These miscellaneous items were contributed by individuals who have COPD or are caregivers for COPD patients.  We think you will benefit for the knowledge that is imparted here.  While some of the information on this page will be medical information,  it should not be taken as medical advice, which should come from your own physician.

DepressionJo-Von is very involved in support group activities in the Cape Cod area.  She also was involved in the writing for a publication concerning COPD in concert with several doctors and pulmonary technicians.
Making The Doctor Appointment Work  We hear a lot about the hassle of a doctor's appointment.  Cecile gives a few hints that not only seems to reduce the hassle, it even sounds like fun. In addition, a sample medicine list is shown. 
Mowing Your Lawn  The job of riding the mower was fine except for the cloud of dust then...
Hydrogen Peroxide  The available, inexpensive product can be used for a number of cleaning chores.
Showering Suggestions Alisa gives us some tips about how to shower without SOB with a added comment by Constance
Sidewalk Weed Killers  Some weed killers that probably won't bother your ability to smell.
Cooling The Night  Sometimes there is a need to cool off or have a fresh drink of water in the middle of the night
Labeling Your Meds Make it easy to identify those medications
Lifting Heavy Loads  Venetta tells us how to lift that heavy load with ease
Think Ahead Nancy tells how she prepares for those indoor days.
Making The Home Ready Nancy of Florida tells us her secret for having what appears to be a spotless home when unexpected guests arrive.

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Copyright ©1997- 2000

Thinking Ahead

When I made up my mind that I either had to cope with this disease or suffer with it I made a decision to be as good to myself as I could.  I hate having cabin fever, but something I have done for the past year is "squirrel" away either a book or a tape or some music that I really can look forward to. Then when I am forced to have an "indoor" day for weather or just the way I feel, I can have something to look forward to.  In the beginning I punished myself for being sick and forced myself to get over that - I think many of us don't do enough enjoyable things for ourselves.
Nancy Majava
January 1999

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 Thoughts About Depression

Adjusting to a diagnosis of COPD certainly does involve  fighting bouts of depression!  I, too, consider it "mourning" for the loss of lung function, for the compromises that must be made in my life, for the  things I can no longer do for myself.  And even after we conquer the depression initially, we usually find that periodic bouts of it return.

 As we are able to learn more and more about our illness, and as we evolve into acceptance and active management of our lives in spite of COPD, we are  able to continue... with grace, with courage, and with each other.  It is a state of mind that requires a lot of work on our part.  Introspection that will eventually bring us peace, and a stronger-yet-gentler attitude for  going forward as we face the biggest battle of our lives... the one against  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
May 1998
Jo-von Tucker

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Making The  Appointment Work

I always bring my own reading material and sometimes writing material to my  doctors' appointments.  Sometimes I get so involved in doing MY thing that I'm irritated at being interrupted when the doctor finally comes in to do his/her thing!

My questions are all written down and I check them off as I get answers so I rarely find myself in the situation where I don't get my questions answered.  Instead of leaving the doctor's office and then asking myself why I did not ask questions, my doctor always asks, "Okay, what's on your list today?"

In addition, I always carry a print out of all the meds I'm presently on so my doctors can update their list and I won't have to recall my meds from memory.  This also saves time with the doctor because he/she does not have to rummage through the file and mentally compile the list.  One of my doctors commented that even though I thought I was on almost every medication that existed , I was still lacking two most women my age and physical condition (or lack thereof) were on...a medication for hypertension and one for diabetes!

I can't take credit for the medication list I carry around with me. Someone on our computer support group (COPD-List) gave me the idea.  I even post a copy on my refrigerator and on the inside of my medicine cabinet.  I date each one such as "effective 8/5/98".  I talked to a local paramedic who said this would really help.  Since I live alone, I'm not sure how much help this would be. I'd have to be alert enough to call 911.

I also give an updated list from time to time to my "partner" at work.  She can't get over how long the list is!  I find I have to update this list frequently because it seems whenever I go to a doctor he or she is modifying my meds, somewhat!  Thank God for computers and printers and the 'edit' function.  Oh, I list all the meds I'm on....breathing ones and
others, including over the counter stuff such as vitamins, etc.  You never know!
Papapoo sez...
I also find it useful to use the written word when visiting the doctor and also maintain a written list of medications.  It is a good idea to keep the list on the computer, and save the old list in case you need to recreate when you went on and off a certain medication.  The list does not have to be elaborate, just list the essentials and as Cecile suggests, an effective date.  Something like this works for papapoo. There is a form which is suitable for printing in the Medical Information Feature.

