Hospital Stays….. and COPD

20 Aug

I view each stay in the hospital as an erosion of my overall health.  The capacity and ability of my lungs seem to diminish with each exacerbation.  You go into the hospital (even if you are suffering from pneumonia) at one level of wellness, and during the curing or fixing of the illness, you generally leave the hospital without the actual illness, but with a significantly diminished capacity.  One would think and want to believe that the curing process, at least cures you, and would at a minimum keep you at your current level.  And this might well be the case with many a disease or illness, but with COPD and other terminal diseases this isn’t the case.

Without question, I believe that I can define each moment of my decline by my hospital stays.  Over the past 3 years I have been in the hospital 5 times with pneumonia.  The 1st couple visits took 5 days of relatively intense care, followed by at least 10 days of outpatient care before I was back to me.  But I wasn’t really back, I had lost a step.  I had lost ground to the COPD.  I really only noticed subtle changes the 1st few days out of the hospital.  But after a week I was back to me, the reality of these changes was that my body and my mind had made the adjustment to the new normal, which was not as good or as strong as the normal prior to the hospitalization.  The next couple of trips to the hospital for pneumonia took at least 6 days of inpatient care.  The drug treatments much more aggressive, the post hospitalization was expanded 10 to 20 days of outpatient therapy.  But within a week or so of the completion of the post hospitalization treatment, I was again back to normal.  But the normal was lower than it was prior to the hospitalization.  You can see the trend, hell after the 3rd trip to the hospital I could see trend, and I believe my wife saw it even before me.  My current last trip to the hospital for pneumonia lasted 8 full days, and I could have stayed a couple more in my opinion. And I qualify it as last current because I know at some point I will be back in the hospital again for pneumonia.  And with any future trip to the hospital I know my health will diminish even further.

Some readers may think 5 trips to the hospital for the same illness is a lot, and granted it is.  But some of the folks that I communicate with on a regular basis on the Daily Strength discussion group have been in the hospital for pneumonia and other related pulmonary issues as much as 1 a month for the past year.  Imagine the courage of these folks as they make their way down the COPD staircase.

With COPD you are never as good as you were yesterday.  This is not a defeatist attitude.  This is not about giving up. It is about a pure hard fact.  COPD is a downward staircase, there is no upside to it, and COPD is soon expected (by 2020) to be the 3rd ranking killer of people IN THE WORLD after heart disease and cancer.  And so few people know about it.


Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Observations, Ramblings


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5 responses to “Hospital Stays….. and COPD

  1. Wanda

    August 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    The down staircase–what a sad prognosis. I pray regularly that you will have an easy breathing day, that the shortness of breath episodes will be few and far between, and that God will perform a miracle to heal your lungs of this disease.

  2. jmgoyder

    August 21, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I feel so bad for you.

    • FlaHam

      August 21, 2012 at 7:56 am

      Soft smile, thank you for your kind response. If thru reading my blog you become more aware of COPD and it’s impact, that is enough. Please take care.

  3. Pat Fraser

    August 21, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hi Bill
    I read your cruise info on Daily Strength and cannot remember my password to contact you there. Saw this on your profile and wanted to let you know about Sea Puffer cruises. My husband and I have been on one and I have no doubt you and your wife would love it. Their main office is in Ormond Beach and your contact would be Celeste Belyea. She is a RN and Respiitory Therapist.
    I have no vested interest in this and it is not a sales pitch. I just wanted you to know when you go on one of the cruises you will be amazed at the efficiency and warm and wonderful shipmates. They have informal group discussions, with the latest news for with COPD and as you can see I can’t compliment them enough. I might suggest checking on line for The Pulmonary Paper as Celeste writes and edits .
    I am sure Celeste will remember my husband and I from our cruise so feel free to use our name if you so choose.
    I am e joying reading your blog, now that I found it.
    Like you I am on O2/24/7. You know the deal some good days, some bad days, and some seemingly impossible but we do manage don’t we?
    Wishing you well and hope you didn’t see this as an o trusion.

    With kind regards and healthful wishes,
    Pat and Dave Fraser
    Tolland. Ct.

    • FlaHam

      August 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm


      Thank you for your kind words, I didn’t find your note to be an intrusion in the least. I am open to communications, and hope to continue. I will also follow-up with Sea Puffer for our next cruise. We already have a Disney cruised scheduled for next year (we are taking our daughter and her family).

      I write my BLOG in hopes of reaching out to others with COPD, and to try and make still others aware of COPD and what indivduals with this disease go thru. For the most part I try to keep it light with some humor, but sometimes the topic requires a different tact. I had started my blog before I became a member of the Daily Strenght discussion group. I was advised/told by a group member to use the journal provided by the DG to air my comments. So I use the DS Group journal to post my ongoing how I feel today series of blogs. As you explore my blog you will see I focus a lot on COPD and how it impacts me and my life, but from time to time I branch out into other subjects. Because I enjoy writing.

      I do hope you continue to follow my blog. And if there is anything I can do to help you please let me know. Again thank you for the information. Regards, Bill


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