Stubbornness, knowledge, and exercise…

Contributed by Jim Nelson, consultant to CAIRE Inc. ~

Besides being inquisitive, I am remarkably stubborn. Upon reflection, that trait is probably at least partially responsible for the fact that I did smoke for all those years. Too bad, but there isn’t a whole lot that I can do about the past. What I can do, however, is use that stubbornness to deal with my lung issues. I mentioned research, the gaining of knowledge in order to better understand my particular demons. I subscribe to various Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) informational websites, and write and submit articles to several of them. Between my own research and that done by other contributors, I have learned a tremendous amount about dealing with COPD.

Another real source of knowledge has been my medical providers. I know enough about COPD to enable me to communicate with doctors, therapists and the like on a semi-intelligent basis. The various professionals seem to appreciate the fact that I have made the effort to learn about the disease, and they tend to respond very favorably.

I try to be very aware of my physical and emotional condition on a daily, even hourly basis. I keep a plentiful stock of my various medications on hand, and use them as needed.


Lastly, (you knew that I would get here eventually), I exercise. The stubbornness of which I spoke above gets me onto the treadmill or the exercise bike or the stair-stepper six, sometimes seven, 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 was an 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 helped to build my muscles so that they demanded less oxygen to move prior to my transplant. It also brings on a delicious sense of self-righteousness.  I still exercise to keep my old body in good enough shape to take advantage of my new lungs. To do anything else would be wasting the tremendous gift that I have been given.  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.

Finally, are you the kind of friend with which you want to spend time? You really don’t have much of a choice about spending the rest of your life with you, so do whatever you can to gain or maintain a good attitude about your life. You really do deserve it!

~ 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. 




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