|Individuals who have COPD must learn to conserve
energy because shortness of breath increases with increases in activity.
For that reason, there are times, on those bad days, when it is necessary
to conserve your energy. These tips are from COPD patients who have
gone through it. There are many more and we would like to add some
of your suggestions. Obviously everyone
will not need to adopt all of the suggestions presented and if strength
or breathing improves, some energy savers may be discarded. A good
general rule to follow is to inhale while resting or completing an activity
and exhale when exerting.
For example, if you must bend over to pick something up, exhale on the
exertion of bending over, and then inhale when you are coming back to the
standing rest position. However, if you are going to pick up
a heavy object, then exhale as you bend over, rest and breathe in, and
then exhale as you make the lift. It is also useful to pace yourself
by doing something difficult and then something easy, alternating as you
have the energy. The world won't come to the end if you don't get
all the dishes washed. More Below
Here is a solution!
My face in the mirror
Isn't wrinkled or drawn
My house is not dirty
the Cobwebs are gone.
My garden looks lovely
and so does my lawn
I think I might never
put my glasses back on!
Bathroom Activities and Dressing
Bed making and Sleeping
Pre-arrange everything for your
bathing activity. Get towels, wash cloth, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste,
razor, razor soap, denture container etc. all laid out where it may be
easily accessed. Think ahead how you plan to use these things.
Put a chair in front of the sink
to be used for face washing, shaving and other grooming.
Install a small mirror at chair
level to be used for activities at the sink.
If standing in the shower is a problem,
obtain a stable chair.
Use liquid soap to reduce need to
Liquid soap should be kept in a
small plastic bottle instead of large container.
Don't dry off, slip on a terry cloth
robe and let it dry your body.
Alisa Pink also tells us to change
clothes while on the toilet. This saves time and energy, and it "kills
3 birds with one stone." (You are in a seated position, and you are
already half undressed, and you are "voiding" as you dress/undress.)
It may sound kinky, but it helps reduce shortness of breath.
Have your clothes laid out ahead
of time in the order in which you are going to put them on.
Jackie Embrey advises the ladies
that instead of struggling with panty hose wear either the thigh high hose
or knee high hose depending on the length of the dress. You still
look nice, but no more SOB struggling to get the panty hose on right.
Try to get bed mounted on casters
so that it will be easy to move
You may need a hospital bed to keep
head elevated. If so, when making bed, bring it to the highest level
to make bed making easier.
Arrange bed so only head is against
Make bed with swinging motion -
no jerking. Start at head and work around bed so that you only have to
circle bed once.
Prepare ahead for all night.
Keep in mind that you may need slippers, flashlight, medications, tissues
for spitting or whatever, and something to drink.
For that midnight drink, freeze
a small plastic bottle of water and keep it near. It will last all
night and can be used to cool the forehead too.
Try to shop where they have shopping
carts. If you use oxygen, put it in the basket. If not, use
the basket for support. When out of breath, stop, use the basket
for a brace and try your pursed lip breathing.
Plan your grocery shopping so that
your shopping list matches the aisles in the grocery store in order to
reduce steps. The next time you go, make a drawing of what is in
each aisle (some stores already have these, you just have to ask the service
desk for them) then plan your shopping list to match the store aisles.
(Thanks Janie Gillettte).
Plan ahead and conduct your shopping
in an organized manner. Go from place to place so as to go the shortest
Shopping can also be used as an
exercise - "mall walking". Since most malls have some place to sit
down, walk the mall as a means of getting your walking in out of the weather
elements and still have a place to sit and rest, if necessary.
When grocery shopping ask the bagger
to separate the perishable items and bag them separately. Then when you
get home you can just put the perishables away immediately.
And then rest before carrying
in or putting away the non-perishable items. I have tried this on
really bad days and it's a great help. (Submitted by Jackie Embrey who
saw it on another site - November 1999).
Sit. Try to organize things
so you can center things around a chair at a table or a stool at a counter.
Think ahead, get everything together and sit to mix things, snap beans
or prepare pork 'n bean bread (see bottom of this page).
Make a list of things to be done
and accomplish something every time you have to get up from your sitting
Play a radio in the background,
preferably with a talk program so you can concentrate on the program and
your cooking duties and not on shortness of breath.
Cook extra portions so they may
be used in subsequent meals - (Leftover baked potatoes make excellent home
fries). Try freezing some of your favorites in individual meal plate
containers to reduce overall time in the kitchen.
Not an energy tip but a safety tip
for use in the kitchen. Hang a hook from the ceiling or put a magnetic
one on the refrigerator to hang your oxygen hose. Keeps it back from
the heat of the stove, keeps it handy if you need to use it and keeps from
getting underfoot. (Thanks Kesh).
Use long handled items such as dust
pans, brooms and mops to prevent bending.
Get a container for all your incidental
cleaning supplies like rags and cleaning solvent that you may use.
Careful - most COPD patients have a sensitivity to cleaning soaps and solvents.
Use only what you can use without causing problems.
Try "TV Cleaning". The object
is to watch television and when there is a commercial, go do some housework
for several minutes. When the program comes back on, back to resting
and watching TV. (It works and is a good excuse to watch your favorite
I have found that if I "dust" with
a damp "TRASAN" miracle cloth from Sweden (resembles chamois cloth) that
I have fewer problems with the old fashioned dust, and do not use any dusting
agents except clear water, and this cloth wrung almost dry. Keep rinsing
it out, ringing, and re-dusting. Picks up dirt and dust, and keeps
the air clean. My current cloth is from sweden. I see in the chefs
catalog, www.chefscatalog.com, that it, or similar, is available on pg.
71 called Mystic Maid cleaning cloth. Developed in Japan for "Clean Room"
applications, cleans streak and lint free. Washable and reusable.
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org
Carolyn suggests that when using
a vacuum cleaner, always walk with the cleaner. Don't stand
still and push the cleaner around. Really conserves
|What has worked for you? These are
only a few of the energy saving tips that COPD sufferers use on a daily
basis. If you have a good tip, drop a line and let us consider it
for including on this page.
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Pork 'n Bean Bread
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 16 oz can drained pork 'n beans
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins (optional)
Prepare oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, mix sugar, oil, eggs
and beans, beating until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine
next four ingredients. Add to bean mixture, stirring until just
combined. Stir in raisins and vanilla. Fill five greased and
floured 16 oz. cans two thirds full with batter. Place cans on a
baking sheet and bake 45 to 50 minutes, testing for doneness with
a toothpick. Cool completely on a wire rack before removing
bread from cans. Bread may also be baked in two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2
by 2 3/4 inch load fans at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes. This
equals 5 cans or 2 loaves of bread.