Heat, Humidity and COPD


The most depressing for hubby was how much the heat and humidity affected him. As bad as the winter had been on his lungs, the summer seemed even more cruel. Hubby had been diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema. Always one to love gardening and working outside, he had to stay indoors while I took care of the outside work. I knew nothing about gardening.

The previous fall he had not been able to cut back the bushes lining our back yard. They were too big for me to deal with and I lacked proper knowledge. I did manage to trim back the roses and dead-head them. We had knock-out roses, hibiscus, wisteria, lilac, rose of sharon, azalea, butterfly bush, day lillies, and so many more beautiful plants he’d carefully nurtured over the years.

We purchased an electric lawn mower because I didn’t have the strength to pull the cord to start our gas mower. I managed to keep the lawn mowed and struggled and fought with the heavy trimmer to keep the lawn looking presentable. Hubby spent his time worrying about me being in the extreme heat.

Still hubby had no hobbies to keep him occupied. After reading the newspaper, he’d spend the rest of the day watching television. He enjoyed going to church again, and our faith kept us going knowing God would not give us more than we could handle. We had been blessed so many times through this new phase of our lives and I had never felt closer to God than I did now. Hubby began to read the Upper Room and spend time with devotions each day.

He felt able to accompany me on shopping trips. Boy, did I have to learn how to be patient. What would have taken me a half-hour to complete became a nearly two hour ordeal. My hubby still won’t use one of the electric shopping carts…he puts his oxygen tank inside the cart (where children sit) and used the cart as a kind of walker to assist him. Still it was a tedious trip. We had to walk slow so he wouldn’t be out of breath. And, then, after buying our supplies, he would sit and feel bad that I had to carry in all the bags without assistance. We live in a bi-level home, so climbing stairs with bags of groceries wasn’t a pleasant experience. I had gained weight over the last two years of working and the extra pounds added stress to my arthritic joints. But, we managed.

Fall came and with it another problem. Hubby was feeling weaker. His pulse began to drop. We monitored it closely with an oximeter. Two days and it began to get worse. Over the weekend, it dropped to 24 and I called the emergency nurse at VA. She said to take him to the nearest emergency room. We made a dash to our local hospital where they gave him a strong dosage of breathing treatment and we waited while they did some tests and x-rays. Finally, the doctor said he would be admitted and may possibly need to have a Pacemaker. He was admitted to the CCU heart unit and monitored the next day. By evening we learned he would need the Pacemaker and they were going to do surgery early the next morning. The Pacemaker was installed and hubby seemed to be faring well. But, overnight, his heart rate spiked and the nurse became concerned.

“I didn’t plan to be a caregiver, but God had a different plan for me. I accept it with a happy heart, thankful that my love and I are still together.”

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