As a healthcare professional, caregiver, and the first State Captain from North Dakota, I hope to accomplish making COPD a more known disease in my community and surrounding areas. Spread awareness so individuals are able to identify early stages and/or symptoms. Educate individuals with new diagnosis as well as family/caregivers with the knowledge necessary to understand what COPD is and how to manage it while achieving the best quality of life.
As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, and I have signed up for COPD360Social.
As a State Captain, I am interested in connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, and writing about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness. I would also like to work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.
My proudest COPD moment was when despite the odds and doctors prognosis my father, whom diagnosed with severe COPD, was able to successfully be extubated from ventilation. During a hospital stay for an exacerbation my father was found unresponsive in his room with an oxygen saturation into the low 30’s. He was intubated and immediately and taken to the ICU. With a blood gas volume through the roof and continuous nebulizer treatments for several hours trying to get the lungs to relax and move some air through them, things were not looking good.
After a couple days of being sedated and on ventilation in the ICU the plan was to slowly wean the sedation and see if he wakes up. After a long road of getting him not to panic and be in distress while weaning out of sedation he was finally awake. After a few more ups and downs and no major improvements i kept thinking to myself there’s got to be something more, something we’re missing. Then it came to me. I decided to allow my then 4yr old daughter to briefly visit the ICU to say hi to her “Papa.” Upon walking into the room I noticed my dad's eyes open slightly and right back closed. I was greeted by my sister as was my daughter. When “Papa” heard his granddaughters name those eyes immediately popped open and focused in right on her. Being unable to speak due to the tube he just reached his hand out slightly as tears started to run down his face. From that point on things only got better and there were no more setbacks.
Later that evening my father was successfully extubated and off the ventilator, sitting up in a chair eating jello. From that experience I’ve learned that the power of love and support from those whom we love can overcome some of life’s most challenging obstacles.
My inspiration to share is, “Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen once” - Karen Gibbs
More about me, “I’m a Certified Medication Assistant working in a long term care facility and caregiver to my father who has a diagnosis of Severe COPD”