Cheating vs. Trying

Or, enduring while continuing to find a way to live vs. merely exist.


I found the attached image on the web under “free” images, with a note that it “may” be under copyright.  Alrighty then…  Since we can’t be sure, I’ll use it as a placeholder until the rightful owner objects.

Now, back to the topic at hand…

In my case, I just got in from doing the “forbidden” lawn mowing.  The weeds and scrub were about 4-6 inches long, very green and pretty, but clearly nearing the point where they had to be trimmed, or I run the risk of the weed abatement committee or the landlord fining me.

I say lawn mowing is forbidden, or ill advised, because it wipes out my energy.  EVERYTHING with COPD wipes out energy, so I’ve become like some sort of energy-gobbling crazy children’s video game, doing something and then sitting for 15 minutes to an hour until my energy reserves refill.

A typical morning includes an hour to three spent trying to clear my lungs of mucus, so that I can breathe better and have more energy to take a shower AND shave vs. just a slap dash washing of hair / rinsing of skin.  Nothing much happens, though, until I can get my breath and not sound like Darth Vader while simply sitting still.

Taking a shower?  Add 10 minutes rest.

Taking a shower and shaving my legs?  Add resting while in the shower, wasting water, plus another 30-60 minutes sitting around, “drying off”, while practicing biofeedback and deep breathing exercises.

The biggest challenge I have with the COPD diagnosis, is that it’s an invisible disability, so I can appear lazy or unmotivated, and be assumed to be “cheating” the system of benefits when I’m doing something physical like mowing the lawn.  It’s a guilt trip challenge, merely trying to live and trying to keep to a somewhat normal routine, with regular chores, despite anything but “normal” circumstances.  Sitting around “recharging” falls clearly into that “big, fat, faker” category for cheating on being “truly ill”.

No answers here, however, my 30 minutes of rest are up so now I’m headng to the YMCA to see if I can get in some necessary arm stretches on their weight lifting equipment before swimming or using the jacuzzi prior to coming home.

I could really use a nap right about now, but my goal today is to keep on trying to move despite the depleted energy reserves.  Hopefully, I’ll make it for more than 20 minutes in the pool for swimming today.


2 thoughts on “Cheating vs. Trying

  1. Just don’t pass out driving. That’s the worst case scenario (to me) about COPD and the one that used to keep me up nights worrying about hubby when he was still working as a driver, and the disease was taking his breath away literally. I wish I could introduce you to my brother. He is of the opinion that people who don’t run around and chase their tails and BE PRODUCTIVE FOR GAWD’S SAKE are lazy and unmotivated and deserve what they get, which is worsening health because they are too lazy to try to help themselves. He can’t relax at all any more, it’s impossible. So I don’t know which is worse… but I had another conversation with him about the subject of what is lazy versus ill health and he again pissed me off because he just can’t get it. Being lucky to have GOOD HEALTH, the jerk. It might do him good to talk to someone with your gift of communication because then he might at least see the other side of the coin, where ill health and/or disease or genetics causes “lazy” behavior. I’m glad you are still doing all you can, including the forbidden grass maintenance….is it also forbidden because it’s likely to trigger some other breathing issues, if pollen or dust or whatever gets in your sinuses/bronchi? Just nosy and curious on that point. Have a great day !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re going to laugh, but I won’t get a handicapped license plate for just that reason. I don’t have a physical disability causing pain (like a bad knee), so I no longer “have” to drive when I’m tired as I’m on disability, and I take that designation seriously. Especially since three (3) car accidents in a short period of time left me wondering if my failing health was a contributing factor, and tipped the doctor over into the “approve disability” decision for me.

    I don’t “have” to be anywhere on any given day at this point in the disability review / approval process, so if my body is tired, nothing gets done. I plan ahead for all doctor’s appointments, classes and exercise sessions, and no longer am driven by the rat race “must accomplish x” on any given day. Everyone has been much safer and I only had one more minor accident once on disability (because I was pushing myself and bulling through the tiredness).

    As for the “forbidden” activities – that’s more a general limitation from the doctor, reducing all “active” daily requirements to no more than 2.5 hours a day (for holding down a job), combined with the employer’s insurance company determining that they know more than the doctor because I still do my own chores.

    All of my chores are on a weekly / monthly / quarterly schedule, and I don’t do more than 1-2 things in a day (which means it takes forever to get the whole house done as I’m nothing like the energizer bunny anymore).

    If I use my 2.5 hours fighting with the insurance company, or going to exercise class, or driving a friend around, that’s it for the day. Since the lawn was getting tall and I wanted to get to exercise my arm as well as get in the necessary swimming, I was pushing the boundaries to do both in the same day. Hopefully, that makes more sense.

    As for your brother… Words fail me.

    I had a similar situation where my brother thought we should get our mother a treadmill as that, and quitting smoking, would “cure” her COPD laziness. He had never been ill / exhausted, so it was a pointless conversation as he had no perception of lack of stamina as exhaustion because of shortness of breath vs. laziness. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that, as he truly won’t understand until his own body betrays him – and I’d never wish that betrayal on my worst enemy.


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