My Grandfather’s COPD Diagnosis
My adviceDon't keep your fears bottled up within yourself. Keep communication open, voice your fears, seek support for the person diagnosed and for yourself and family.
I always had my doctor's letters arrive at my grandparents' home as I visited often. When I saw an open letter in their kitchen I began reading it without checking who it was addressed to - stupidly.
"CONFIRMATION OF DIAGNOSIS: COPD" I read.
COPD?! Isn't that the lung problem with no cure? I realised it was my grandfather's letter, set it down, and walked away.
I was terrified and I couldn't tell anyone what I had found. I started researching the condition and the diagnosis. I didn't realise how intense it was, or that they had probably been keeping it from me for longer than a month. I was so afraid. I didn't know what to do. I didn't even want to tell my friends. I've always been an anxious person but my anxiety went to new levels.
Eventually, my 68 year old, 20-a-day smoking grandfather stopped me and asked what was going on. I told him I had read his letter and he nodded. I told him my fears and how I didn't want to lose him to cigarettes or to an incurable lung condition. We got in contact with the COPD Foundation and Northern Ireland's Chest Heart & Stroke "Breathing Better" Group so my grandfather could join a support network.
He's off the cigarettes now, and he's as healthy as can be.
My grandfather isn't suffering with COPD; he's living with it.