I was starting to have a cough and some shortness of breath when I would be out walking.
And much to my surprise, they informed me at the conclusion of my physical that I had acquired COPD with emphysema.
My first respiratory issue actually came about probably in 2008 when I had a mild heart attack. Then I was told that I had COPD. And yes I was a smoker at that time.
In 2003 the x-ray revealed that I had the beginning of COPD.
I didn't think too much of it. I kept on smoking.
Never really paid attention to the threat of what could possibly occur.
And in July of 2012, that's when I had the big heart attack.
At my age and being a previous smoker, I'm not surprised that it happened.
I went down on my knees and I was there all by myself at the house. My son woke me up in the hospital and it was two weeks later.
Frankly I was shocked. But I probably went, "yeah, you did it to yourself." Because I came into the Army back in the days when you got a box of C-Rations. And inside the box of C-Rations was a four pack of cigarettes.
I was smoker when I was a kid. Probably started when I was about 13.
I began smoking a few years before I came into the Air Force. And then smoked for almost 40 years.
My parents both smoked. So I was in an environment that had secondhand smoking.
As time went on, the out-of-breath symptoms progressed more and more. To today if I get up and walk around the house I'm out of breath.
The COPD progressively has become worse.
I'm finding that it's getting harder to climb stairs, to walk long distances.
I notice that it's more difficult to do tasks that I used to take for granted. Breathing becomes labored. Breathing becomes difficult.
To get dressed in the morning when I get up.
Every afternoon I build up a tightness in my chest and I start coughing.
Cutting the grass, anything outside during the summertime is pretty much, I can't do. The wife has to do it.
I cough until I can get rid of some of that thick sputum that I have in my lungs.
Even going out washing my truck, my cars, can't do that.
And I'll hack up this terrible looking sputum that you don't want to look at 'cause it's awful looking.
I have to stop in between, take a little break, catch my breath, and progress on.
The COPD has taken its toll. And of course the emphysema as well.