Part 3 ~ Living well with chronic lung disease

Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~

This is the third blog in a series of 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. ~


In the bedroom, keep the things that you wear most frequently in convenient places. If it is a trek to your clothes hamper, move it closer! If pet dander bothers you, it might be best to keep Fido or Fluffy out of the bedroom. I know that you won’t, but I’m just sayin’…

If you sleep with oxygen from a concentrator, try to place it in another area of the house and use a 50-foot hose (or tubing), so that the noise of the machine doesn’t keep you awake. Find a good way to wear your cannula while sleeping. Wearing it normally works for some people, while others prefer to wrap the two hoses around their head above the ears, with the adjuster at the back of the head. Whatever works!

When you get ready for bed, gather all of your little goodies that you might need during the night, such as the phone, rescue inhalers, nose spray, a glass of water, etc. A small night light might prove handy, so that you don’t get all tangled up in your oxygen hose on a small hours trip to the bathroom and break something.


We discovered early on that the absolute worst thing that I could do was to get all disorganized, begin running late for an appointment, and get all hurried! Shortness of breath would be followed by frustration, anger, and despair. Not good for anyone involved … Again, try to organize your surroundings and your life so that you can work smarter, not harder.


I exercise. The stubbornness that possesses me gets me onto the treadmill or the exercise bike or the stair-stepper six days a week. I honestly feel guilty if I miss a day for some reason. I use exercise bands to do upper body work, and play golf when I can.  Playing golf while wearing supplemental oxygen is exercise in patience, but it can be done.

The point of all this is that life is filled with issues. You must learn to pick your battles. There is nothing that you or I can do to change the past. Worrying about what has happened or what might happen in the future is nothing more than a gigantic waste of time. All we can do is work to change our attitudes about the things over which we have no control. To paraphrase a good friend who has an extensive counseling background, if total pessimism is a 1, and total optimism is a 10, we should aim for an 8 or a 9. A touch of pessimism keeps us from hurting ourselves!

We can also change our attitudes about the issues that we can affect. That’s where the research and the learning and the exercise come in. Accomplishment brings empowerment. My exercise regimen helps to build my muscles so that they demand less oxygen to move, but it also brings on a delicious sense of self-righteousness. A sense of humor helps, also. If we can learn to laugh at life and its offerings, we can become one of the friends with which others prefer to spend time.

~ 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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