Living with COPD during the coronavirus shelter-in-place I’m 69 years old and have been diagnosed with COPD for more than 10 years. I’ve been in the very severe category for the past 5 years. I’ve had to stop jogging and avoid staircases and inclines whenever possible. I typically am very active, traveling, working out at gym 4-6 times a week, attending many kinds of events. Very social and have a big family and quite a few friends. With this coronavirus situation, I’m advised to stay inside and avoid contact with others by at the minimum social distancing. I’m okay with it, but i’m experiencing low-level fear associated with this. How are others dealing with this? Thanks much.

Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. Knowledge is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our lives have been unended. We are, by design, pack animals. We are, by design, social animals. Now, for the sake of our LIVES we must self isolate, self quarantine.

Yes, we’d adapted to COPD, more or less. Giving up some things but being able to stay connected meant we were like all the rest of the world, at least superficially. COVID-19 ripped that pretense aside. We’re more vulnerable. We’re, by the shear nature of having a chronic lung condition, different. Our vulnerability is now even more clearly evident to us, specifically, and others are actually NOW realizing we’re way different.

Yes, EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE is susceptible to COVID-19. We, the immune compromised, accept it for fact. Lots do not. Lots believe, well, what they want.

Your fear stems from a reality check ANY, EVERY one who has any form of compromise has faced, we’ve heard the clock ticking, we’ve recognized the calendar pages turning as the reality of our compromise. The “healthy” have not and, to some extent, do not. Their yesterday is their today, their tomorrow.

The consequences, social consequences, are vast. It means, as an example, my dear friend who has had cancer, who has asthma tells her college grandchildren no she will not see them during COVID-19. She will not open the door to them.

Now, my specific direct consequence is that I pay to have groceries delivered/medications delivered as none in my social circle asks if they, who are going grocery shopping, getting drive through take out, etc. have called to ask if I have a list. Yes, I can pay. Yes, I have stores that will deliver. Yes, I could do curbside as lots of others are doing…not by choice but by necessity. I have opportunities others do not. I make choices others do not.

It is going to get worse.

The virus cannot get to us if we’re inside. The virus will NOT be killed by washing your hands frequently in warm, soapy water throughout the day. The virus is ALREADY dead, yet deadly. Everywhere over the weekend it’s been reported that the next two weeks will be dire. Why? Because testing is now a bit more readily available. With the testing, the cases of COVID-19 being reported will escalate. The dying will escalate.

The hand washing, not touching your face, is to keep the REST of what’s out there, also lurking, also ALWAYS opportunistic, also deadly to all with compromised systems, away. The hand washing is to minimize our developing another “something” that might take us to the hospital where the consequences are obvious to any with eyes and ears.

The good news is we KNOW. We KNOW what it takes to stay STABLE. Hand washing, exercise, a heart healthy diet, WATER to flush the system. All the things we’ve been doing, if we’ve been proactive. I had an electrician who’d done some work for me a couple of years ago, call over the weekend to say I was “on to something” when I’d held the bottle of hand sanitizer out to him before entering my home. Strange how the world turns. I was “weird” then and seen as practical now.

Stay inside.
Stay safe.
Read posts.
There’s lots to learn. More to do. Adaptation is a skill we’ve learned. The rest of the world is, maybe, catching up. I hope so.