.

I am stage 4 COPD. Why can’t I have surgery?

There is a higher risk with the use of anesthesia, during the procedure and after. You are at a higher risk of developing pneumonia, blood clots, collapsed lung (pneumothorax), and respiratory failure. With some surgeries you might be intubated and it’s more difficult to wean the COPD off of it. The concern is during surgery and post-op. Your potential surgeon and anesthesiologist are looking at your best interest when they make the determination of whether you are a candidate or not.

I’m short of breath frequently. Why can’t I just be put on oxygen?

The standard for oxygen is 88% and below for 5 minutes, during the day or at night. It doesn’t matter what your stage is. Some people only need night oxygen, because as the person goes to sleep they relax, which can cause their oxygen levels to drop. Some will need it 24/7 and will fall under that same criteria day or night. Sometimes you might feel that you need oxygen, because you are short of breath (dyspnea), but your oxygen readings are normal. Oxygen won’t take away your dyspnea.

I feel like I can clean my whole house, but not getting anything done. Why can’t I finish 1 small room?

I like to think that minds remember all my abilities and all that I could do. Now though, with COPD it’s easy to feel more shortness of breath, weak and so tired. It’s important to pace yourself. Set realistic goals for yourself, not like you used to be able to do, but what you can do. Then you will find satisfaction and accomplishment. One small room a day might be the most realistic, maybe even just dusting one room. Whatever you can do. Even just baby steps. Then be proud of you. Who knows, maybe over time you can do a little bit more. Be sure to stay hydrated as well.

I am losing so much weight and am not hungry. Why can’t I maintain my weight?

With COPD, especially in the later stages, breathing can be hard work. A body burns more calories just breathing. Is it like that for you? Be sure to eat more, smaller, yet high calorie foods and meals. Six is what is recommended. Ensure or other high protein drink is recommended as well. Be sure to discuss with your doctor on your next visit and keep track of your weight and make a list of any other questions you have for your doctor on the next visit.

I get so short of breath when I take a shower. Why can’t I wear my nasal cannula and oxygen?

You can wear your oxygen and nasal cannula in the shower. If you are to wear it all of the time, you should wear it. Just don’t tip your head so that you can water, soap or shampoo in your nose, I don’t think the bubbles would be very good. Sometimes showers can wear a person out, they can be hard work. As well as wearing your cannula, have a shower chair in the shower with you, then you can sit down and rest when you need to.

I have COPD. Why can’t I feel better?

Sadly COPD is a progressive disease. This means that you often gradually, begin to worsen and you don’t feel very good. As hard as this may be to hear, you can help to slow the progression of your disease, hopefully this will help you to feel better. It’s so important that you quit smoking if you smoke. Be sure to see your doctor regularly and take medication as prescribed. Eat nutritious foods. Exercise regularly which is so very important for your overall health. Have a support system, which can be face to face or on a support site such as here on copd.net. You may still struggle, but you will likely see some areas physically or mentally that make your okay. May you have a breathe-easy day/night.

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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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