MAKING IT THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS
Are you enjoying the holiday season? Are you looking forward to getting together with family and friends, perhaps for the only time during the year? Or, are you apprehensive about trying to keep up with everyone else, given your chronic disease? (Such as COPD?) Are you still hesitant to wear your oxygen cannula in the presence of others, even though you have been prescribed 24-hour oxygen? Do you fear catching one of the many viral infections that are so common this time of year? Are you one of those (bet you are!) who will wear themselves out playing host or hostess to whoever happens by?
Well, Uncle Jim has some suggestions for you. You owe it to yourself to avoid the risk of an exacerbation, which can knock you down so badly.
If you have not read any of my articles about communication between patient and family and friends, I urge you to do so. They go into much greater detail on the issues that must be faced in order for true communication and understanding.
If you think it necessary, please print the applicable articles and give them to those who still don’t seem to understand what you are going through. It just might help.
If you are supposed to be wearing supplemental oxygen, wear it when you should, regardless of who is around. It will help you to avoid damage to your heart and brain, it will give you additional energy to enjoy the conversations and activities. And, it will help to show the doubters that you actually need it.
If any of the sticky little people (or big people) who populate the holidays show any signs of the sniffles, please wear a surgical mask. If you think that you will get only strange looks from the kids, take a little time to draw funny smiles on several of the masks, wear one yourself, and have the kids wear one also. Or, have them draw faces on their own masks. If they are old enough, explain that you are simply trying not to get sick.
Take it easy on yourself! Make it known that you can’t keep up with all of the activities, and that you will need to rest once in a while. Naps are our friends. We all know that young people resist naps for fear of missing something. Some of us who are getting long in the tooth can fall into the same attitude.
Speaking of attitude, it is likely that some of the crowd is going to take their cue from you regarding the mood of the gathering. If you project sadness or anger, they will reflect those feelings. If, on the other hand, you appear cheerful and upbeat in spite of things like cannulas or masks or naps, it will help a great deal to help them relax and enjoy themselves.
Some of my suggestions might appear selfish. Many of us feel that it is our responsibility to insure that everyone else has a wonderful holiday. However, I would wager that everyone else would rather see you as healthy and energetic as possible, rather than totally worn out. Please give them that gift.
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The happiest of Holidays from Uncle Jim & Aunt Mary!!