Dawn In The South

Darla and Don

                                                                                                    A story about Darla Dawn Arnold
Excuse the pun, but Darla Dawn Arnold, who prefers to be called Darla, is all of 42 years old having been born in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1957.  She was born into a family with a sister and two brothers.  She now lives in Pascagoula, Mississippi with her husband, Don, who is retired from the U. S. Navy. Darla's Mother and her son, Jeff, also live with them and make for an old-time extended family atmosphere.  Darla tells us that Don is the love of her life who has a good attitude about all the coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath that her illness brings.

Darla was diagnosed 9 years ago and does not have what is considered the typical COPD which is brought on by smoking.  Darla says that she smoked to show off and, at best, only did away with about one pack of cigarettes a month or so.  But Darla does have an obstructive asthma condition coupled with multiple environmental and medication allergies as well as food allergies.  Unlike many COPD suffers, Darla has a constant cough which has held on for the last 9 years.  While she has a great sense of humor, she asks you not to make her laugh since it will bring on a coughing spell.

Darla is a real night owl.  She doesn't sleep well at night and can usually be counted upon to be on the computer and on her favorite chat channels throughout the night.  She often catches other COPD members who are getting through the night with a pill or a blast from their nebulizer.  If you are in that night mode, send Darla an E-Mail and I am sure she will be glad to tell you where she spends her night hours and you can strike up a conversation.  She is self conscious about her spelling and will tell you that right off the bat, but her charm and sweet personality makes you forget that she writes with a southern drawl.  (You can write Darla by clicking on her email address at the bottom of this article).
Darla has several loves: her husband, Don; her family or kin; her crafts; her genealogy studies; and most important - her close relationship with God.  Having grown up as a tough youngster who could take care of herself, she tells us she had a wrong idea about marriage.  As a southern belle, she thought she would have to "honor and obey" but soon found out that wasn't Don's style.  She tells us that "He don't tell me what to do, he might ask, but he won't tell me." But, Don beware because she further revealed, "We ain't hit each other yet, but I'll knock him in the head with a pan in his sleep if he ever hit me."  Her love for her family is all tied in with her research of genealogy which takes a lot of her time.  She gathers information from everywhere and the first thing she might ask when chatting is, "Do you know any of my kin there?"
Another of Darla's loves is her crafts.  Craft making is not new to Darla, she started as a young girl because her Mother always told her that she should always find something to keep her hands busy.   She delights in making something out of nothing. Old bottles, lace, popsicle sticks, straw, pieces of material and bottle caps are just some of the "junk" that she turns into beautiful gifts for family and friends.  "I don't like to throw anything away," she says, and admits that one corner of the room looks like a rat's nest of useful materials. Christmas time is a great time for making those special presents and she doesn't like to disappoint anyone.

Recently, she worked on a couple of projects.  Using an old vase, she took bits of stones from old pieces of jewelry and after a bit of glue and patience, a beautiful gift for a special person.  Another project that she recently worked on was artificial flowers made of plastic spoons.  By trimming and cutting and using a bit of wire here and there and florist's green tape, she created some lovely "flowers" of vivid colors.  If it can be made, give Darla a piece of yarn and some time and she will come up with something useful.

Certainly not last, Darla has a special closeness with her creator.  She has a special place for the Lord and is quick to say that whatever happens in her life, it will be watched over in a special way.  " I love the lord and try to live my life to show others the right way, and I love to read my bible, and pray, i like the words a friend loveth at all times, I learn no matter what that friend done if they was a true friend to start with you should stand behind that friend and say I'm sorry you did these but you're still my friend and I still love you.  I am there for you and God bless you".

Her  illness gives her extreme shortness of breath at times, but she is so unassuming that she will often suffer rather than go to the doctor - a bad procedure that is not recommended.  If you should join the COPD-List Online Support Mailing List, it is likely that Darla will be one of the first to welcome you after you post your first message.  After all, "helping each other is what we do."  Won't you come and join Darla?  She's expecting you.
Darla (Dawn) Arnold
  as told to papapoo
June 1998

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