Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult.
When I was 13, I had an occurrence of severe coughing and trouble breathing. My mother was hoping it wasn’t pneumonia, and she rushed me off to the hospital to determine what I was suffering from.
How I was diagnosed
In addition to not breathing well, I was coughing uncontrollably, wheezing, and bringing up a considerable amount of mucus. Using a stethoscope, the doctor listened to my lungs to determine my breathing capacity and degree of wheezing. I also had a chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram. The diagnosis was acute bronchitis. I remained in the hospital for a month.
Over the years I’ve been prescribed
- Pro-air and Flovent HAF inhalers
- Prednisone and antibiotics
- And I was taken to the hospital for breathing treatments
My biggest struggles with COPD
You never know how precious breath is until you experience not being able to breathe. It’s a horrible, frightening feeling. If you’ve ever seen the COPD commercial where the elephant sits on the person’s chest, well that’s exactly how it feels; like your chest is being crushed and your lungs devoid of “air”.
Cold air is my kryptonite – my worst enemy. Drafts, exposure to the slightest bit of cold air, exacerbates my COPD symptoms. It causes extreme chills, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Cold air can literally immobilize me.
My system’s always been highly sensitive to irritants of any kind. Over the years it has become super sensitive; to the extent that I sometimes feel like I need to live in a bubble. Which is why I’m home bound most of the time; especially during winter months and periods of extreme humidity.
Tips – and what I’ve learned from having COPD
After having episodes of not being able to breathe I’ve learned to appreciate breathing. I’ve learned what exasperates the symptoms of COPD and how to avoid exposure to certain irritants. Because most irritants are airborne I sometimes wear a mask; and, as much as possible, avoid being in certain areas, around people that smoke, and people that have colds or flues. I’ve learned not to overeat, which can exasperate COPD, and that drinking warm beverages like tea, help to soothe the symptoms. Basically, I’ve learned the do’s and don’ts of COPD on a daily bases, and to take the medications, because they work.
Links concerning COPD