Is it just me?

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I am a 64 year old male who was medically retired from work in 2010 due to the onset of COPD.

I was wondering if anyone else has the following thoughts/experiences like myself.

1. If I venture out walking I plan my route so there are plenty of shops along the way where I can pretend to window shop whilst getting my breath and resting.

I am more comfortable doing this rather than just standing in the street looking lost.

2. I often get panic attacks when I either get into bed or into my car.

3. Bumping into people whilst walking who want to talk in that until you have got your breath back you cannot converse and feel awkward especially if the do not realise you have breathing problems.

4. I dread being in a position where someone needs help or assistance in that I would be of no use where exertions are required. They would think I was a cold uncaring person which I am not.

I would love to hear from anyone who can relate to anything I have mentioned.

1 like, 10 replies


10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi clarice cliff. Like you I am also 64 but still working as a plumber but the young guys look after me well and do all the lifting and all the jobs where climbing is involved.What you said is exactly how I feel and l could not have described it any better.Hoping to last at work till I'm 65. Take it easy and all the best. James
    • Posted

      Hi James

      Thanks for your reply.

      Only those people with COPD can really understand what it is like day to day living with this.

      I am glad I live in a fairly flat area of the country (East Anglia) as you know our worst nightmare is a hill or slope.

      Hope you manage to hit 65 still at work.

      Best Wishes

      David (alias CC)

  • Posted

    Hi, I am 57yrs old and was diagnosed 5 yrs ago with copd.

    I try to arrange to go out after using my nebuliser so ths helps, I also plan my route, luckily my nearest shops have plenty of seats, if there is no where to sit I actually stop and pretend to use my phone so that I can catch my breath.

    To help with panic attacks, though it does take practice, inhale for two, hold for 1 then slow exhale for four, this was told to me by a physio, which helps if you can concentrate on this.

    I often have to use hand signals when speaking to people due to shortness of breath, yes it is really embarrassing but I find this is better then ignoring them,  at least you can explain, when you can speak, what the problem is, this also helps them understand for future reference.

    It is far better to stop and explain to anyone who may need help what your situation is, just by stopping you are offering help by chatting to them and not ignoring them.  This also helps you by not feeling guilty due to lack of strengh but also you acknowleded the person in need.

    I do volunteering work where I have been embarrassed on several occasions but I find been honest and able to laugh at your situation helps, even if I end up depressed and in tears when I get home, the overall feeling is that, today I helped someone.

    Hope this helps.


  • Posted

    Hi CC

    Though I've been diagnosed much longer and therefore under treatment, I think I've got more breath. Still I offer this: if someone needs help call your emergency service number. If you can only squeak out that help is needed & you can't breathe someone should come quickly.

    I applaud you for getting out and walking. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself, both healthier and emotionally - regardless of how many times you stop to catch your breath or where you make those stops.

    As to the exercise someone else suggested, let me state the obvious: try to do the inhale thru your nose with your mouth closed. Doing this requires concentration, which takes attention away from anxiety. It also makes it easier to get air into your lungs.

    Keep on truckin'

  • Posted

    Hi Clarice, Yes, the thoughts are identical but my actions are the opposite. I'm fortunate that, with moderate COPD, I can still work (largely due to a good employer), I have to attend meetings ... even with clients, deliver presentations and every weekend do a regular ½ mile walk across the wonderful Derbyshire moorland!

    Work (and PR) has helped me to control breathing so, during presentations I pause every few seconds, at meetings I regulate my breathing before saying something – the only time this doesn’t work is when I get aggressive about a topic (some things I get passionate about hence the aggression – it’s not really aggression but I can’t think of a better term for it right now). At those times I do get breathless so they are short-lived events.

    The moorland walks? Yup, a pair of walking poles, a super-slow ramble, occasional questions from passers-by “Are you okay” I just gasp “Fine, than…” running out of air. Do I care, of course but that air up there is clean and clear so if I’m going to gasp then it’s a great place to do it AND for years I rambled, cycled and ran these moors stopping only for the regular cigarette and they are a place I love.

    Sometimes we have to think more about ourselves and a little less about what others will think about us.

    I wish you all the very best and hope that somewhere among my ramblings there is something for you.

    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. As you say its best to worry less about what others think and just accept the situation you are in.

      Best Wishes CC

    • Posted

      Hi CC

      The day after I replied here I thought of you. Had taken my dog with me to visit a friend in a personal care home. Friend was asleep so dog & I went for a walk and discovered just how deceptive a gentle rise in the road can be. It was hot, about 80F, and as my chest tightened a bit.I thought of you. It was not some place I was comfortable stopping for fear of loose pit bulls and wacko, gun-toying reactionaries (in Texas one must never be fooled by genteel appearing streets, one must know the politics). Where I realized I couldn't reach the crest, I turned onto what I thought was a flat sidestreet. Turned out to just be flatter but still uphill! We made it back to the house okay. If my friend weren't so fond of big dogs I'd never consider doing this again. I'll just time my visit better next time, and not walk my dog as I'd forgotten until we were walking about all the pit bull attacks in that town.

      That's my excuse for never tackling that particular small, hill-like thing again, and I'm studio's to it.

    • Posted

      Hi A

      Up until last July my brother and his family had lived in Houston for about 12 years so I had visited on several occasions from the UK and have had pointed out the types of area which you mentioned (very scarey). From the small bits of Texas that I have seen I would think inclines are not too prevalent which makes mobility just a bit easier.



    • Posted

      Hi CC

      (Last line of my original reply should've said "stickin' to it")

      Houston is completely flat, as is most of the Texas coast unless sand dunes count. I grew up next to Padre Island back when we were allowed onto the dunes and everyone climbed them because the high vistas - relatively speaking - were exhilarating, lol. South Texas is flat but I'm in central Texas, called The Hill Country. Where I was at in Pflugerville definitely only counts as a hill-like thing to someone with COPD.

      So you're right generally Texas is largely pretty flat, but I had had to start planning my walks very carefully almost 20 yrs ago because of a bad knee & hip. And in Austin there are some very hilly sections iincluding my street.

      The gun and pit bull situations are out of control. I would love to leave but can't figure out where's better on my budget and with my health issues. The rest of the South is far worse than Austin in so many ways; rural is cheaper but I have too many health issues. Still, I've got a roof over my head and the sun is shining, so life is yet good.


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