Would you want to spend a day in your life trying to be in the shoes of a COPD patient? Not many would agree to be in such a situation, but this TV celebrity decided to take on the challenge.
Nadia Sawalha, a UK TV persona, spent a day as a COPD patient. With a tight corset wrapped over her abdomen and a mask over her nose and mouth to try to constrain breathing, she was able to simulate the breathing conditions of COPD sufferers. And with this set-up, she went about her daily activities, including going shopping and attempting to cook up a recipe.
With all of these 'tests', there has always been one serious, major problem that blocks any outsiders' ability to truly or completely identify with another group. It was there in the first such original journalistic adventure - "Gentlemen's Agreement", perhaps more eloquently defined in the famous "Black Like Me", and in this article. It is that all the reporters were well-aware that all they had to do was remove the "mask" at any time and all would be well, and perhaps even more important there WILL BE a future when the mask would be gone.
In this case the reporter feels herself "lucky" and that “People use wheelchairs and ramps at home, when really, they need more exercise ...”. No one disagrees with her. No one would disagree with the benefits of exercise - or with using sunscreen, avoiding pollutants, a balanced diet, or good oral hygiene - nor would one disagree to the benefits from extra publicity for COPD suffers and our needs.
I believe the woman truly believes she now "understands" and "knows" and has made a major contribution - but without the gut experience that "this is it" and it is only going to get worse; without the constant nag that the next exacerbation might be the "big one"; without the daily fight against depression and anxiety; without knowing from experience the misery of recovery for every activity, yet forcing yourself to go there anyway - such 'tests' are merely stunts.
I have a different slant. I wouldn't consider this a stunt as I recall many COPDers frustrated due to lack of understanding among non-COPDers' family/friends. I see this article as helpful for those who don't have COPD. Hopefully, this test could give some people better understanding.
Same here Joany.....My missus is my carer yet i think i take more care of her... I believe they realise we have a lung disease but really cannot comprehend it's limitations specially with FB and photos of us ''appearing'' to have a good time and looking pretty normal, specially if not hooked up to any oxygen or always with a walking aid....
I doubt if you asked most people if they heard about COPD they would not have a clue but Emphysema....yes..it's that disease you got because you smoked......Very hard to run any sort of ''Awareness'' like Epilepsy n the Big ''C''
I know my kids don't really show empathy or sympathy except hope you feel better soon ''dad''.....my missus read the article, never said a word and continued watching the movie...btw it was during a commercial break n she asked if i could put the kettle on.......HA
She tried to understand, but as gnott pointed out she knew she could end it at any time. However,could she do it for a month or a year, or several years? each year getting worse. Yes, she would still know she could stop at any time,throw in a couple of trips to the hospital with pnuemonia or respiratory failures, not knowing if you were going to make it this time. Or the pain that lung cancer patients don't deal with? the medications; dragging around (and stepping on a air line that rips your ears off----maybe that would be better worded as having to wear a leash with 50" max length). having to figure out if you can go shopping & if you do, what to buy because IF you can stand up long enough too fix a meal, will you be too worn out out eat it? The isolation as 1 by 1 your friends go away because you can't keep up with them or do the things they can still do. The SOB to walk to another room. and as gnott pointed out, just taking care of daily hygiene and taking a day to cleanse yourself so you can "try" to go to town the next day. or your short term memory fading from the grey matter in your brain degenerating; searching for words that you know what you want to say but just cant find the word. and one of my favorites people tell me is: go outside & get some fresh air" ---fresh air? when wind, heat, cold, pollen's, dust, coal coal & wood stoves make it worse. having my picture taken & the most i can do to look better is whip off my canula before they click the shutter---and always trying to smile and put on a good face. but to not breath for a day, is like the time i wore glasses with a dot to see thru to experience how my friend with retinitis pigmentosa (loosing her periphial vision--blindness). I did it for a day, and thank god I didn't have to do it for life---it taught me empathy & what she experienced, but i knew I didn't have to live it and give up all the things a blind person does. i'm not complaining; this is my lot & everyone gets one. but if one more person asks my if i smoked I want to slap them I admire her for trying to understand, but as the saying goes, "walk in a persons shoes" good post Ozboy. and I hope to have empathy for others going thru what ever they are enduring (mental illness too-"depressed, get up and do something fun" or "snap out of it") you got me with this post obviously