Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~
There are simply too many aspects to dealing with wimpy lungs to put in one blog post. Consequently, here are a few more ideas to make your life a bit better.
KEEP THE HOUSE CLEAN
Do the cleaning when you are feeling the most energetic. It will be better for you, you will enjoy it more, and you will do a better job. If you are tired, stop and rest. Try not to bend over when you are cleaning. It makes it just that much harder to breathe. Work smarter, not harder. Dust today, vacuum tomorrow. Ain’t no deadlines!
BECOME A LIST-MAKER
Listing things that must be done is a lot like always telling the truth. Having done so, you don’t have to remember anything! Seriously, a list of tasks, a calendar on your computer or the one from the insurance company with appointments and birthdays and such will avoid the annoyance and embarrassment of forgetting important things.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
If friends or family come to visit, tell them that you might have to cut the evening short and get some rest. No need to apologize. It just might help get you out of some really boring conversations.
If you are having a bad day, don’t hesitate to let others know. Don’t whine about it, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Please do not be ashamed to wear your oxygen cannula in front of others if you just use oxygen part of the time. It is not a sign of weakness or frailty. Just think of it as a good way of getting out of doing things that you really don’t want to do anyway.
“Gee, I really wish I could help you shovel that walk, but you know …”
“I’d love to help you push the car up the hill to the gas station, but I can steer …”
You get the idea.
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!
If you can mow your lawn and tend your garden with no problem, great! If it wears you out or you are simply not getting it done, get someone to help you. If you can’t guilt somebody into helping, hire it done. If you enjoy gardening, tackle a small part at a time. Take a stool for sitting, use your oxygen, and do what you can without wearing yourself out.
BE THE FRIEND YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE
Think about your particular circle of acquaintances. With which ones do you prefer to spend time? Chronic pain, limited mobility, or disfiguring ailments can certainly be cause for negative feelings toward one’s lot in life. Totally understandable.
However, we have all run across people who, despite their physical limitations, somehow manage to maintain an attitude that is accepting, upbeat, even cheerful! So, must we be born that way? Not at all.
People, and attitudes, do change. It is often a difficult process, bordering on inconceivable for some. While we are on the subject, what kind of a friend are you? You spend more time with you than anyone else. Do you have the kind of attitude that makes you pleasant to be around? If you are not comfortable with yourself, it is unlikely that others will willingly seek out your company.
EMBRACE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Some people, like my lovely wife, truly seem to have been born with a sunny disposition. She displays a positive attitude toward her world, even though that world has seemed determined to throw her a succession of curve balls that would destroy the outlook of most people. Health issues, both mine and her own, have conspired against her, to no avail. She maintains an attitude that is the envy of many who know her. Again, must we be born with this rare quality, or can we somehow attain it?
But how? What steps can we, as mere mortals, take in order to remain positive?
Organize your life! If you feel that you are in control, it takes a lot of pressure off. Exercise! Studies have shown that exercise will actually reduce depression. Hang around with people that you like, people who have the patience to wait for you, to help you without making a big deal out of it.
There is, in today’s world, an entire pharmacopoeia of drugs available to help your mood, your attitude. If nothing else works for you, there is no shame in consulting with your physician to see what is available. I urge you to work on other methods of altering your point of view before turning to the world of medication, but be aware that it is available if necessary.
Don’t even think about self-medicating with alcohol or any form of illegal substances! Therein lie more troubles than you really want. The temporary attitude change brought on by their use is simply not worth the potential downsides, for they are extreme.
~ Uncle Jim
Jim Nelson is a double lung transplant recipient and a patient advocate for COPD patients throughout the U.S. and around the world. He and his wife, Mary, are well known patient advocates and brand ambassadors for those organizations who tirelessly endeavor to help those individuals who suffer from a variety of respiratory diseases and the caregivers who support them.
When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.