Panic Breathing with COPD

Posted by Merry, Volunteer Mentor @merpreb, May 5 1:13pm

Once upon a time, maybe 4 years or so ago I needed to get off a plane after it landed, and without thinking that I needed oxygen to move I just rushed out once the doors opened up. I wanted to be the first up the plane bridge to see my son, I was so excited as we live on separate costs. But when I stepped onto the jet bridge I couldn't take another step. I didn't have any air. I was panicked and had to wait to calm down to go any further. At the time that it happened all I could think about was, ah oh, now what? What do I do? This had never happened before. Human traffic eager to get off the pane too was building up behind me so I knew that I had to move. A pulmonologist said that I had had bronchospasms. I now can see that it also was a panic breathing session. I finally stepped off to the side and after a while, I finally took a long deep breath. It was indeed a panic time. It's my understanding that this can happen out of nowhere too.

Meet Jeff Collings. He is a moderator for COPD.net.
https://copd.net/community/experts/jeff-collings
He is the COPD man to watch and learn from to help your breathing if you have COPD. He is sensible, easy to listen to, and has stage 4 COPD so he knows what he is dealing with. This video deals with recovery from panic breathing and includes using a pulse oximeter, pursed-lip breathing, using a rescue inhaler, and more.
https://copd.net/video/panic-breathing
Merry

This just happened to me two days ago when getting off the plane in Costa Rica (altitude of San Jose is 3500 feet). I walked up a long slight incline in the jetway dragging my carryon and when I got to the flat surface I had to stop an catch my breath. And it was difficult to "catch." I look forward to learning about Jeff Collings and watching those videos. COPD stage 2.

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@pssurfer

This just happened to me two days ago when getting off the plane in Costa Rica (altitude of San Jose is 3500 feet). I walked up a long slight incline in the jetway dragging my carryon and when I got to the flat surface I had to stop an catch my breath. And it was difficult to "catch." I look forward to learning about Jeff Collings and watching those videos. COPD stage 2.

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@pssurfer – It's nice to meet you. I am so glad that you shared your story. It's very scary and really is a reminder to slow down. It was for me because on my next flight I took my time, got off the plane, and stepped close to the right so people could pass going 90 miles an hour. I hate holding people up and when people are anxious to get off of a plane they are wild! lol.

I still have to slow myself down with everyday things which go against my natural tendencies. Knowing that I have to do this I have said to myself that I'll get there soon enough!

How do you slow yourself down?

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I also have the problem of slowing myself down. I have been reminding myself that the risk of falling increases if I do not. And that helps. I have always moved at a fast pace, and it is difficult to accept the need to slow down. I am working on that. Also, I take more short breaks. After doing my vest in the morning, I dont immediately rush to the kitchen to make breakfast. Instead, I will sit on the sofa for a few minutes, have another bit of coffee, watch a little morning news, and then work on breakfast. As I write this (for both of us) I realize this is a process of re-training ourselves. My good friends know about my lung problems and they know that when I visit, I will occasionally need to retreat to a bedroom and "rest" a bit. They've been very understanding. I still feel odd leaving a group of chatting friends to go for a "rest."

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I survived an ablation when i went into flutter; i then had a benign tumor in my heart that decided to start growing bringing on my open heart to remove it. Luckily i had a surgeon assisting that could perform a maze procedure. Rehab started well and I improved but the pandemic stopped the rehab. I lost the organized exercise. i did OK until my only sibling wound up in MICU, Hopkins when he needed arterial stents. Walking from the garage to his room with a mask proved very difficult. I decided the COPD in all my medical records were spot on when I found it difficult w/o the mask. My first help was reading about pursing your lips when breathing. I quit cigarettes 38 years ago for the last time. Better late than never. I look forward to learning more from Mayo Clinic and co-COPD sufferers.

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