When you’re told that you have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), this may cause a variety of reactions:
- Ignore or deny the news.
- Feel down or depressed.
- Be angry.
- Face the news head on and learn to advocate for yourself.
- Feel it’s your fault for having started smoking (if you ever had smoked).
So, I’m the first to say to you: It is not your fault. Smoking is very addictive.
People who continue to smoke are not weak. It is not a character flaw. Although stopping smoking without restarting is difficult, it is possible.
Now, I’d like you to imagine a possible scenario after being diagnosed with COPD:
- Time passes after your diagnosis.
- You’re hesitant to do what your healthcare provider requests in order to improve your health and manage your COPD.
- Perhaps you don’t even understand very well what to do.
- Your health declines.
- You find yourself gasping for breath, exhausted, and coughing.
- You’re completely uncomfortable.
- Your situation sends you to your local hospital’s ER.
Things look grim, right?
Let’s continue with this scenario:
- You’re then hospitalized and absolutely dread what may come next.
- You believe your life is changed forever for the worse
- You feel that it’s all your fault!
You’re thinking, “If only I hadn’t started smoking when I was a teenager,” right?
I encountered just this person in 2013. Let me tell you about Ms. B:
She was a strong, independent woman who had served our country for 19 years in the Navy and the Reserves. She’d been diagnosed with COPD, but in her own words she “was very casual” about her diagnosis.
You see, smoking had been her solace and her friend. But now smoking was her enemy.
Ms. B’s COPD had landed her in the hospital twice that year. Once, she could barely muster enough energy and breath to even call 911 to take her to the hospital.
Though she was prescribed a couple of inhalers, she did not know how or when to take them properly. She felt intimidated and was afraid to ask for guidance.
Ms. B just wanted it (her COPD) to go away and she felt ashamed that she couldn’t quit smoking.
She and her healthcare professionals were not working as a team or even acting that way. Frustrated, they seemed to be speaking different languages without an interpreter.
Please read next week’s blog to discover if I can help Ms. B…