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Readers Respond: What Has Been the Most Insensitive Thing Someone Has Said About Your Disease?

Responses: 66


Updated April 24, 2009

Not Always Smoking-Related

I have COPD and I;m only 21. I got it from birth, due to under-developed lungs which never bothered growing more then they did. However people on the streets assume i must be smoking, or it was somehow smoke-related. Note to normal people: COPD is NOT always smoke related, it's a blanket term for any disease that affects the lungs.
—Guest Maxim

Just Do Something

My daughter and others think if I moved more I would be be better off. They don't understand it takes most of my energy just to breathe!
—Guest Nina

People Suck...

I haven't had any rude comments directed at me but from reading some of the comments posted here I can see how some people might think they are helping you by making negative comments. A week ago I had to have a friend call an ambulance because I couldn't breathe right due to emphysema and COPD and smoking and a lung infection. Being that I have no health insurance, job, income or anything I am happy to say that I was treated properly at the hospital. When I asked the nurse what would happen if I couldn't afford the meds they were prescribing she said "Oh well then we'll just see you back here in a few days". As it turns out I completed the meds and haven't smoked in a week but still want to. For me, smoking is cheaper than any treatment ($11.00 a carton) but I really have to say I like breathing just a little bit better than smoking. As far as the hurtful comments I've read about here I'm sorry for all of the hurtful things some of you are hearing but some "People Suck"...
—Guest Guest Out of Breath

I've Never Had a Patient Cry

It breaks my heart to know that people can be so mean! I also have been diagnosed with COPD. I am 40 years old. Like we really need people to be cruel to us smokers and nonsmokers. I was angry enough at myself for smoking and doing this to myself. Does that mean we need to suffer a long and terrible death. I HATE my doctor! She was very cold with no compassion from day one. I was crying and she said "I have never had someone to come in here and cry." My reply was are you kidding me ? My whole life has been turned up side down and no one should be upset - ok then! Excuse the language but i called her a cold hearted bitch ! Seems like all I have to look forward to is misery and meanness.
—Guest Angela P.

Don't Ask Me When I Quit Smoking

I have NEVER smoked in my life, but I did inhale your toxic perm solutions and inhaled your hair spray for years. Now I have occupational COPD. So don't ask me when I quit smoking, ask your hair dresser why she's killing herself to make you look lovely.
—Guest Wendy


People, you're going to love this one. some guy i was talking to told me to quit smoking. He raped me back in August and now he "cares" whether I smoke or not... Its because of people like this that I smoke!!!! errrr....
—Guest Connie

You're Making It Sound Worse Than It Is

I was diagnosed in June this year with COPD and asthma. I am finding it difficult to cope. I cant do all the things I used to do; find housework exhausting having to stop every 2-3 minutes to get my breath. Walking up stairs is virtually impossible. But worst of all is people's comments. I have been told by a nurse its nothing to worry about. A friend said only yesterday that I was just making my asthma sound worse than it was! Yes, I smoked and I do accept the responsibility but when I started smoking it was the in thing to smoke -- 1960's. I also sympathize with the lady who said about moon face. It is true, I have it too. Another nurse also told me it was my own fault and shouldn't expect to be treated on the NHS. How ignorant some people are.
—Guest june

Cure COPD with Weight Loss????

A coworker told me that if I would lose weight I wouldn't need to be on O2. So lucky for her she's never had to deal with a moon face from taking Prednisone!
—Guest April

Didn't Anyone Tell You Not To Smoke?

I went into respiratory failure in ICU and was intubated for 9 days. The first thing I remember when I came to was a horrible doctor looking at me saying "didn't anyone ever tell you not to smoke?" When his shift was over, I knew his car; guess what he did -- yup, he lit up.
—Guest lindasue

Too Lazy to Do Housework

Had exercise-induced asthma all my life. Has really gotten worse the past few years. Some family members would roll their eyes and say I was a hypochondriac. My mother always said I was lazy. They thought I was trying to get out of housework. Well the ER trip today gave me a diagnosis of stage 2 COPD. Hopefully I can stop having to defend myself for being too short of breath to do all the things they think I should now.
—Guest Jennifer

It's Your Choice to Smoke

"Well, it's their choice to have smoked" was their response. Make cigarettes illegal like other drugs. I was a smoker (have COPD now.) Make it harder to find them, shelve more nicorettes, same for alcohol. But I guess there's too much of a money maker for the government.
—Guest rosemariebattiste

Ignorance Isn`t Bliss

When I told my family that I was diagnosed with Moderate COPD, my sister-in-law said: "Ah well! Everybody has that!" How ignorant of her! Luckily the rest of the family seem to want to learn about it and ask questions rather than make desparaging comments.

From My Ex-Husband

The week he found out I had CVID/Bronchiectasis. He put all his money in a trust in his name only.
—Guest Carol

Are You Stupid?

Your dad died of lung cancer and you kept smoking? What the hell is wrong with you? Are you stupid?
—Guest Jeannie

My Loving Daughter

I have emphysema, asthma & allergies with very frequent bouts of exacerbation. I own a small business which leaves me with a lot of work to do at the end of the year around the holidays. My daughter is totally uncaring about my condition and only seems to care about me providing her children with great holidays. Last year I was feeling really rotten and told her than I wasn't up to hosting Christmas, so please do not plan on coming up. Well, she was adamant that I go along with HER plan and suggested that I just skip decorating "being she couldn't stay to help me take it down and she didn't want to hear me complain about how difficult it is for me". First off, she has stayed to help me take it down TWICE in 20 years and she knew that I would not go along with not putting up a tree, etc. if they were her. Her concern was NOT that maybe it was more work than I was up to - just SHE didn't want to hear it... They came, it went horribly and she has not spoken to me in over a year..

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