Limitations vs. Helplessness – COPD in real time


No idea where the graphic came from, but I pulled it off the web under a freeware search as it made me laugh.

As I’m going through the gyrations of trying to keep abreast of what needs to be done with my limited energy vs. what I’m capable of doing, it’s very confusing.  COPD is a heartless s.o.b., and I have more good days than bad.  However, the medicines are a whole other issue.

Many people have said to me, “You’re not on oxygen; it must not be that bad.”  While that’s true, this disease is also a lot like having “a little” pregnancy, or Sundowners vs. full-blown dementia or Alzheimers.

Some days are better than others, and a lot depends on what medicines I’m taking (or refusing to take) to impact my quality of life.  For whatever reason this week, my arms have been killing me, particularly around the inner elbow and upper arm.

While I went to the YMCA on Monday night for my swim class (anything to keep the mobility up), I couldn’t do any of the swimming exercises which require me to be floating on my back as that causes a panic reaction / coughing fit.  And, I don’t like the feel of water getting into my ears, which happens despite the ear plugs.  (They just don’t make ’em like they used to!).  This limitation didn’t mean that I didn’t participate and keep moving for an hour, it just meant that every time the instructor advised us to lay on our backs to tighten up our cores, I lay on my stomache and did a variation of the movement.  One (1) hour of constant movement is my goal, with each day’s swim class.

Used-Hilda-Fat-Swimmer  (“Hilda” art; freeware from the web)

But, I tell you all that to tell you this – limitations aren’t the same as helplessness, and I am not completely incapacitated.  Yet.

With any luck, I won’t reach that incapacitation level until 3-5 years from now, and I’ll bypass it completely if I end up getting a cold which goes to pneumonia and does me in vs. me sitting here and waiting for the grim reaper to come pack my bags and move me along.

I am pretty much viewing the next part of life as an exercise in patience, for trying to view myself as “retired” vs. “useless” or “incapable”.  While I am currently obsessed with contemplating my naval as I fill out mountains of forms and jump through hoops much sooner than society allows, I’m also looking at keeping my first few weeks off work filled so that I don’t become overwhelmed with time on my hands.

Starting the process now, in the Fall, when I’m usually beginning to struggle to breathe well as congestion kicks up, should aid me in slowing down.  However, it will be up to me to kick my own butt to keep on moving and to judiciously choose on which days to go out, and which days to stay and home and keep busy with things like blogging and my jewelry work.  The goal is to ensure that  I’m not allowing myself to sink into a depression, and so that I don’t make myself worse because I’m not moving my butt.  I have limitations, but I am far from helpless.

Using my limited resources to do specific things each day (like wash the floors, do laundry, etc.), should help my limited energy extend so that this house looks less like a slob / hoarder lives here, and more like it’s lived in by someone who gives a damn.

And, finding a new place to move to closer to Silicon Valley (where it’s drier, and where my friends are), should also help kick my butt for moving me into a new place to maintain vs. continuing to live among boxes in this affordable (but rundown) dump.

Despite the reaction of some of my co-workers:


I truly am not dying, yet, and this is not a sad occasion.  It just is what it is, and I’ll be ok.

If the bureaucratic paperwork doesn’t kill me first, LOL.

2 thoughts on “Limitations vs. Helplessness – COPD in real time

  1. Of course you’ll survive. The strong simply do. And reach out for help when you need it should be part of the equation – it’s not weak to ask for help when YOU initiate the asking. Well not to ME who has to ask far more often than I’m comfortable with. The keeping moving and achieving mentality means you’ve already got the ‘post-preretirement-blues’ beat. They can’t get you down if you’re too busy to let them! Good for you! I’m rooting for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. Nothing particularly challenging going on, but it still feels like it’s been a rough week. Probably because I’m counting the days until I’m excused. Until I don’t have to pretend to give a damn about the insanity surrounding me.

    Still trying to make it ok for everyone who wants to know what’s wrong, and “why” I won’t be back even if I’m not dying yet.

    Oh, and I love, love, love hearing about other’s family members who were mis-diagnosed and were gone in a heartbeat. Thanks so much for sharing that sad story. Really.

    I’ve lived it, buried a Mom and Aunt with it, and am dealing with another Aunt who has it but still keeps on ticking away. Let’s just focus on the positive fact that I’m getting to leave under my own steam, vs. being rolled out on a gurney, ok?

    I really don’t think asking peopke to look at the positive is too much to ask.

    4 working days and counting…


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