What is it like having COPD……. it sucks! Aging is a difficult enough process on its’ own (I am throwing aging in here because COPD is something you grow into, you don’t find a lot of 20-35 year olds defined with it). But when you add to that the process of trying to survive, trying to get along, avoiding self-pity parties, breathing, or maintaining a semblance of a normal life COPD, makes it extremely difficult. COPD is a hidden from view disease until it’s later stages, and you can observe many a person with COPD and not even realize they have the disease. COPD starts to give itself away when you see a person with an oxygen bottle and cannula.
I was talking to an counselor with BCBS regarding COPD. She chaired a focus group of couples with one of the couple being a COPD sufferer, to give the spouse a feel for what the COPD person was going thru, she had the spouse insert coffee stirrers into their noses and had the breath like that for 15 minutes. Then the participants discussed having to live like that 24/7. That little demonstration has opened many an eye. On really bad days I equate my ability to breath as slowly drowning. Your trapped in that room on a sinking ship, or in the car, you get the picture… anyway the room is flooding and all you can get your face into is that tiny space to capture the air at the top of the ceiling. Your nose and your puckered lips, half of what you suck in is water, and you gasp, the other half is that wonderful air you seek. 9 out 10 of my days are not like this at all, but that 10th day can be a real bitch.