One of my most dear friends died this week of Stage IV COPD. It isn't a surprise, of course. Mike knew he was going to die - had known it was coming for a long time now. Mike was on hospice and shared his experience with the dying process in a personal way with me.
Mike was on a lot of morphine for the pain he suffered, Xanax for the anxiety for not being able to breathe, and on Ambien so he could get at least a few minutes of sleep a day.
He had come to grips with death some time ago. He had said his goodbyes to family and friends. He was at peace with passing on.
The true anguish came from the dying process. He lingered in unimaginable pain - unable to rest, unable to sleep, unable to care for himself in even the simplest task of taking a drink of water. Yet he managed the whole ordeal with grace and dignity.
Mike was only 58 Years old.
That's COPD. That's what smoking took away from him. That's what it has already taken away from me. My friend and my future. My days are numbered One day it will be my turn to wear his shoes. I can only hope I can do so with the courage and strength that my friend Mike has had.
May he Rest In Peace! Breathe easy, Mike! You are my HERO!