Friday 11 March 2016

March newsletter


Breathe Easy Neath Valley
Margaret Barnard
1 Gwar Y Llyn
Onllwyn Road
SA10 9NS



Thursday, 10 March 2016

Dear All
First of all I am really sorry that we felt it necessary to cancel the abseil this year, but it became increasingly obvious that I am not going to recover from my recent hospital stay in time to give the event my best. Hopefully we will be back on track, business as usual next year. We have had a good run so far. This would have been our tenth abseil and we have raised £44,350 over those years. So I think we can be quite proud of ourselves.
Our next speaker will be Scott, from Les Davies Funeral Directors, from the Neath Funeral Home. So have your questions ready – i.e. prepayment, how much, what type, how many choices, religious or secular, etc. The list goes on.
I know we are a month late but we will celebrate our tenth birthday in March. The cake is ordered; just bring yourselves in celebratory mood.
Doesn’t it make you feel good to look out of the window and see the sun shining ? Let’s hope it lasts. A long warm spring would be lovely.
Pam Walters is working hard with GP surgeries in parts of ABMUHB, identified as having high occurrences of people with COPD. She is launching new Integrated Breathe Easy groups in those areas. Our turn, as an established group, will come later in the year, possibly in May. It will be great if we can reach and support more people. We all know how being a member of a group like ours can help so much for people living with all lung conditions.
Best wishes
One person in five in Wales is affected by a lung disease. We are here for every one of them.
Mae clefyd yr ysgyfaint yn effeithio ar un o bob pump o bobl yng Nghymru. Rydym ni yma ar gyfer pob un ohonyn nhw.
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Sunday 6 March 2016

Living with COPD

This write up has been a long time coming because as the meeting was taking place in Neath, in February, I was in hospital in Reddich with yet another wretched exacerbation of my COPD. I am getting pretty sick of this happening this winter, I have never been ill like this before, even though I was diagnosed eleven years ago. Let's hope this is the last one and I can look forward to spring.

Our members used the meeting time to talk about the problems of living with COPD and the effect it has on their lives.
  1. we usually don't look ill and so people don't understand why we need to lean and rest, sit for a while, use a Blue Badge parking space etc.
  2. so many inhalers make life confusing ie what each one does, how to use it properly. It was decided that the pharmacist should always instruct how to use each inhaler. 
  3. having a wash/bath/shower/cleaning teeth/hair washing can be exhausting. 
  4. the speed of the onset of an exacerbation is frightening. There maybe a couple of days of feeling generally under the weather, and then WHAM ! it's like walking into a brick wall. Suddenly your chest is tighter and you can't breathe. We all need the security of rescue meds in the home.
  5. often just too exhausted to eat, think or make simple decisions
  6. arranging outings etc has to be carefully thought out as simple tasks take a long time.
  7. getting exhausted just going to the toilet - bowel movements being especially difficult.
  8. a carers concern was when to call in which service - ie respiratory team, the GP, dial 111 or 999
But after they had all gone through this depressing list, it was the usual tea and biscuits all round and general laughter. Life is not grim all the time with COPD once you have learnt rescue breathing techniques, pacing yourself and learning enough about your condition to recognise when things are going wrong and knowing when to call in the professionals.