Last week I started this post “Gosh so much has changed and so little is different.” I went on to say, “That statement has zero impact or significance to this entire post.” Well this week that statement is in fact the sum total of this post. There have been absolutely no significant or insignificant changes in my health in the past week. I will rate the week 3, a nice consistent 3. No ups or no downs. No left or rights. Just plugging along.
Stats: O2 = 80
Heart rate = 121
5 minutes later those numbers are:
O2 = 96
Heart rate = 104
Before I gave those 2 stats in I had just completed moving the wash from the washing machine to the dryer, and emptying the dishwasher, then walking the 40 feet to my office. Mind you I was using my using oxygen supplement at 2.5 lpm during this activity. This is my world. And please! please! please! no pity parties. I shared this to make a point, that being, even the slightest activity can and does have a very real and immediate impact on anyone with COPD or Emphysema, or any other respiratory distress.
Over the past year I have used many terms that are day-to-day words and phrases to me. I throw them out like everyone would know exactly what the hell I am saying and would need no further explanation. Well, surprise surprise, I have been called out more than once so for doing this.
Because I have been so fortunate recently health wise, I am going to start using this space in my weekly “How I Feel Today” post to define a word or phrase. I thought I using my soapbox (this Post) was very appropriate, because it is about how I deal with COPD. What I do to combat it, and how it impacts my daily life. I hopefully can help those who are fortunate enough not to have COPD or any other respiratory disease/distress to understand the ramifications of the disease. I also hope this helps those who have recently been diagnosed, as well as, help anyone else who might have a need.
So for the time being when I do this weekly report I am going to include a segment on a particular word or phrase I use or have used. I will also take suggestions from my readers for the word or phrase of the week.
This week’s word will be EXACERBATION:
In simple terms (as defined by About.com) an exacerbation is defined as a worsening of COPD Symptoms . The Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) defines it as “an event in the natural course of the disease characterized by a change in the patients baseline dyspnea, cough, and/or sputum, that is beyond normal day-to-day variations, is acute in onset and may warrant a change in medication in a patient with underlying COPD”. (taken from about.com).
An easier definition to understand is: In the simplest terms, having a COPD exacerbation means you are experiencing a sudden, worsening, or flare-up, of your normal baseline COPD symptoms.
The WebMD link below takes you to a comprehensive list of 10 signs of a COPD exacerbation.
That folks end the technical aspect of my presentation. LOL. Now I will talk about how I visualize an exacerbation and what it does to me, I will try and describe what signs I look for, how I respond, and what is the long haul result of an exacerbation. Folks I am talking about me, not you, it is important you realize this. Each one of us who suffers from COPD or any other respiratory disease or distress, will respond to an exacerbation in your own way, you will come to learn your signs, you will learn how you need to respond, and you will know the long term impact of an exacerbation to and on you.