Sunday, July 22, 2007

Breathless on the Beach

I would like to share this experience with all of you, it is very important to remember and practice this in case you are ever in this same type of situation. You must know how to react and how to take care of yourself.
The first evening Lori was at Ft Myers, we decide to head straight for the beach to take a walk. It was still warm, but the sun was beginning to set and the sky was a beautiful array of clouds and brilliant colors of orange, yellows and reds. We were walking along the shores feeling the warm sand and water on our feet, and searching for sea shells. Since it was the first time we had actually met in 2-3 years, we were just talking about anything and everything.
All of a sudden I had to stop, I told Lori that I was getting short of breath and anxiety was grabbing hold of me. We had walked so far without even realizing it.
I became scared knowing that we had to walk so far back. My shortness of breath scared me.... my anxiety scared me.... it became a viscious circle.
I explained to Lori what was happening, but told her to remain calm. I knew what I had to do to overcome this situation. I asked her to keep talking, that way I could concentrate on her conversation and overcome my anxiety by not focusing on it. By overcoming my anxiety, I could also overcome my "shortness of breath". Of course I did not have my "rescue inhaler"... which was a big no-no!!! If I would have had the inhaler with me, the situation would have been a whole lot less stressful. But... we all make these mistakes.
Lori and I took our time walking back, she talked to me and I focused on HER... NOT on my "Shortness of Breath". By the time we got back to our destination, I was feeling fine. I had made it through a very stressful and I may say "scarey" situation.
As Lori has been learning so much about COPD since her dad passed away..... this was a very good "hands on" experience for her to witness.
Please take this experience and try to learn from it. It may not be easy the first, second or third time..... but you can do. You can take control of your anxiety and your shortness of breath.

If anyone has had an experience of this type... please write in and tell us all about it. Let us know how YOU came through it.

Until next time
1 2 3... Inhale ... 1 2 3 4 Exhale

Breathing is our Lifeline,


Breathing Better Living Well said...

I think it was wonderful that you knew what to tell Lori what would help you reduce your anxiety!
Sometimes that is so hard to do - staying calm in an uncontrolled situation. It's great that you know yourself so well and know how to communicate it!

I'm so glad you had a great visit!

kwrenb said...

Hi Sandy - yes, I have had exactly that situation, right down to the details of walking along the beach.
(a thing to remember when walking on the beach is that the sand is giving you resistance that you wouldn't be getting on a sidewalk -try to stay on the flat sand near the water as much as you can)
I really admire the way you were able to pull yourself out of it (except for the forgetting your inhaler part - Don't Do That!).
You're right, the shortness of breath/anxiety/more shortness of breath cycle is a real easy one to slip into and as far as worrying about being able to cover the distance back- I've had many days when I've wanted to alter my daily 1/2 mile to the pond, 1/2 mile back walk with my dog to still doing a mile, but just walking twenty times to the stop sign and back! Less scary that way!
I admire your ability to not let this incident "snowball" on you and make you reluctant to take long walks. I think that's a major key in maintaining as much of our "normal" lifestyle as possible - learning techniques to control both the breathlessness and the fear.
The only thing I would add to your technique is to sit for a while and focus on getting your breathing under control with some pursed lip breathing.
It usuallly isn't All anxiety, and the plb can help to restore your oxygen level.
I also carry an oxymeter with me if I'm feeling really freaky.
It gives me an objective tool to show that I am indeed not in danger, I just need to slow down and get a grip!
Thanks for this post, Sandy, it's a keeper!