Accepting COPD

My dad had severe emphysema and lived to 91. At 82, he won Rookie of the Year in duplicate bridge.

I was an avid smoker until cigarettes went up to $5/pack and my husband and I were spending $15/day on cigarettes. At that point, I stopped smoking.

COPD denial

I was in complete denial about COPD. It started with acute bronchitis and progressed to emphysema. Dad would hear me cough and I would have some defensive responses I never discussed emphysema with him, which I have since then regretted.

Every time I have an exacerbation and my oxygen was lower than the mid-80’s, I would be using my oxygen 24/7 and worried that this was it, I would never get off oxygen and be active again. My wonderful husband always reassured me that I would get better and each time I always have!

Feeling better

For one thing, I lost 30 pounds. I also went to the Pulmonary Rehab gym which, besides getting in better shape at 75, I look and feel better and stronger.

I haven’t had an exacerbation in over 3 years and have been very conscious about doing what I can to NOT get covid, religiously following the CDC guidelines. Partly this is also due to Daliresp, a daily medication suggested to me by a doctor at John Muir during my last hospital stay about 4 years ago.

Staying busy

One activity I started is adult painting by numbers. I order them on Amazon - one I kept and framed, the others I gave to Good Will. They cost less than $30 and are very entertaining. And, for someone who is not talented as an artist, this is really fun. I’m looking for other good activities to keep my brain engaged and, for that, I do the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle in ink, the Wordle puzzle every day, avidly read books and I started playing bridge again with a few of my friends (I also play bridge on line daily to learn and sharpen my skills).

I have needed my oxygen less and I am feeling great. My husband and I, with our Yorkiepoo Bella, are embarking on a trip to Boulder, CO for a family reunion, driving! We’ll also stop at National Parks like Arches and Zion and visit friends along the way. We’ll see how I do with the altitude and I am prepared with extra cannulas and backup batteries for my 2 portable oxygen units. Wish me luck!! Bon voyage!

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