Living with COPD newcomer to this site:

By CNTBC Latest Activity September 23, 2011 at 10:25 am Views 2,472 Replies 10 Likes 3


Hi I am a 57 year olf wife and mother of 4. Two of which are still at home.The 2 at home are also disabled. My youngest son has ashburger(sorry about the spelling). My daughter has seizures and is autistic. She also is bypolar as is my son.
I have COPD. I am on O2 24 hours a day,4liters. I am on a host of medications advair, spiriva,singular,albuteral inhaler,hay fever pill and nazal spray.
I want to know how to take a shower and still be able to breath. I find that if I shower I can't breath. My husband said to take cold showers. I told him you first. I want to shower but am scared to death because I can't breath. Is there anything I can do.

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Replies (10 replies)

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  • Lin~Texas
    Lin~Texas October 15, 2011 at 11:10 am   

    Hi CNTBC, consider using cooler water that does not steam as much. Turn the water pressure down a bit so that it is not blasting on you. Also, make sure that your bathroom exhaust vent is working and is removing steam. Use belly breathing - pursed lip breathing (PLB) so that you are getting as much healthy air as possible and not retaining CO2, which creates that anxious feeling. As phonse65 wrote and you confirmed, wear your O2 in the shower. In fact, you might need to increase a bit over your normal litre flow as shower = exertion. Just turn back to your typical Litre flow when you get done.

    Get a shampoo that is 'one step shampoo and condition' so that you can cut the work in half. Try VO5, available in 'that huge big box store also known as Wally World' for as little as $1 a bottle - look on the bottom shelf where they hide the good stuff. :-) Use soaps that have minimal fragrance as that seems to multiply with vapors. When I have been sick with a bug, I lathered up a wash cloth before getting in the shower so that I wouldn't have to do that - saves in-shower energy. Use a shower seat as Phonse65 recommends and you said you have. Lay out towels on commode seat or a chair next to the tub/shower so that you can sit and towel off when you are done. Or better yet, get a terry robe - a new microfiber one, not the super-heavy terry ones if possible, and put that on to 'towel you dry' after a shower. I saw one recently in Walgreens for less than $15. I recently ran into a sale of hand towels that are HUGE and bought a couple of them so that I could use them and not lug a big towel around to dry off.

    Of all the simple things to minimize anxiety, I found that if I put a phone on the commode next to the shower, so I know I can reach someone if there's a problem, I didn't 'get goofy' in the shower. Anxieties are common with this disease and they seem to grow all out of proportion to what our typical common sense would tell us otherwise. I learned to face the anxiety and 'stare it down.' I do, however, have another one that I am currently working on … when you master showering, let me know and maybe you can help me with my new one!

    Please don't feel that you are alone in this. From my experience, showering is one of the most common anxieties that we COPDers have … we can all learn from one another, and that learning is where I collected these tips for you.

  • twila_bear
    twila_bear September 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm   

    i am 47 and i am the same,i want to take a shower but i can't i stay so sad,i had a respatory shutdown a few years ago was on life support 7 days i can't go any where i hate living like that

    CNTBC September 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm   

    Thank You, its nice to know that someone understands were I am comming from. The moisture in the air, the steam, I just can't stand it.

  • twila_bear
    twila_bear September 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm   

    i live in the flat lands of arkansas and the farmers r putting out spray on there crops it is smothering me to death

  • ColleenTekell
    ColleenTekell September 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm   

    Hello everyone! I am new to this site, but not to COPD. I also have emphysema. I sometimes feel like I just can't get my breath and I won't even be doing anything. It happens when I'm already asleep. I asked my doctor to check my O2 and it says that I'm in my 90% so it scares me that it might be something worse. I won't let it take over my life though. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • Lin~Texas
    Lin~Texas October 15, 2011 at 11:13 am   

    Hi Colleen, o2 levels change … did you have a complete spirometry work-up? A 6-minute walk? Blood gas test for Co2? You may be dropping below 90 with exertion and the tests would help pinpoint it. Did the doc talk to you about Respiratory Therapy, or have you done that? Otherwise, (broken record) exercise will help, along with a diet high in fiber and proper rest.

  • Phonse65
    Phonse65 September 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm   

    Now about your question. You said that you you were on oxy 24/7. I assume than tha you have some sort of portable, or trans portable unit. I do two things when I shower. I have a combination bath/shower, and I prefer showers. I have a special chair that is narrow enough to fit the tub & it has "rubber feet" like a cane, make that two canes! I have another ailment that makes me subject to falls.

    The other thing I do is take a nasal cannula (in place) in with me. I use a seven foot long cannula, which is Not what I normally use. You can get cannulas in a variety of sizes.

    I hope this might help. As for the other things you mentioned in your profile, please know that I will keep you in my prayers just alec

    CNTBC September 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm   

    I do have a cannula that I take in the shower and have a bath chair to use. When I am not home I use B tanks that I carry with me. Because I use 4 liter they only last about 1 1/2 hours each. The air oxygen company replaces them everytwo weeks. I use up to 28 tanks in 2 weeks depending on what I have to do. I refuse to let this stop me. You know the funny part of this is that on my first asthma attack, I quit smoking. My son is 23 and says he doesn't remember me smoking at all. Even though I quit, I still keep getting worse. Thanks to all that reply I really appreciate it. thank for letting me vent also.

  • Lin~Texas
    Lin~Texas October 15, 2011 at 11:14 am   

    Your o2 provoioder should be able to get you different equipment so taht you aren't changing bottles all the time …

  • Phonse65
    Phonse65 September 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm   

    Good Morn, I am a one-bazillion year old father & mentor to all. Now seriously, you are so welcome to COPD Connect, we certainly wish none of us "have" to be here; but this site is a wealth of information about COPD for anyone touched by this disease. My personal view, after years, is that "COPD is not a death sentence!" Please notice that I said, NOT, in my Last comment. The folks you will meet here are among the kindest, warmest, most understanding and compassionate, that you will ever know! Trust me, I was a newbie also.

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