Thursday, November 8, 2007


Yesterday, Hubby and I got into our car and drove to Walmart. Hubby hadn't set foot in the car since his exacerbation, early in October.

He hadn't felt well enough. Did not have the strength to walk to our car in the garage, and sit there with only the portable cylinders as his oxygen source.

But, yesterday, armed with 2 oxygen tanks, 2 pulsers (or conservation devices) and 2 cannulas up his nose, we ventured out.

I drove - that almost goes without saying at this point. He still does not feel stable enough to drive.

I parked in the handicapped parking slot, jumped out and ran into Walmart to exchange some batteries. I don't need the handicapped parking slot, but Hubby feels better sitting there, close to the store, in case he has to toot the horn for help.

Our next stop was Tim Horton's Drive Thru for our morning ritual and Hubby's reward - a "double-double" coffee. This time I ordered tea.

Hubby was fine the whole time. He had one oxygen tank (or pulser actually) set at 4 litres per minute and the other one at 2 litres.

"Why don't you just set one at 6?" I asked. Six is the highest setting and not enough for him to walk around, but enough to just sit. I thought he'd have them both at six.
"I feel better this way - I have more leeway to adjust the oxygen flow higher if I need it".

Hmmmmm - now I'm wondering how much of his reluctance to go out in the car earlier was due to anxiety, and how much due to really feeling ill. Probably a combination of both. There is no doubt he was weak and unwell, but I didn't factor in the possibility of anxiety. The more anxious the person, the more oxygen he will need.

At least I got him out of the house and into the car - stretching the boundaries of his little circle, if only for a short time.
And that's progress!


kwrenb said...

Ahhh, yes, Wendy... I wondered about anxiety (even fear - totally understandable) when I read about what your husband was and was not able to do.
However, I don't know him and I haven't had a chance to get to know a lot about him through you. That made me very reluctant to suggest that maybe if he felt more confidence in his ability to manage different situations even with COPD, he might find that he can be more active (and it follows - happier)
I'm so glad to see that you were both out and about -
you may want to bring up the question of anxiety at his next doctor's appointment.
God bless you both.

Wendy said...

Hi Karen,
Thanks for your words of wisdom. Anxiety does play a role here, no doubt about it.
We did discuss this issue with his doctor, but have not started on any meds as yet.
Even just a small step in the right direction lights up his face and boosts his confidence. Encouragement and hope are what we hang on to.