 Bill Powell  (Social Security Number)     Effective Date: ___________
 Insurance: ________________________Group Number:___________ Policy Number:____________

August 1998

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Mowing Your Lawn

I can't push a regular gas powered lawnmower on hot humid days. I bought a riding mower but found it a near disaster. On windless days, you ride right over the blade in a cloud of dust. For several days afterward, I was in terrible shape with acute SOB until I figured out what had happened.  Now I use a mask EVERY time I have to cut the grass.  Works great.
Papapoo Comment:  Ron Peterson also thinks the use of masks will help in these kinds of situations.  He invented a device called "Ron Peterson Straw Mask" which you can make yourself with his instructions.  Take a look at

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Hydrogen Peroxide

By Permission of author Elaine Rester
December 1998

Remember when we all discussed how smells bother all of you. Put some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and clean away with no smells and kills lots of germs ;-)))

And a story...the mother of my best friend from the Army days used to gargle every day with hydrogen peroxide. When she died, she had never never had a cavity or dental problem of any kind. I will always remember when hearing that when I was young...and wondering how strange that was. I guess when you get gather some wisdom and look at things differently.  Now, my thought was WOW...that could put the mouthwash companies out of business. ;-))))))and save us a lot of money ;-))))

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Showering Suggestions

Submitted by Alisa Pink
July 1998
If any of you get panicky while taking a shower, here are a few  suggestions:

These methods have helped me over the years during my attacks of panic and claustrophobia while showering.  Use of supplemental O2 works out well with all above tips.

Submitted by Constance Ryder
December 1999

I had my tub shower equipped with grab rails, a long-based shower head with shut-off feature, and use a long-handled sponge given to me by the hospital.  i keep my hand-held phone nearby within reaching distance.  I have a great terrycloth robe to put on so i dont have to use my breath for drying myself as i am a 5 by 5 (short and fat) and is quite an effort to reach some places.

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SidewalkWeed Killers

Submitted by Elaine Rester
July 1998
Every summer when we have a dry spell which is almost all of this summer, I buy very cheap salt..and pour it into the cracks of the driveway..etc.  No weeds for the entire summer.  Doesn't hurt a thing....

Submitted by Alisa Pink
July 1998
I heard the tip about vinegar killing weeds from Mrs. Green Thumbs, who is a frequent guest of Regis & Kathie Lee, although I normally do not watch that show.  She emphasized that the vinegar will also kill flowers/plants, so make sure the nozzle is aimed directly at the weeds.  I've used white vinegar (for years) as a cleaning spray/soak for many household chores, since the smell of chemicals bothers me so much.

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Cooling the Night

Submitted by Carol Collins
July  1998
One little thing I do at night is fill an ice bag with ice because I'm always too warm and this helps cool me.  I also have the AC on.   MY family tells me I'm freezing them out when they come to visit.........

July 1998
A plastic bottle 8-16 ounces filled with water and then frozen makes a good bed companion.  You can use it to cool hot flashes and drink the melted ice in the middle of night to quench that thirst.

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Labeling Your Medications

Alisa Pink
August 1998
Using adhesive-backed labels,  I cut out small rectangles on which I've written the name of the medication, and stick them to the lids of the prescription containers. (If the med has a long name, I use an abbreviated form of writing it.) If you really want to get fancy and have a lot of prescriptions, you can even color code the label for the time of day that you take the medications using round sticky labels.  For example yellow is morning, white is noon, and red is more than twice a day, etc.  You can get round sticky labels in the school supply stuff area.  Or to save money, you can just use white address labels.  In my case, I take sooooo many meds, that this helps in locating each container quickly.  I also keep my prescription (ORAL, and INHALED) meds inside of a semi-transparent storage "box" which makes traveling with them easier, and keeps them organized.  My injectable, nebulized, and over the counter (OTC) drugs I store elsewhere.

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Lifting Heavy Loads

Veneta Clarida
October 1998
Those with COPD soon find out that using the diaphragm and specialized breathing helps in a lot of ways.  The rule is try to exhale when exerting.  A good example which works for me is when trying to lift a heavy object.  Breathe out when bending down (bend at the knees not bent over), then rest while down and breathe normally. When ready to lift, take a good deep breath and then exhale while exerting to lift the object.  Sounds a little complicated at first but it becomes second nature as you get used to it - and it works!   I usually travel with my little Poodle. I take him with me when I go on  short trips to the post office and places like that. His name is Peirre. He is 2 years old and behaves like one. He rides shotgun in a little clothes basket in the back seat of my little car. He jumps in first and then I lift my oxygen in. I throw the the cannula over into the front seat-open the door on the drivers side. Grab the cannula and off we go.   I couldn't do all this before I found out that you aren't supposed to take a big breath and lift. It's a lot easier to do the lifting by breathing in and then as you lift to exhale through pursed lips.

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Making The Home Ready

Submitted by Nancy of Florida
May 1999

In my other life, if I had unexpected company and no time to really clean, I just put a lot of fresh flowers around and everyone thought I had cleaned for hours.  Still works - they think I am just fine and Suzy Spotless at the sight of a couple of vases.  I suppose the theory being nobody (but me) puts flowers in anything but a spotless house.  Of course this will only work if you are not sensitive to the smell of flowers.

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