Living well with chronic lung disease

Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~

This is the first of a series of blog posts about getting through your day while faced with the demands of a chronic disease such as COPD. The posts contain valuable information for both patients and for caregivers. ~


Many of our choices result from fear. We no longer have to hunker in a cave staring out into the darkness, terrified as to what might be out there. However, we choose to endure the same kind of fears, the terror of the unknown, because we are afraid to find out what the heck is out there! One of those steps is to get ourselves to a doctor to find out what is causing our symptoms. When the sun comes up and we see that the noise outside the cave was actually a bunny, rather than a dragon, wonderful! If it does turn out to be a dragon, we can then do some planning, start to figure out how to deal with it.

The worst choice we can make is to just keep hunkering in that cave! It paralyzes us.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!! We might not like what the doctor has to say, but his diagnosis will give us knowledge, options, medications and a PLAN!!

Your choice. I know the choices that I made many years ago, and it has made all the difference!


Regardless of how active you are, you still spend the majority of time in your home. The following tips will help you to make your life a little easier, a bit healthier.

Declutter! If you are tired, stop and rest. Try not to bend over when you are cleaning. It makes it just that much harder to breathe. Work smarter, not harder. Dust today, vacuum tomorrow.

Build yourself a nest! Pick your favorite chair, and gather the stuff that you need to stay comfortable. The TV remote, a glass of water, tissues, the telephone, your laptop or tablet, a note pad and pencil, and reading material should be within easy reach. The point is not to grow roots, but rather to conserve your energies for stuff that you want to do.

Become a list-maker! Listing things that must be done will avoid the annoyance and embarrassment of forgetting important things.

If you are still smoking, stop it!

If friends or family come to visit, tell them that you might have to cut the evening short and get some rest. No need to apologize. It just might help get you out of some really boring conversations.

If you are having a bad day, let others know. Don’t whine about it, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Do not be ashamed to wear your oxygen cannula in front of others if you just use oxygen part of the time. It is not a sign of weakness! Just think of it as a good way of getting out of doing things that you really don’t want to do anyway.

“Gee, I really wish I could help you shovel that walk, but you know…”

“I’d love to help you push the car up the hill to the gas station, but I can steer…”

You get the idea.

~ Uncle Jim

Jim Nelson is a double lung transplant recipient and a patient advocate for COPD patients throughout the U.S. and around the world. He and his wife, Mary, are well known patient advocates and brand ambassadors for those organizations who tirelessly endeavor to help those individuals who suffer from a variety of respiratory diseases and the caregivers who support them.

CAIRE is a global manufacturer of wearable, portable and at home oxygen therapy solutions. These medical devices come equipped with a variety of pulse and continuous flow options, and sensitive breath detection to ensure peace of mind for the user who depends on supplemental oxygen to maintain a more active lifestyle. CAIRE’s most popular products include the Focus and FreeStyle wearable oxygen concentrators, and the Eclipse 5 portable oxygen concentrator.

When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.

To learn more about the CAIRE oxygen therapy solutions speak to an oxygen advisor at 1-877-704-0878 or visit You can also fill out the form* below and a CAIRE oxygen advisor will reach out to you directly. 

*By submitting this information, I authorize CAIRE to contact me including by phone.


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