I have just returned home after spending a few days in ICU. There was a fluid buildup in my lungs. I was literally drowning in my own phlegm. You see, I started smoking when I was just a kid, 12 or 13 years old, I forget which.
I had thought about sharing my experience before but after this trip to the hospital it was evident that others were probably making the same mistakes I did. Sharing what I have learned with others can help to prevent time spent away from families.
At age 45 I was diagnosed with COPD and my life has not been the same. It is amazing that the diagnosis came at time when I had a lot going on with my health and this was like an anvil dropping on an already mangled toy.
As with all my other diagnosis, I set out to learn as much about this ailment as possible and now I will share with you what it is I do to keep myself on the move. First thing was to quit smoking. This was not easy by a long shot. I used the patch and joined a local smoking cessation support group.
Exercise is also important, the more you do the stronger the lungs will become. Even if you can only make it to the end of the block and back do this several times a week. Go further as you get stronger. If you are overweight this is a fine way to drop a few pounds and this too will help you breathe better.
Never ever forget to take your medications. This is why I ended up in the hospital this time. I got so busy with the cares of life, children, grandkids and ailing mother, that it totally slipped my mind. Slow down, moving slowly doing your day to day activities will help to prevent that annoying coughing, wheezing and sneezing that accompanies COPD.
Another thing that helps is to wear loose fitting clothes. This is especially true of shirts and blouses. Tighter clothes restricts the expansion of the lungs and makes them work harder for every breath. What happened to me is known as a “Flare up”, typically it is the term used when a person presents with exacerbated or if new symptoms present in a patient. A flare up can lead to death, there are treatments and things you can do if you suspect that you are having a flare up.
If you notice them in the early stages you will be able to self-medicate, but if you are experiencing unusual shortness of breath. A change in the color of the phlegm, intense yellow, brown or green. If you get a high fever, or persistent cold symptoms, or just feel unusually tired and achy get to the emergency department of your local hospital right away.
It is possible to live long and to live well with COPD, it is up to you.